Sunday, 12 July 2009

on the road again - eastern queensland

on the road again.
this time travelling north on the Bruce highway.
In Caboolture, we take the turnoff to the D'Aguilar highway.
on this road, we see the towns of wamuran,

then on to benarkin, blackbutt, yarraman, nanango (old haunts these).

We pause for smokes and some local Kingaroy peanuts in Nanango. From Nanango we take the Burnett highway staying on a northerly course.

Needing a short cut, er uppercut, no just an upper - a short cup, we stop for some coffee and fuel in Goomeri.

We next go past Ban-ban springs (no hotsprings here, just an abandoned spring resort when this cultural heritage place was destroyed ironically as a result of re-vegetation and beautification efforts).
Founded in 1849, Queensland's oldest town of gayndah is maganda. with blue skies and whatnot.

but the real draw to this town is the citrus grown under the queensland sun. they're the sweetest oranges you can find this side of the northern tropics (that's right! south of sagada. for those interested fyi the best citrus is found in kalinga, mainit and sagada, not necessarily in that order). Citrus growing is the main activity in the agricultural industry of Gayndah. This is supplemented by forestry and livestock production.

On the north of the railway after Gayndah we say bonjour to the small town of Binjour situated on a plateau.
This area was opened up not by French but German immigrants.

Eidsvold, a cattle industry centre in the Burnett region, is named after eidsvoll in Norway.

We had lunch here, right in front of the butchery, where they sell fresh beef.

This town also offers wide open country spaces - good for dixie chicks. Cattle, timber and citrus growing are the backbone of the rural industry sustaining Eidsvold.

Continuing on our way, we see Mulgildie, Monto, Thangool and finally our destination Biloela.
click below for video clips on the road. (music from gillian welch and also from the highwaymen).
see video in youtube:

going bananas!

Last month i joined delivery teams to a job in Banana shire in Central Queensland. Will I find bananas there i wonder?
Banana is a farming, mining and cattle region. It is also home to a series of pipelines vital to the oil and gas industry. It is linked by roads and railway to the major centres of Rockhampton and Gladstone. The major roads crossing the shire include the Leichhardt, Dawson and Burnett Highways.
The shire actually takes its name from a bullock of the same name, not from lakatan or tokcho.

A statue of the famed bullock called Banana, after which the shire was named.

Our base for the job is Biloela, just under 600 kms to the north-northwest of Brisbane. Biloela is the main population and government centre.
The name of the town is the local Aboriginal term for "white cockatoo". The trip there takes about 7.5 hours including a couple of stops on the way for smokes, leg-stretches, fuel and meals. On the way up, we drove through old haunts in the south burnett and thence Goomeri, Gayndah, Eidsvold, etc. We also took in some of the great roadways of Queensland.

The great majority of The teams were tasked to deliver over a 60km section. We worked about 15hours a day for 17 days straight. Over that period we got to see a bit of the sights in banana shire. Myself personally i got to see moura, banana and of course Biloela, and all the little villages in between. Some localities are simply centred on a crossroads, with one dwelling as its hub and with a few other homesteads within 20kms comprising the village. Banana shire is a cattle industry centre in southern central queensland.

Moura, in the heart of the Dawson valley and 65kms west of Biloela, is home to a meridian marker.

The 150 degree meridian is an imaginary line on which is based local queensland time. Here 'holey rocks' are erected to mark the meridian.

The shire also offers fresh country air and hospitality as well as various adventure and bush escape tours, drives, trails and treks.

Banana town itself offers this great little attraction - a barbeque!
Just bring your own cow.

Now there is someone else doing deliveries of another kind - pipes.
i wonder if he's got a pipe for my tobacco?

We had accommodations in the "white cockatoo" accomodation park.

Our quarters are simple self-contained heated units with single bed and built-in toilets.
At the end of our stay, I accumulated so much unwanted baggage.

Postscript to this at the end of blog.

A bottle tree on a lonesome plain provides great shelter from the sun. Bottle trees are a protected species in the shire.
More on bottles (not trees) later...
click below for related video:

or view in youtube:
going bananas video

I-banana - they're a wild mob!

Now where were we? oh yes trees.

i think that i shall never see

how does it go?

a bottle lovely as poet-tree

nice curves!
Trees not only provide shade.

As this small shrub shows.

Trees are home to birds, providing them with nests to raise their young, and thus ensure their safety from ground-based predators.

There are wild creatures in Biloela.

A flock of birds side by side with a mob of kangaroos is not quite a rare sight.

An anteater tries hiding in grass but we had it in our sights.

Feeling threatened, this echidna rolls itself into a ball and spikes its quills to full extent.
Echidnas are one of only two surviving monotremes. They mainly feed on ants and termites.

This poor little finch was not quite lucky.
It got caught under the hood of the car out on the highway.
We only found it when washing down for weeds.
Next time i’ll catch the train and enjoy the countryside more without having to concentrate on driving. That's not a wild runaway train. It's only a short coal train - about 5km long.
Before that though i somehow have to transport my beer back home.
Better still i’ll just drink my share. So that’s how i ended up with all this unwanted bottles baggage. Where’s the “i’m gonna knock on your door” fellow? Oh no no no hic no no, hic. I did not drink all that, hic. Okay maybe 99% of it. Hic. I should sleep it off. Goodnight. Hic. Look i cannot afford to piss about too much. So i better shape up or else i’ll get shipped out.
There’s a few other notable mentions we stumbled on in our perambulations.
One day we came across three healthy looking, but very dead cows, piled on a dried tree trunk ready to be burned like in a pyre. Another time speeding along the road we almost crashed into cattle limping across the highway. So there’s something here causing some cows to go ill and sometimes die as we discovered. Whether it’s due to consumption of too much of some noxious weed, or other bovine disease, we did not get the chance to find out.
On other occasions we came across kangaroos hopping along, or wild busted turkeys taking off, or jabirus watching us suspiciously, or even the odd barnowl on top of a fencepost.
On our last day on the job, a brown snake had almost slithered across as we drove up to it. It was a good 2m long and quickly disappeared in the tall grass as we slowed down.
A thousand tales can be told from these Biloelan nights, and for some more here's a video.

or view in youtube:

deer hunting on wheels

This blog comprises an odd couple: deer and that mechanical transport device called 'wheels'.
strange bedfellows indeed. we'll see how it pans out.

Mt Samson is situated in the beautiful pine rivers area in southeast queensland.
There are numerous attractions here.

Among them is a deer farm set in the foothills of the d’aguilar mountain range.

This deer farm offers the experience of a special country Australian farm.

There are two kinds of deer in this farm, edible and not, i mean red and rusa.
Then there’s bambi.
Bambi (i think that’s her name) was a little shy fawn at first.

But when he/she got hungry , she was all nudges and pats and whatever it is that baby deer like to do to gain attention and a feed.
Birdlife also abound in this place.
Beautiful rosellas come shrieking in numbers. These birds are just part of the wildlife that inhabit these parts.

Something that’s seemingly out of place here is this framed saying by the wise Indian chief white cloud. However on reflection, it is quite appropriate.
Nature is after all, what many aspire to preserve, and its creator whom they worship. For those who seek to nurture faith turn to nature. Nature’s gift to us is a privilege and a responsibility. And we can practice spirituality by caring for one another, other creatures, and our tiny home planet within the expanses of the universe.
There is after all some game deer meat available from the farm. This is sourced from some commercial farm, not organic but hey it’s not everyday that one can try venison sausages.
But what am i doing here? Deer hunting? Definitely not.
It’s all to do with work.
How does the seven dwarves song go?
I owe i owe it’s off to work i go.

On the way to work then -via the seven bridges road-
i do a little detour to a little known road and a little known lookout for a view of the well-known lake Samsonvale nearby.

Samsonvale dam was at a very critical level of 17% a couple of years back. Now though it is at about 71%.

Okay so back to work.
The deer farm in mt Samson doubles as a venue for a 4wd course.
I was one of eight people doing this 2-day course.
So we did a bit of theory, reviewed our basic driving skills and road rules, creek crossing etc. Thence to the nitty gritty of 4-wheel driving.
We did braking, steep incline stall stops, reversing manoeuvres, push-pull reversing exercises, and other practical skills.
This was supplemented with additional lectures on site-specific job driving requirements, defensive driving, vehicular checks and lists, operational procedures, techniques, maintenance, faults, safety etc.
There’s nothing new in all this.
But then again, one learns something new everyday.
Such as that deer and 4wd can go together.
So now we’re ready for delivery.
Watch this space.
Then we take east berlin, no, eastern queensland.
or maybe central queensland?
i've gone bananas again.
below is a video related to this blog.
it's also in youtube:

Thursday, 9 July 2009

first we take brisbane

on a crisp and clear winter's day in june.

found my way to brisbane town.

northbound on the pacific highway i zoomed along.

pretty soon a bridge not too far says:

welcome to brisbane.
beautiful one day.
queensland the next.
what's the motto go again?

now should i take a plunge first?

no not into the brisbane river, but exit left to the treasury casino.

the brisbane skyline is confusing this country boy.
coathangers and skyways.

and the signs prevail on me, so i take a right turn and do the right move.

to the ballet at the cultural centre i go instead.
but i have no pera.

so whence i searched high and low.

for my memory's now down to zero.
what am i doing here?
oh yes of course.
am in brisbane to do a 'first aid' course.
the course is spread over a couple of days.
so i do a bit of sightseeing.
first we take brisbane...
i have a cousin who lives here. and his family.
but i don't want them having to deal with the t-n-t police.
so i'll just give them a call, and call-in for some kanin.

below is a video related to this blog.
audio was disabled in youtube:
but you can still listen to the music here.