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Flying Fox, living in Finch Hatton Gorge - QLD

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Finch Hatton Gorge in Pioneer Valley is in an area that is the centre of the country's beef and sugar industries.
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Recognising the land's potential, pastoralists followed hard on the heels of the explorers who opened up this region in the 1840's. Sugar production had begun by 1869 and by 1880 it was a flourishing industry. Marian is home to the region's largest sugar mill, which operates constantly during cane crushing season, from June to November.
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In tandem with the agricultural boom, southern Queensland thrived in the latter half of the 19th century when gold was found in the region. Although much of the gold has been extracted, the region is still rich in coal and has the worlds largest sapphire fields.
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In the mornings and afternoon I enjoyed accompanying Josh to schookl as he was leanrign to drive, and I got to drive back through the beautiful landscape
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Amid the mineral landscape there are also some beautiful national parks.
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Tucked into the hillside near finch Hatton Gorge, Dave had built a beautiful property, using stones found on the property.
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The house was completely off-grid and self-sufficient. Water was sourced from the nearby creek and power was sourced form the sun or water wheel in the creek.
Veggie's were grown on the green roof, and the property was full of fruit trees including grapefruit, orange, lemon, avocado and mango.

Within a few hours of arriving, I'd been introduced to three other workaways, (two of whom would be leaving the next day) and was taken rock hopping up the gorge with Betty, Ning and Manis by family friend Ren.
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Pioneer Valley is a wonderland of waterfalls, lush flora and volcanic boulder formation contrast against as tapestry of sugar cane fields.
Ren & Manis made it look easy
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but Ning only has little legs, and was glad of Ren's help over the large jumps!
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Betty, wasn't so sure about the activity
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But it was great to be in a beautiful national park
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where trees grow in the river at low water levels
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and rock pools are perfect for swimming in, in the summer months!
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I got back into playing chess, and learnt a new, more simple version using only the pawns. But one highlight was the best egg cup I've used so far in Australia...
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One of the on-going jobs was building a new set of steps at the front of the house
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using local materials found on the property
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It was great to get to know two dogs of the infamous breed The Australian Cattle Dog (ACD), or simply Cattle Dog.
Lucky & Tyke
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A breed of herding dog originally developed in Australia for droving cattle over long distances across rough terrain.
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In the 19th century, New South Wales cattle farmer Thomas Hall crossed the dogs used by drovers in his parents' home county, Northumberland, with dingoes he had tamed.
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The resulting dogs were known as Halls Heelers
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It has been nicknamed a "Red Heeler" or "Blue Heeler" on the basis of its colouring and practice of moving reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels.
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The other local resident was Nibbles, the guinea pig, who was particularly squeaky if he heard anyone eating an apple!
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One un-tamed resident was a Carpet Python who liked to curl up on the invertor for heat
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or maybe somewhere else in the warm tin shed
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We had a day out to do the weekly shop and see the sights of Mackay, the main access point for Eungella and a prosperous sugar town.
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Some-what low key from a tourist point of view but has thirty beautiful white sand beaches, lined with casuarinas.
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The second largest coal-loader in the world is at Hay Point, where trains more than 2km long haul coal from the western mines for shipping overseas.
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The A-Team with Dave & Ning
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In true Aussie style, I was welcomed with a BBQ, to celebrate Dave's birthday, which was a great chance to get into Dave's home brew, which was never in short supply!
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and Josh had made an amazing cheesecake...
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It was a great opportunity to try and catch the meteor shower, but there weren't any passing where we were at this time. However, I did get these star trails
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I was then given a true Aussie send off - with another BBQ at the neighbour's, Warren & Rosine's. I met their cats, Shelly
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& Spike
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who decided to join the party at people height by climbing a nearby step ladder
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whilst standing enjoying some of Dave's home made beer, it was a fitting end to my stay to watch over 4,500 of 'our' flying foxes leave camp to look for food
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more on them in the next blog!

Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged flying_fox finch_hatton_gorge

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Comments

what a fantastic blog. I am Dave's mother-in-law (my daughter was staying with us in Ireland during your stay at Finch Hatton). It was great reading and seeing the photos of your stay. Thankyou.

by Meriel Adams

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