Distance: 77 km
Fuel: 10 L
Was up early for a shower – what a difference in temperature overnight – it was 5’C at 6am compared to the lowest temperature yesterday of 14’C. I slept under my winter doona last night so was quite warm but am thinking ‘hot water bottle’ for tonight. Anyway, being up early I took the opportunity to hand wash my dirty clothes (just a couple of T shirts and socks)
First visit today was to the airport and the Bureau of Meteorology Weather Station. At 9.15am there is an automatic release of a weather balloon.
The Vortex Gun
I set off a little early so I was able to view the Vortex Gun in a park on the way. This was an experiment to break the drought after a farmer had seen these guns used to convert hailstorms into rain in Italy; it didn’t work.
BOM Automatic Weather Balloon Launch
When I arrived at 9am the lights on the weather station were flashing indicating that things were happening and almost exactly on 9.15 the roof opened and a weather balloon emerged – it was so quick you could miss it. I was the only person there which surprised me as the daily event is mentioned in the tourist guide.
The Angellala Creek Explosion
After the weather balloon launch I drove 26km out of Charleville to Angellala Creek to see the site of a massive explosion which destroyed the railway bridge and the road bridge. When I read about this I assumed it occurred last century and was surprised to find it happened in 2014 – I don’t remember it.
A truck carrying 53 tonnes of fertiliser caught fire and exploded (ammonium nitrate was a favourite of the IRA). It was miracle no one was killed even though police and fire vehicles were destroyed as was a rail bridge that had stood since 1897.
Back to Charleville and a visit to the imaginatively named ‘Historic House” Museum. This building started off as a bank, became a residence, then guest house and now a museum. It is basically an old building full of random old stuff.
Called in at the Railway Station to find out about the ‘Bilby Experience’ the next one was at 3pm so I booked myself in then went into town for a walk, lunch and a coffee.
After eating I still had an hour to kill so returned to the caravan park which gave me a chance to get my washing in while I waited for 3pm.
The Bilby Experience
The ‘experience’ was a good talk by a wildlife officer then we went into a darkened room to see the Bilbies – they are a nocturnal animal. They dart about constantly hence photos are blurred or empty frames.
Interesting facts about Bilbies
- They used to inhabit 70% of the mainland but now only exist in tiny pockets in extreme conditions where their predators can’t survive.
- They don’t need free water.
- Their main predators are foxes, feral cats and rabbits (the latter don’t kill them but take their burrows).
- A Bilby can have 8 offspring a year compared to a rabbit’s 72.
By now the sun had almost gone and I was getting hungry. Earlier, when I left the Historic House Museum, I noticed a Thai Restaurant a few doors away so I drove there to see what food was available. I bought a Special Fried Rice and Prawns – it wasn’t bad – not very spicy but plenty of it, I have saved half for tomorrow.
A Quick Video
On the road to the airport this morning a couple of animals in a hurry crossed the road: