18th May 2019–Charleville

Distance:  426km
Fuel: 42L

Wasn’t sure which way to go today but in the end decided to go west, initially thought I might stay at Mitchell but once I arrived at that town it was still early so decided to push on to Charleville.

On the road to Charleville

I didn’t stop in Roma because it is not long since I was last there. Click here to see that visit.

Passed through various scenery, some open paddocks others more wooded. The weather so far on this trip has been perfect.

On the road to CharlevilleAtOn the road to Charleville

Stopped a couple of times once at Muckadilla – somewhere I have stopped before, it is a tiny town, little more than a service station and a few buildings but let’s face it who would not want to stop somewhere called Muckadilla? The name just appeals, even better they even offer free camp sites behind the community hall.

Muckadilla Hall

At Charleville found a caravan park that I had stayed at before which was pleasant enough and set up before going for a walk. Charleville is also a place I have visited a couple of times before, the last time not that long ago, I have seen the Bilbys before and it was closed while a show was in progress so I didn’t stop. Click here to see the last visit.

CharlevilleCharlevilleCharlevilleCharleville

There must have been a rodeo in town because the commentary could be heard all afternoon and evening from the caravan park the activities were followed by a band which was quite enjoyable.

Had a bit of a scare in the evening when I hurt my back and could hardly walk but fortunately by the morning it was back to normal.

12th May 2018–Around Charleville

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.

180512 001 Vortex Gun Charleville180512 003 Vortex Gun Charleville

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.

180512 006 Meteorological Balloon Release Charleville180512 010 Meteorological Balloon Release Charleville180512 011 Meteorological Balloon Release Charleville180512 012 Meteorological Balloon Release Charleville

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.

>>>A news report of the incident is here<<<

180512 035 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville180512 019 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville180512 021 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville180512 023 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville180512 026 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville180512 031 Angellala Creek Explosion Site Charleville

Historic House

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.

180512 079 Historic House Charleville180512 046 Historic House Charleville180512 048 Historic House Charleville180512 049 Historic House Charleville180512 051 Historic House Charleville180512 052 Historic House Charleville180512 055 Historic House Charleville180512 057 Historic House Charleville180512 059 Historic House Charleville180512 063 Historic House Charleville180512 073 Historic House Charleville180512 077 Historic House Charleville

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.

180512 082 Charleville180512 084 Charleville180512 085 Charleville180512 088 Charleville180512 089 Charleville180512 091 Charleville

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.

180512 094 Bilby Experience Charleville180512 095 Bilby Experience Charleville180512 099 Bilby Experience Charleville180512 116 Bilby Experience Charleville180512 133 Bilby Experience Charleville

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.

Dinner

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:

11th May 2018–Charleville

Distance: 419 Km
Fuel: 49 L

Not in any great rush this morning and also not entirely sure where I will stop for the night. Three possibilities: Augathella, Charleville or Morven but it really depends on time or mood.

What a difference a day makes – yesterday it was 31’C today it is 23’C and feels quite chilly. It is not helped by a wind which, while not strong, is definitely moving the trees and grass, can’t say it was very cold but felt cool after the extended Indian Summer we have been having. The sky was as cloudless as ever with no chance of rain.

Didn’t stop in Blackall on the way through, made a short stop in a rest area just to walk about and stretch the legs, the scenery is very dry but beautiful in an Aussie yellow/brown and grey/green way – I just love the vastness of it all.

180511 002 On The Road To Augathella180511 003 On The Road To Augathella180511 004 On The Road To Augathella

Augathella

Turned off the highway into Augathella. This is the town where the author of the Smiley stories drew his inspiration. Descendants of the boy that Smiley was based on still live in the area. I have never read any of the books myself but I remember seeing the films as a child.

180511 007 Smiley Mural Augathella180511 009 Smiley Mural Augathella

The town also has a footie team called The Meat Ants.

180511 025 Augathella180511 021 Meat Ant Park Augathella180511 019 Meat Ant Park Augathella

I spent a little while looking around after having coffee in the Smiley Cafe (part of the pub really).

180511 022 Augathella180511 024 Augathella180511 027 Augathella180511 031 Augathella180511 033 Augathella180511 034 Augathella180511 036 Augathella

Made the decision to drive on to Charleville and stay a couple of nights there. So I continued on the extra 70km or so to a caravan park near the edge of town and made some plans for tomorrow.

A road train video for your amusement:

[googlemaps https://www.youtube.com/embed/Seixa-31nws&#8221; frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen>