A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: charlystyles

The Forts, walking on Magnetic Island - North QLD


This walk leads to World War II coastal fortification with stunning views of the Palm Islands, Cape Cleveland, Bowling Green Bay National Park and the granite boulder landscape below.
Halifax Bay

The first section of the rough track follows a ridge up through a mixed eucalypt woodland, with panoramic views across the island to the eastern bays and surrounding water.
Along the track, I spotted this wild koala, nestling in against the wind.
Koala's have made themselves at home on the island since 18 animals were introduced here from Bowen in 1932 to protect them from mainland threats.
ten years later, the war brought new threats to their island sanctuary.
Now there are around 800 koalas on the island.

Mid-way, the track levels our where marked side tracks lead to remains of the military communications structures that were in operation between 1943 and 1945.
The track becomes steeper on the 'Forts Circuit' where stone steps and a narrow track lead up past huge granite boulders to the solid fortifications, set into the hillside.
It was near here in mid 1942 that the first team of army engineers pitched their canvas tents before surveying and clearing the track used today.
It takes about an hour to walk to the top, it took them about 6 months to finish the job.
A team of 25 local men from the Main Roads Commission built this track and the blocky concrete forts ahead in just 10 months, finishing the job in July 1943.
Arthur Bay
Building materials came by barge from the mainland to Arcadia and were loaded on to the 'red terror', a local V8 truck more often used to cart pineapples. In the tropical heat the crew winched and pushed barrows of concrete. they used timber roads to ram the mix into 30cm thick walls, recycling the timber framework for the next building.

Critical to the forts' operation were the two US-army 155mm guns sited at the gun emplacement, each weighing over 10 tonnes. It was a massive task getting them up here.
Under secure guard they were loaded onto a Townville barge to be towed across to the island by the steam tug Alert.
The weighty gun placements were hauled up the beach over logs and completed their journey up this track towed behind a tractor, with a tense moments when one gun tipped over on the bend ahead and had to be righted.
A powder keg
Located a safe distance from the guns, in case of enemy action, the reserve magazine housed the main supply of ammunition - about 400 high-explosive projectiles, each weighing around 43kg. Further up the hill each gun had it's on supply for immediate use. The guns could rotate 360 degrees and were extremely accurate, with a range of 19.3km. A crew of 1 manned the guns. The disappearance of the guns remains a mystery!

The artillery Command Post
The boxy building looked very different in the war, concealed by a cloak of decorated netting and concrete rocks to blend into th natural environment.
This place controlled all battery operations including searchlights and radar units. It housed the main depression range finder, a long telescope on finely geared mountings seated on the concrete column, used to measure the exact range to a target.
The Australian Women's Army Service plotters used the readings to calculate details for the guns and communicated order to the battery command on Castle Hill in Townsville.
The three storey Port War Signal Station is a typical naval communications facility using light and flag signalling.
The big signal light was readable as far away as Great Palm Island, 50km to the north.
Cleveland Bay
Standing 233m above sea level, the station commands a 300 degree ocean view from the top level.
form here the navy monitored all shipping traffic in and out of Cleveland Bay. In 1943 there were regularly 40 ships stacked in the bay. Ships were challenged with a wartime communication and expected to respond with the code of the day.

Posted by charlystyles 13:40 Archived in Australia Tagged magnetic_island the_forts Comments (0)

Townsville Queenspark - North QLD

Castle Hill is a heritage-listed isolated pink granite monolith standing in the heart of the north Queensland city of Townsville.
It rises to a height of some 286 metres (938 ft) above sea level and dominates the city skyline. It is one of the most distinctive natural features on the Queensland coast. There are a number of vantage points from which to view the city below and also across Cleveland Bay to nearby Magnetic Island.
The bitumen "Castle Hill Road" winds for 2.6 kilometres from the northeast slopes to the summit of the second peak, on which the Hynes Lookout platform has been erected.
I headed out with flip flops on and ended up on one of the walking tracks to the top, with nearly 2,000 steps!
I did get some funny looks from all the fitness freaks in their lycra and trainers!
There are several buildings and installations on the hill. On the southern face was a two-storeyed octagonal building of concrete block work, which formerly housed the Panorama Restaurant, which has now been demolished.
A carpark associated with the former restaurant is located nearby to the north. Other structures on the site include several water reservoirs and three radio communication installations. On the northern-most peak of the summit is a 1942 observation post, a low, square, concrete bunker with observation apertures.
Although it wasn't the best day for it, it would be a great vantage point to watch the sunset over the hills
Heading home, I heard some great jazz music, and treated myself to a G&P (gin & pineapple juice) whilst watching the live band perform in an underground bar

The next day, I did some of the historical walks through town and came across a 'botanic Heritage Experience'.
Initiated in 1870 and covering four hectares, Queens Gardens is the oldest and smallest botanic garden in Townville.
It is a fine example of a tropical colonial garden of that era.
Originally established as a trial garden for European settlement, plantings included timber and fruit trees and collections of Dracaena, Codiaeum and Cordyline.
Today the collection is based on desirable and unusual tropical plants along with the most spectacular flowering and foliage specimens.
Palms, flowering trees and Heliconias are particularly impressive. The cacti garden
and a great collection of birds, such as Sulphur Crested Cockatoos
Long Billed Corellas
even a Turkey
Wild Curlews
who have the most haunting call at night time

Posted by charlystyles 13:57 Archived in Australia Tagged townsville_queenspark Comments (0)

Civic Pride Townsville walking trail - North QLD


Tracing the growth of the heart of Townsville’s Central Business District (CBD). The walk displays the consolidation of the westward movement to the CBD in conjunction with the expansion of insurance, commercial and banking institutions. While many of the buildings exhibit landmark qualities, all contribute to the streetscape and provide an understanding of Townsville’s emergence as the administrative centre of North Queensland.
Townsville’s first European contact occurred in 1819 when Allan Cunningham, aboard the survey vessel Mermaid, landed on Cape Cleveland. A further 45 years elapsed before John Melton Black and his partner Robert Towns, after whom the city was named, founded Townsville in November 1864. Originally Townsville was a slowly developing seaport with pastoralists settling in the hinterland. Following the discovery of gold in 1867 it developed rapidly and by 1880 was the port for five major goldfields and the main supply centre of northern Australia. Later it became the centre for rich sugar growing districts to the north and south. Today, Townsville is a vibrant modern city and the administrative centre of North Queensland, but still preserves a rich heritage from its golden past.

01. Westpac Bank (former bank of new south wales)
Built in 1935, this building is a fine example of an inter-war bank building. It was originally the Bank of New South Wales, which was one of the first banks established in Townsville and of which Robert Towns (founder of Townsville) was a director.

02. Former Commercial Banking Company of Sydney
This building was contiguous with the building next door. It is a fine example of a 1920s bank building although its current use has altered.

03. Former Henlein & Co.
An interesting example of commercial federation style architecture. Originally built as a warehouse in 1902 for Heinlein & Co. Liquor Merchants, the building was later occupied by the English, Scottish and Australian Bank. Initially only the plasterwork was painted while the brickwork remained exposed.

04. Former Australian Mutual Provident Society
Built in 1938 and once the AMP Building, this is an impressive structure in the classic revival style. This building has been restored with great taste. The statue on the façade originally topped the 19th century AMP offices (now Magnetic House) in Flinders Street East.

05. Former State Government Offices
During the 1920s the State Government began building imposing offices confirming Townsville as the administrative centre of the north. This building is a fine example of government buildings of the time with a classical form and architectural detailing.

06. Great Northern Hotel
Built in 1902 this is a beautifully preserved example of a masonry and timber verandah hotel.
This hotel design was once common throughout Australia. The Great Northern Hotel was the first ’port of call’ for people arriving via rail.

07. Old Townsville Railway Station
A splendid example of Edwardian Gothic architecture with Art Nouveau decoration.
Note the asymmetric design and the ornate iron brackets supporting the awning.
An unusual example of a railway station with an imposing façade and civic presence.
Ambulance crew teaching staff during the war in 1942

08. Newmarket Hotel
The original Newmarket Hotel was built in 1872 and with expansion out from the city centre it became one of the leading establishments in Townsville. The present building (renovated in 1994) was erected in 1932 in the style of earlier hotels with wide verandahs shading the street.

09. Sturt Street Retail Precinct
Though no longer used for its original purpose, this building was one of the first examples of showrooms built for car dealers in the 1930s when the motor car was gaining in popularity.

10. Stanley Street Retail Precinct
This small precinct was erected around the 1930s and is an example of typical medium size retail buildings erected in the inter-war period.

11. Former Townsville School of Arts
This building was erected in 1891. The School of Arts provided classes in cooking, drawing, singing and woodworking, among others. The theatre was host to many leading performers, including Dame Nellie Melba in 1909.

12. Former Townsville Technical College
Constructed in 1921, this building was originally the first state high school in Townsville. It held 63 students but by the mid 1930s the Stanley Street wing was extended to provide extra classrooms.
Towering above the college is Castle Hill

13. Former Townsville Magistrates Court
Built in 1877 to house Townsville’s Magistrates Court. It is a rare example of a 19th century masonry courthouse. The concrete used in the foundation of the b

14. Former Scott, Dawson & Stewart Warehouse
This is the only remaining warehouse of its kind in north Queensland. The lower storey was built in 1884 and is supported by enormous timber pillars and beams. The upper storeys were added in 1889. The crest adorning the façade represents the first logo of the Townsville City Council. During World War II the building was the RAAF headquarters for the North Eastern Area.

15. Osler House
An elegant house built in 1889 for Charters Towers mining magnate and politician John Deane for rental as a doctor’s surgery. For some years after 1901 it was used as a commercial travellers club, but for most of its life has been occupied by some of Townsville’s medical practitioners. It is believed that the first x-rays in Australia were taken here.

16. Former Dalgety & co
Built in 1924 this building served as the offices of Dalgety & Co., one of the most successful pastoral companies in Australia. The building was constructed from reinforced masonry during the period where concrete construction dominated the building industry in Far North Queensland. It was the last of the substantial warehouses to be built in Townsville.

17. Denham Chambers
Sympathetically restored, this building has housed members of the Townsville legal fraternity since it was built in 1901. 18. roberts, leu & north building This building originally had a balcony with elaborate cast iron balustrades. Its removal has emphasised the elegant classical line of the façade and the attractive parapet.

19. Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
This was originally a single-storeyed building erected in 1885 for the Union Bank of Australia. The second storey was added in the 1930s. Note the arcaded verandahs and high ceilings designed deliberately to allow for the tropical climate. This building is now a regional art gallery.

20. Former Townsville Post Office
This building was erected in three stages from 1887 to 1889. It was designed by J.J. Clarke who was regarded as one of the leading 19th century architects in Australia and demonstrated the principal characteristics of a provincial post office. In early 2002 the post office moved out and was replaced by The Brewery.

21. W.H. Green Building
The central shop was one of Townsville’s first brick stores, built for the early merchants Brodziak & Rodgers in 1878. The shops on either side date from 1887. Later, the chemist W.H. Green acquired the building and occupied the entire shopfront.

22. Former Willmett’s Stationery Shop
With its timber balustrade, verandah and striking parapet, this is the last surviving building of its kind in the city. It was built in 1920.

24. Former Queensland National bank
Built in 1879, this pleasantly symmetrical building was Townsville’s first two-storeyed brick commercial building. It is notable for its wide verandahs, fine decorative detail and ornate cast- iron balustrades. The Queensland National Bank dominated the banking industry in Queensland during the
19th century

Posted by charlystyles 13:54 Archived in Australia Tagged civic_pride Comments (0)

Seahorses on Magnetic Island - North QLD


For over 30 years Horseshoe Bay Ranch (originially Bluey’s) has provided travellers from all over the world with the truly magical experience of swimming with their horse in one of the most beautiful locations on earth, Horseshoe Bay.
We even spotted a couple of koalas along the way
Imagine yourself trekking on horseback through native Australian bushland
and arriving at a pristine beach.
Now unsaddle your horse and experience the sensation of riding them bareback into the ocean.
Remembering to hold on tightly, as it's a different experience to riding with a saddle
Especially when the waves wash against you as you get deeper.
All the horses were well-schooled and calm-natured.
But more than that, they all loved going in the water - what a treat on a hot sunny day.
Not something that was on my bucket list, but definitely should have been!

What an incredible experience.

Posted by charlystyles 13:50 Archived in Australia Tagged magnetic_island horse_riding beach_riding horseshoe_bay_ranch Comments (0)

The Strand & Kissing Point, Townsville - North QLD

The Strand has been a part of Townsville's history since the city was founded in the mid-19th century.
The current foreshore and jetty
was opened in 1999 after the old foreshore was severely damaged and eroded after heavy rainfall and wind from Tropical Cyclone Sid in January 1998 and other monsoonal storms between 1997 and 1998.
It was moderately damaged by Cyclone Tessi in April 2000.

Along The Strand is a $2.5million water park, including a giant tipping bucket!
but at the opposite end of the foreshore is The Riverway Lagoons
which cover an area in size of more than three Olympic swimming pools. The lagoons are nestled among shady raintrees, with the picturesque Ross River providing a peaceful backdrop. The surrounding well established raintrees, together with the extensive overhangs of the Riverway Arts Centre roof and additional shade structures, provide a protected year-round safe swimming environment.
The two distinct lagoon areas vary in depth up to 2m. The upper lagoon is designed for more formal uses, including an area for swimming laps and specific areas for disabled and elderly access, with hand rails and suitable water levels. The lower lagoon is more relaxed and is an ideal place for the kids build sand castles and play in shallow water while the rest of the family can lounge on the timber decks in the shade.

Bazza & Shazza (2004)
These two sculptures represent stereotypical Australians inspired by Townsville's vibrant night life.
The real models used to produce the bronze sculptures included the use of real objects such as the high heel shoes, a bra, a bottle opener and jeans. The texture of the lace in the bra and the zipper of the jeans can still be seen in the bronze.
An estimated 120kg was used in casting the chairs.

Sculpture of an illusive dugong

Jezzine Barracks
The 15-hectare heritage precinct commemorates the military and Aboriginal heritage of the Kissing Point headland
through 32 specially commissioned public artworks
extensive interpretive signage, a purpose built Kok walkway
and the restoration of significant elements of the Kissing Point Fort complex.
Large-scale landscaping works have also opened up the area for public use.

Kissing Point Fort
A fine example of the fixed coastal defences constructed in Queensland in the nineteenth century. through its continuous military use from 1885 to 2006 Kissing Point has been associated with many major phases in Australia's deference.
The fort was intended to protect shipping in the post and to defend the north-western approaches to the harbour.

The original battery consisted of two gun emplacements installed in 1885
with an underground storage magazine in between.

Garabarra (Kissing Point)
is a significant area for the Traditional Owners because of its cultural importance as the centre of a common food foraging area, as a major route between Aboriginal living and ceremonial places, and as a frontier place in the early post-contact history of Townsville.
overlooked by Castle Hill

The Croc
Represents the Indigenous peoples of Australia, their strengths and their trading history. The crocodile is a recognised symbol of a great hunter, of strength and longevity, and is included in stories from many regions.

Dooey Dooey
For some Aboriginal groups in coastal North Queensland the creation story of dooey dooey, the shovelnose ray, explains hot the Southern Cross constellation and the Pointers cane to be.

Peanut Tree (Barul)
the Peanut Tree produces small black seeds from bright orange-red pods. The seeds are peeled and eaten raw, their taste closely resembling commercial peanuts.
Aboriginal people utilise many parts of this plant. The inner black fibre is uswed to make string, nets, fishing lines and baskets. The leaves are used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Heated leaves are applied to marine stings, insect bites and wounds.

Gabul Ceremonies
Here the Clever Man and the father wait to perform special ceremonies to retrieve the man's stolen daughter from the big snake Gabul. As represented, when Gabul travelled, he formed the coastline and as he curled up to rest, he formed the hills which are now islands.

Kapok Tree
The ripe brown fruits of this tree open to expose a mass of downy fibres called kapok. Aboriginal people use the kapok for many purpose, such as body decoration for ceremonies. The roots of young plants are edible and nutritious. The bright yellow flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. Young stems are used for firesticks. the kapok readily ignites and ise used for fire making.

Seven Sisters
Dance and art are both very important to Karen Doolan and the two come together in this work. the sculpture is based on a drawing by Doolar and celebrates women and their importance in Aboriginal culture. Her drawing was inspired by the creation story of the seven sisters who came down from the heavens bringing everything that was beautiful in the world.

Jeremy George's lively painting of brolga catching a fish has been transformed by Rurik Henry into this stainless steel sculpture. George says he likes to paint things he has seen - brolgas dancing and catching fish, carpet snakes and butterflies, lots of butterflies.

Canoe People
The canoe was an important symbol for the local Aboriginal peoples in both trade and harvesting from the rivers and sea. Kissing Point and Rowes Bay were traditional meeting places for local peoples.

Big Wind Coming
This sentinel references the importance of the stars and the moon in Aboriginal life, and how these are read in relation to the weather. The central and tallest stone - the Listening Looking Stone - is a place of refuge, observation and contemplation surrounded by the Southern Cross Boulders, which hold water and reflect the stars at night.

Rising Sun
The artist has taken inspiration from the Australian army's Rising Sun badge, worn by Australian soldiers since 1902 and commonly identified with the spirit of ANZAC. Inscribed along the curved edge of the work are the mottos of units associated with Jezzine Barracks

This palm tree got my attention - the details of how it grows, meshed together
a great walk around a beautiful spot in Townsville

Posted by charlystyles 13:45 Archived in Australia Tagged jezzine_barracks the_strand_townsville kissing_point Comments (0)

Early Townsville walking trail - North QLD

sunny 27 °C

Townsville is the second largest city in Queensland and a major port for beef, sugar and mining industries. The city was founded in the 1860s by Robert Towns who began the practice of 'blackbirding' - kidnapping Kanakas from their homeland and bringing them to Australia as cheap labour.

Early Townsville
This walk revealed the city's earliest port-related precinct in the original 'heart of the city'. The walk traces the 1880s transformation of the Flinders street East precinct from single storey timber structures into one and two storey masonary buildings. Reflected in the fabric and function of the buildings are glimpses of Townville's early character and development.
Townville's first European contact occurred in 1819 when Allan Cunningham, aboard the survey vessel Mermaid, landed on Cape Cleveland. A further 465 year elapsed before John Melton Black and his partner Robert Towns, founded Townville in November 1864. Originally Townsville was a slowly developing seaport with pastoralists settling in the hinterland. Following the discovery of gold in 1867 it developed rapidly and by 1880 was the port for five major goldfields and the main supply centre of northern Australia. Later it became the centre for rich sugar growing districts to the north and south.
Today Townsville is a vibrant modern city and the administrative centre of north Queensland, but it still preserves a rich heritage from its golden past.

01. Former Samuel Allen & Sons
the building was constructed in 1881 fro Samuel Allen & Sons, a leading mercantile company founded in Townsville in 1872 and closely associated with the development of Townville as the commercial capital of North Queensland.

02. Former Rooney's Building
In 1883 these purpose built shops and stores were erected for mining magnate E.H.T Plant who sought to capitalize on Townsville's emergence as a commercial centre. Later Rooney & Co., a prominent local timber and construction company, acquired the shops.

03. Former Apothecaries' Hall
Designed by W.G. Smith, this building was erected for the chemist William Clayton in 1885. The rock cliffs at the rear of the site were blasted to accommodate the two storey rendered brick building.

04. Former Commercial Banking Company of Sydney
The Commercial Banking Company of Sydney purchase and renovated this building in 1896. Originally erected around 1890 it is an interesting example of a commercial building designed to suit the tropics.

05. Stanton House
J.F. Hof, one of Townsville’s first butchers, originally constructed a two-storey commercial building on this site in 1885. The Anglican Diocesan Synod of North Queensland added a third storey closely mirroring the second in 1942. The building is named in honour of the first Anglican Bishop of North Queensland, George Stanton.

06. Former Willmett’s Building
Willmett’s Printery, Bookshop and Stationery Warehouse started in Townsville on this site in 1873. Founder Thankful Willmett was active in civic affairs and contributed greatly to the development of the city.

07. Former North Queensland mortgage & investment co.
The existing tenancy occupies two separate buildings dated c1886 and 1906: note the parapet comprising two sections. Together these buildings demonstrate the commercial focus of Flinders Street East during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

08. Former Atkinson & Powell building
This commercial building erected in the 1880s for chemists Atkinson & Powell replaced an earlier timber building. Note the beautiful classical elements of the façade.

09. Queens Building
Constructed in 1887, this building was erected for the early Italian settler P.V. Armati. The building is of the classic style with the parapet topped by a draped urn. The building’s name commemorates the jubilee of Queen Victoria.

10. Former Australian Joint Stock Bank
The Australian Joint Stock Bank was the first bank to open in Townsville (1866). This building was their second premises. Note the rich classical detail of F.D.G. Stanley’s design, and the inclusion of an open-sided gallery in response to the tropical climate.

11. Exchange Hotel
Erected for publicans Andrew and Rose Ball in 1882, this hotel replaced an earlier hotel (1869) destroyed by fire. Andrew Ball is credited with being the first European to explore the land on which Townsville was founded. The Exchange is Townsville’s oldest remaining brick hotel.

12. Magnetic House (former amp building)
Famous Australian architect Sir John Sulman designed this building as the North Queensland headquarters of the AMP Society. Note the beautiful plasterwork and splendid cast iron awning on this elegant Victorian building.

13. Former Commercial Hotel
Built for publican John Hanran Jr in 1887, this building replaced an earlier single storey hotel (1867). Hanran’s hotel has undergone many changes over the years, including the construction of a front verandah extending over the footpath.

14. Former Bank of New South Wales (amieu building)
Constructed in 1887, this handsome and imposing building housed the second bank to open in Townsville, the Bank of New South Wales. In 1941, the property was sold to the Australian Meat Industry Employees Union, a prominent union movement in the North. The air raid shelter at the rear of the property is a reminder of the building’s military occupation during World War II.

15. State Government Offices
This attractive brick building erected during the 1930s was the second multi-department government office built in Townsville. The construction of this building demonstrates Townsville’s importance as a centre for government and administration in the north.

16. Former Customs House
Completed in 1902, this stately building with grand circular entrance and lookout for approaching vessels was part of a network of federation era customs houses.

17. Anzac Memorial Park
Anzac Park has a long association with recreational and leisure activities in Townsville. Initially the park developed in association with adjacent sea baths becoming a popular place for picnics, open-air concerts and regattas. Later Anzac Park became a focus for community commemorative activities with the erection of memorials to events and persons of significance in Townsville’s history.

18. Former Queens Hotel
As the Queens Hotel, this building was renowned throughout the world as a ‘grand hotel’. Construction occurred in three stages between 1902 and the late 1920s. Queens Hotel played an important role in the lives of the local community as a popular venue for weddings and functions.

19. Criterion Hotel
The original hotel, built on this site in 1865, was one of the first buildings in Townsville. The Criterion Hotel was an important community place for meetings, entertainment and accommodation. The current building constructed in 1904 replaces an earlier hotel destroyed by Cyclone Leonta.

20. Former Tattersall’s Hotel
The log hotel, ‘Townsville’, built on this site in 1865 was demolished by a cyclone in 1867. It was replaced in 1868, and re-named Tattersall’s. In 1899 owner and Mayor, Thomas Enright replaced the 1868 hotel with the existing brick building. The cast-iron balustrading is a unique feature of northern hotels.

21. Queensland Building
This three storey building was designed by M.C. Day of Sydney in 1892 as offices for the North Queensland Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Burns Philp & Co. Ltd.

22. Former Burns Philp & co.
This building was once the headquarters of the Burns Philp & Co. empire founded in Townsville in 1873. Erected in 1895, the cupola-topped tower was originally a lookout for observing the arrival of the company’s ships into port. This building is important as the only surviving example of a federation era warehouse along Ross Creek.

23. Agora House (former howard smith & co.)
Erected in 1911 for the coastal shipping firm Howard Smith & Co., an early contributor to Townsville’s development as a major regional port, this building is an attractive example of an early 20th century commercial building.

24. Former Howard Smith & Co.
General merchants Aplin Brown & Co. Constructed this building in 1899 for lease to the shipping firm Howard Smith & Co. The Building was later purchased by rival shipping firm, Adelaide Steamship Company, and extensively renovated.

25. Former Aplin Brown and Co.
Local construction company Rooney & Co. erected this building in 1887 at the request of Aplin Brown and Co., one of the town’s leading merchants. While extensive alterations have resulted in the verandah arches being enclosed, the building remains a fine example of an 1880s office building.

Posted by charlystyles 13:33 Archived in Australia Tagged early_townsville_walking_tour Comments (0)

South Townsville & Port walking trail - North QLD

sunny 27 °C

This walking trail tells the story of the relationship between the industrial and the residential aspects of this working class suburb. From its earliest days Ross Island, now known as South Townsville, was a hub for industry and many men from the suburb worked at the port and in associated industries. The early architecture of the suburb reflects its social make-up whilst numerous pubs provide a snapshot of the daily social interaction between wharfies, seamen, meatworkers and railway workers.
Townsville’s first European contact occurred in 1819 when Allan Cunningham, aboard the survey vessel Mermaid, landed on Cape Cleveland, A further 45 years elapsed before John Melton Black and his partner Robert Towns founded Townsville in November 1864. Originally, Townsville was a slowly developing seaport with pastoralists settling in the hinterland. Following the discovery of gold in 1867 it developed rapidly and by 1880 was the port for five major goldfields and the main supply centre for northern Australia. Later it became the centre for the rich sugar growing districts to the north and south.
Today, Townsville is a vibrant modern city and the administrative centre of North Queensland, but it still preserves a rich heritage from it’s golden past.

01. Victoria Bridge
Victoria Bridge is the only swing bridge in Queensland and one of the few surviving in Australia. It was completed in 1889 and was the first permanent bridge built across Ross Creek.
It linked the city and the port and contributed greatly to Townsville’s early economic and urban development. The bridge would open to allow ships to sail up Ross Creek.

George Roberts Bridge

02. Australian Hotel
This two-storey brick hotel was opened in 1888. The Australian was on the route of an infamous pub crawl from port to city. In the 1930s Errol Flynn, who later became a Hollywood film legend, stayed in this hotel whose premier room is now called the Errol Flynn Room.

03. Row of Timber-Framed S
This building is a replication of a type of timber-framed commercial premises once common along Palmer Street. Photographs taken in 1903 show that Palmer Street was a combination of shops interspersed with two-storey hotels.

04. Queensland Teachers Union
Constructed c1948 as a four-unit dwelling, this building is unusual for its use of concrete bricks during a time when the production of concrete bricks was uncommon in Townsville. The matching front fence adds to the symmetry of this neo-Georgian style building.

05. Shamrock Hotel
The Shamrock opened for business in 1889. The hotel’s construction utilises a unique combination of brick beneath an upper story of timber. The Shamrock is also one of the hotels on the ‘Port to City Pub Crawl’.

06. Wharton Reef Light
Now an attractive streetscape feature, this navigation beacon was relocated to Palmer Street in 1990, after 75 years of service protecting ships from the treacherous reef at Princess Charlotte Bay (Far North Queensland).

07. Maritime Museum of Townsville
The Maritime Museum is home to exhibitions and memorabilia from Townsville’s colourful maritime past. From the tragic tale of the SS Yongala to the development of the Townsville Port, the museum offers visitors an engaging experience. The 1930s Pier-Master’s Office, originally built on the Townsville wharves and the 1886 Bay Rock Lighthouse are composite parts of the museum’s architecture.

The Bay Rock Lighthouse

08. Metropole Hotel
Built in 1887 the Metropole was nicknamed ‘the first and last’ as it was the first hotel wharfies and sailors encountered on the ‘Port to City Pub Crawl’ and the last stop before returning to the port. The hotel underwent major internal changes in 2008.

09. 24 Archer Street
This dwelling is Townsville’s first display home. It was built by Buffa & Company in late 1913 and is the only known example in Townsville, and possibly Queensland, of an entirely prefabricated concrete house.

10. Former Wool Store
This warehouse was erected in 1899 for the New Zealand Loan & Mercantile Agency Company for the storage of wool. Wool was one of the first exports from the Port of Townsville after its founding in 1864. Note the close proximity of this building to the railway line.

11. South Townsville State School
Opened as Ross Island State School in 1884. The building with the large skylight is the original classroom. The adjacent wing was relocated from Ravenswood School in 1923. The school has a colourful history, pupils initially struggled with shifting sand hills, a swamp in the playground, feral goats and book eating rats.

12. St Johns Church, Hall & Rectory
The first church in South Townsville was built on this site in 1886. The current church built in 1907, replaced two earlier churches destroyed by cyclones

13. Allen Street Corner Shops
The corner shop played an important role not only as a supply centre but also as a meeting place. Almost all the corner shops in South Townsville were owned at one time by Chinese storekeepers.

14. Commonwealth Hotel
Built in 1901 this brick structure with timber verandahs catered to the needs of the single male workforce, offering meals and accommodation. The hotel was named in celebration of Federation and the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia.

15. St Patrick’s Church & Hall
Opened in 1930 this building is a beautiful example of a ‘Spanish Mission’ style church. It was at the hall that Eddie Mabo, renowned land rights activist, established a community school in the 1970s and 1980s.

The road outside, had some interceding lane markings - trees!

16. Nelson Street Heritage precinct
Nelson Street is a fine example of South Townsville’s historic streetscapes. The dwellings are largely cottages in the style of the workers dwellings.
Note the railway tracks still in-situ at the intersection with Morey Street.

I. 40 Nelson Street
A 1917 worker’s dwelling of an unusual style, and rare in Townsville. The dwelling’s first occupant was Thomas E. Robertson, who was part-owner of the wellknown drapery firm of Inglis Smith & Company.

II. 32 Nelson Street
Built just after WWII, this unique masonry home once featured a rooftop swimming pool, probably the first private swimming pool in Townsville.

III. 27 Nelson Street
A very fine and largely intact example of a worker’s dwelling c1920.

IV. 17 Nelson Street
Good example of a prefabricated house, c1910.

V. 15 Nelson Street
Early worker’s cottage predating 1905.

VI. 20 Nelson Street
‘Kerngoo’ is a good example of an 1890s worker’s dwelling, associated with the working class Marnock family for almost a century.

VII. 3 Nelson Street
Featuring a lovely curved art deco entry, this house appeared on the site around 1919.

17. Victoria Park Hotel
Established in 1896, this hotel was the second on this site. The first was destroyed by fire the night before it was due to be handed over to the licensee. This hotel is unique, as it is the only timber hotel remaining in Townsville.

18. Former Butcher Shop
This small shop was built in the early 1950s and purchased by local butcher William (Bill) Scown in 1954. The old butcher shop was sympathetically restored in 2003.

19. Former Overseas Telecommunications Centre
This building was erected c1913 to house the Overseas Telecommunications Centre. The first ship-to-shore radio transmissions in North Queensland were made through this building as was the first commercial radio broadcast (1935).

20. Victoria Park
At the turn of the 20th century Victoria Park was regarded as the best football ground in Townsville. It was named in honour of the jubilee of Queen Victoria and was gazetted a park in 1887.

21. Republic Hotel
Formerly known as the Empire Hotel, this building is the ‘twin’ to the Commonwealth Hotel. It was built in the same year and was designed by the same architects.

Bowls Club

All this walking is thirsty work, so I treated myself to an ice lolly!

Posted by charlystyles 13:23 Archived in Australia Tagged south_townsville Comments (0)

Biking to Cape Hillsborough - North QLD

Another grand day out on the bike with Barry.
This time heading south. First to Laguna Keys, a once thriving resort for the rich, with a world class golf course and apartments for private sale, but now a deserted marina
surrounded by ghost ships
including an old glass bottom boat
Once a jewel in the crown of the region, the Laguna Quays resort had become a sad, overgrown and rundown site since its last closure in early 2012.

After a quick pit stop at a nearby pub, and a pat of this lovely Rhodesian Ridge Back, Lenny
We continued on down a dirt road to Seaforth
and on to Cape Hillsborough
a national park in Queensland, Australia, 837 km northwest of Brisbane.
The park is a peninsula of volcanic origin, covered largely by rainforest; the maximum elevation is 267 m.
The cape at the tip of the peninsula was named by Lieutenant James Cook during his first voyage to the Pacific in 1770; the name is in honour of Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough who was President of the Board of Trade and Plantations from 1765 to 1765. The nearest major town is Mackay, about 40 km to the southeast.
Cape Hillsborough National Park is situated on the Whitsunday Coast, a short drive north from Mackay, and covers an area of 816ha. The park is characterised by fabulous rocky headlands and formations, formed by early volcanic behaviour.
At Cape Hillsborough National Park, rainforest nearly meets the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, providing an exceptional environment for plants and animals. Rugged, rainforest hills plunge to rocky headlands of rhyolite boulders.
Created by volcanic activity, the boulders separate white sandy beaches in this scenic and peaceful park.
The waters surrounding the National Park are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Along the coast are beautiful rocky coves, secluded sandy beaches and fantastic scenery.
There are also plenty of opportunities to see a wide range of wildlife in the National Park, including Kangaroos, Sugar Gliders, Turtles and Wallabies. Throughout much of the park you will see Brush Turkeys throughout the day. You may get to see the Eastern Grey Kangaroos, which can often be found around the picnic areas and on the beach during the afternoon and evening.
The beach is littered with signs of ghost crabs, burying themselves into the sand and creating interesting patterns
The vegetation and plantlife around the park is also diverse and can be fully experienced on one of the many wonderful coastal walks.
There are various walking trails over the headlands and throughout the National Park giving plenty of opportunity to see the various nature and animals.
A great walk is out to Wedge Island. You can reach it from the Andrews Point walking trail, however, you can only do this at the fall of low tide.
There is also a pleasant walking trail along the Mangrove Boardwalk which is 1.2km, and starts about 500 metres inland from the picnic area.

As we got back to the bike, I noticed there were several beautiful Blue Tiger Butterflies on the ground, obviously in their last stage of life

Heading back home, we couldn't resist a look around a local pottery shed
there was everything you've ever wanted, made of pottery! and it reminded me of the manufacturing places I've seen in China

we stopped for a beer at The Leap a pub with a story
"As legend has it, in 1867 settlers decided they’d had enough of local Aborigines spearing their cattle for food. One raid in particular caused so much consternation among the farmers that matters came to a head and police got involved.” Of course in those days the Queensland police had not yet developed the outstanding reputation for fairness and even-handedness in their dealings with Aboriginal people that they enjoy today.
“The troopers tracked the natives to the top of the mountain that looms where the hotel stands today,” says the history. “From high up near the clouds, a tribeswoman named Kowaha reportedly hurled herself from the sheer cliff face, rather than surrender to authorities. With her baby in her embrace, she leapt from Mt Mandarana and fell to her death far, far below.
“Incredible as it may seem, the baby girl survived her and was taken into care by the wife of a trooper. The Leap Baby, as she came to be known, remained in the district until her death in 1928.
“Since that fateful day of confrontation the area has become known simply as ‘The Leap’, a place where visitors come to learn of and ponder about the mysteries surrounding events in Mackay’s heart-rending past.”

And sip on a coldie while they’re doing it, which is a very civilized way to ponder the mysteries of any where's heart-rending past when you think about it. The pub is popular with local Harley riders and appeared to have six beers on tap, which is excellent. Service was good and the beer fresh and cold.


Last town on the way home was Proserpine,
a town that thrives on sugar cane production
and fires were burning signalling the end of the harvest for that particular paddock

Walking along the beach front at Airlie in the evening,
after an overdose of tiger Prawns
there's the most haunting cries of the Curlew (worth looking up on youtube!), and movements in the dark suggest you're being surrounded!
perfectly harmless, and more afraid of me than them, but I couldn't help but feel I was being watched
by statue like figures

Posted by charlystyles 13:43 Archived in Australia Tagged cape_hillsborough laguna_quays Comments (0)

Great Barrier Reef scenic flight - North QLD


Some months ago I was the other side of Australia, in WA, for my birthday. My brother & family offered me a scenic flight as a present, but I struggled to find a company that would take just one passenger.

However then I had the idea, that what better, than to wait, and fly over the Great Barrier Reef!!
So, 5 months later, I was in Airlie Beach, with the opportunity to fly out over the Whitsunday Island, to the reef.
The company GSL Aviation were very friendly and made it an enjoyable day out.
The aircraft was a GA8 Airvan with a cruise speed of 200km/hr, a range of 1070km an engine of 300bhp and weighed 1414kg.
As we took off down the runway, it wasn't hard to see why plane enthusiasts would like to buy these houses, and garga their own aircraft!
It was an amazing 60 minutes!

The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, Australia, situated between just south of Bowen and to the north of Mackay, some 900 kilometres (560 mi) north of Brisbane. The island group is centred on Whitsunday Island, while the group's commercial centre is Hamilton Island. The traditional owners of the area are the Ngaro People and the Gia People (Birri Gubba Language Group), the Juru Clan of which has the only recognised Native Title in the Region.
The term is a mis-nomer, based as it is on Captain Cook’s naming of what is now known as the Whitsunday Passage (in Cook’s Journal, Whitsunday’s Passage) in the belief that the passage was discovered on Whitsunday, The Sunday of the feast of Whitsun or Pentecost in the Christian liturgical year, observed 7 weeks after Easter. As the International Date Line had not been established it was actually Whit-Monday.
Contention has existed as to exactly what islands are within the informally named Whitsunday Islands, in particular as to the southern extremity and the inclusions to the west. What is certain is that they lie within the chain named Cumberland Isles by Captain Cook (now officially approved as the Cumberland Islands) and a reasonably defined section of that chain and surrounding waters have become known world-wide as The Whitsundays based on a contraction of the Whitsunday Islands designation.

Hamilton Island
is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. It is positioned approximately 887 kilometres (551 mi) north of Brisbane and 512 kilometres (318 mi) south of Cairns. It is also the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Hamilton Island, like most in the Whitsunday group, was formed as sea levels rose creating numerous drowned mountains that are situated close to the east coast of Queensland.

At the 2011 Australian Census the island recorded a population of 1,208 people. The island is a popular tourist destination and was featured in the successful "Best Job In The World" promotion. In late August the island plays host to its annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, in which more than 150 yachts from across Australia and New Zealand gather for a week of races around the islands. However this is only one of many events hosted on the island.

Hayman Island
is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands, part of the Cumberland Islands, which are located off the coast of Central Queensland, Australia at
20°03′S 148°53′E.
Hayman is a private island open to the public, most famous for its luxury resort which was built in the 1950s by millionaire Reg Ansett, who also founded Ansett Australia. The island is a significant drawing point for tourism in Queensland. The island is small at just 400 hectares in area.

Whitsunday Island
is the largest island in the Whitsunday group of islands.
Whitehaven Beach
was rated as the top Eco Friendly Beach in the world by CNN.com in July 2010.
Hills Inlet
Tongue Bay
Apostle Bay

Daydream Island
is one of seven islands of the Molle Group, a sub-group of the Whitsunday Islands.The island is small, measuring 1 km in length and 400 m at its widest point. The highest point on the island is 51 metres above sea level. There are two tourist resorts on the island: the original resort at the southern end and a newer resort at the north-eastern end. The original resort caters to day visitors and the newer resort, which opened in 1990, caters to overnight guests. Tourists from the mainland port of Abel Point Marina regularly visit the island.

Henning Island

Border Island

Deloraine Island

10 mins after leaving the Whitsundays Islands, we had our firest view of the reef
and my smile could not have been any bigger!!
it was beautiful, the colours were just out of this world
I'd taken some good advice and arranged to go at low tide, so that as much of the reef as possible was visible

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms.
This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish. According to a study published in October 2012 by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since 1985.

The main reef we flew over was Hardys Reef
Part of this is Heart Reef is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart.
Heart Reef was discovered in 1975 by one of Air Whitsunday's pilots and is now an internationally-recognised attraction of the Whitsundays and features on many postcards and brochures promoting the Whitsunday region and the Great Barrier Reef.
Many an amateur photographer has been amazed by the fact that their own photos look just like the brochures!

Permanently moored at Hardy Reef , Cruise Whitsundays Reef World pontoon is the newest and most innovative design.
The pontoon features undercover seating and tables, sun decks for topping up the tan, freshwater showers, change rooms and you’ll have full access to the air-conditioned comfort of ‘Seaflight’ alongside the pontoon.
It features Queensland’s largest and most spectacular underwater viewing chamber.

The map below shows our route out, from Shute Harbour at Airlie Beach, over the Whitsundays, with two passes over Whitehaven Beach, out to the Barrier Reef, with two passes over Heart Reef, and back again.

The video below is most of the flight, sped up a little to save you some time!

Heading back to the mainland, there was a great view over Airlie Beach
and the marina
Even the walk 'home' was special
as the sun set on another day in paradise

Posted by charlystyles 13:49 Archived in Australia Tagged whitsundays scenic_flight gsl_aviation heart_reef Comments (0)

Bowen biking & Proserperine - North QLD


Heading out for the day with my new friend Barry, we travelled north to explore Bowen on his Vulcan 1700 Nomad
Bowen is a friendly seaside town which boasts seven beautiful beaches that remain largely undiscovered by tourists. Bowen is home to the Bowen Mango, that is exported around the world, and is Queensland's oldest town.
The Big Mango, costing $90,000 to create, was erected in 2002 as a tourist attraction at the Bowen Tourist Information Centre. In February 2014, the 10-metre high, seven-tonne fibreglass structure was stolen in an overnight operation.[8] The mango was found the next day and it was later revealed that the theft had been a publicity stunt.

Bowen is located on the north-east coast of Australia, at exactly twenty degrees south of the equator. In fact, the twentieth parallel crosses the main street. Bowen is halfway between Townsville and Mackay, and 1,130 kilometres by road from Brisbane.
Bowen sits on a square peninsula, with ocean to the north, east, and south. On the western side, where the peninsula connects with the mainland, the Don River's alluvial plain provides fertile soil that supports a prosperous farming industry
Captain James Cook named Cape Gloucester on his voyage of exploration up the Australian coast in 1770. This "cape" turned out to be an island, and Gloucester Island dominates the view from Bowen's eastern beaches. Behind the island is a bay that forms an excellent port, which the town came to be built around. This bay was eventually discovered in 1859 by Captain Henry Daniel Sinclair, in response to a reward offered by the colony of New South Wales for finding a port somewhere north of Rockhampton. Sinclair named Port Denison after the colonial governor of New South Wales.
Two years later, Sinclair led one group of settlers by sea, and George Elphinstone Dalrymple led another party overland from Rockhampton. They met on 11 April 1861 at Port Denison and founded the town of Bowen on the next day, 13 April 1861. By this time, the separate colony of Queensland had been established, and the town was named after Queensland's first colonial governor, Sir George Bowen.
Port Denison Post Office opened on 1 April 1861 and was renamed Bowen by 1865.

Bowen Jetty
Bowen Jetty was completed in 1866 and first ship docked was A.S.N Company's ship the tinonee.
The jetty eliminated laborious unloading of ships as they laid in the harbour. Prior to the jetty, ships were unloaded by smaller boats which were in turn met by drays being driven out as far as possible at low tide.
The jetty and rail line of which some relics remain, have played an important role in the mining and agriculture industries for the Bowen region. The coal loading facility on the land adjacent to the pier was operational until the 1980's.
The Ports Corporation Queensland today use the sheltered harbour and Bowen Jetty as the operational base for the tug boats
which service the important Bowen Basin and Abbot Coal loading terminal which lies to the north of Bowen.
Looking off the jetty, we saw several turtles
and a large mantaray
and stopped to watch the fishermen catching squid,
and avoiding their squirting ink

As we walked off the jetty, the sand seemed to be moving, as I looked closer there were hundreds of soldiers crabs,
marching along
this video shows their movements

Baz Luhrmann brought international and Australia acclaimed actors Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Brown and Bradon Walters to Bowen to create the classic movie Australia. Hundreds of locals also signed up to become cowboys, soldiers, servicemen and women, drivers and policemen during the six weeks of filming.
Filming in Bowen in 2007, each day hundreds of actors, crew and service personnel worked from early morning to late at night. Work started in earnest more than two months before the film crew arrived to transform the Bowen Front Beach and wharf area into Darwin of the 1940's.
Bowen streets were layered with hundreds of tonnes of specially mixed red gravel and existing buildings were retrofitted with period facades and signage.
New and prefabricated buildings were hastily put together and all signs of modern construction were removed.
The two storey Territory Hotel was the centrepiece of the large and detailed set which included a Police Station, the full size outdoor 'Pearl' theatre, Chinatown, a blacksmith and even a brothel.
Similarly to the real Darwin during WWII, when the 'bombing' commenced the set was also 'destroyed' with fires, craters, wrecked vehicles and buildings.
Once filming was completed, Bowen was returned to the 21st century over a four week period.

Riding up Flagstaff Hill, we stopped for a coffee,
before admiring the views over the ocean
and along the beaches
down to Rose Bay
along to Murrays Bay
Horseshoe Bay

and as we rode through the town, we noticed a stream of people walking out to a lighthouse island
Apparently, each year, at the lowest tide, people cross the shallow waters to picnic on the island

As Sea eagles sored overhead, we watch the rain clouds heading over from the directions we needed to be going
but it produced a beautiful rainbow for the journey hom
Heading back from Bowen, we rode passed numerous fields of sugar cane

and on towards Proserpine is a charming, typical Australian country town.
Here's a video of our adventure:

A great day, on a great bike!

Posted by charlystyles 13:18 Archived in Australia Tagged bowen Comments (0)

Whitsunday Magic - QLD


Just off the beach at Cannonvale, you can't help but notice this grand old lady, shipwrecked and lying on her side in the sand.

Below is an account from the local paper explaining her demise
Whitsunday Times 31st Jan 2013
Broken-hearted boat owners are picking up the pieces after ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald tore through the Whitsundays last week.
More than 20 boats were beached, sunk or totally destroyed as a result of the far-reaching storm system that started in the Gulf of Carpentaria and continued tracking south, leaving widespread damage to property and flooding in its wake.

Destructive winds and waves hit the Whitsundays in the early hours of Thursday morning when the carnage on the water started.

In Airlie Beach, a couple of boats hit the rocks beside the lagoon.

Whitsunday times 4th March 2013
The once-majestic tall ship Whitsunday Magic has come to an unsightly end off Cannonvale Beach.
The boat ran aground on January 24 when the Whitsunday region was hit by wild winds.
Bob Johnson, who was acting as caretaker on behalf of the vessel's Gold Coast-based owner, said for the first couple of weeks after the storm, Whitsunday Magic had managed to stay afloat.
"We did prepare to get it off but the red tape basically took too long and she lay on her side and filled with water," he said.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said Maritime Safety Queensland had been in discussions with the vessel's owner over the arrangements for the vessel's removal.
"Owners of damaged or sunken vessels are always responsible for the salvage or disposal of their vessels," the spokesperson said.
"[However], Maritime Safety Queensland understands not all owners are able to take immediate action and will work closely with them to help them meet their responsibilities."
Meanwhile, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan is warning locals and particularly children to stay away from the grounded boat.
"Maritime Safety Queensland is warning sightseers to keep a safe distance and rightly so," Mr Costigan said.
"It's pretty obvious that this vessel is on an uncertain angle and playing on or around the vessel could lead to someone being trapped inside or under the hull, if she were to move," he said.
Whitsunday Magic was once one of the region's premium overnight sailing boats. It originally sank while tied to a Shute Harbour jetty in August 2011. For the past few months it was moored in Pioneer Bay.
Courier Mail 28th December 2013
Almost a year later, the shipwreck remains lying askew off Airlie Beach and has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right while lawyers argue who is responsible for the $250,000 salvage bill.
It's not the first time the 34m ship has hit bottom. The Turkish-built charter boat sank in August 2011 while tied to a Shute Harbour jetty.
She was refurbished and sold to Gold Coast buyer Ian Robert Freeman but its second chance was short-lived.
Mr Freeman has tried to wash his hands of it, with his lawyers telling a Gold Coast court last week that he simply could not afford to move it.
Freeman recently fronted the Southport Magistrates Court after the Department of Transport charged him with failing to remove the ship without reasonable excuse, a crime under the Transport Operations Marine Safety Act that carries a maximum $20,000 fine.
Barrister Marcin Lasinski pleaded Freeman's case, alleging the costly shipwreck had come during troubled times for his client's Gold Coast scrap metal business Coastwide Metals.
He said Freeman had been left financially strapped and asked for a nominal fine of $1000.

After a year in the elements the once proud charter boat is a shell of its former self.
Tourists once paid more than $700 for a luxury three-night stay with air-conditioned rooms, a bar and access to scuba diving and coral reef trips in a smaller glass-bottomed boat.
These days they simply walk out to the wreck at low tide and pose for photos, though it's a pretty muddy beach to walk across!
With the dangers of poisonous cone snails to contend with!
Local hotel worker Sheena said it had become an attraction of a different kind.
"I don't mind it. It adds the view and photographers and tourists like it," she said.
Two years later, the ghostly ship is now covered in barnacles, and falling apart.

Posted by charlystyles 13:38 Archived in Australia Tagged whitsunday_magic Comments (0)

Airlie Beach - QLD

Next stop on my travels north was a destination I'd been waiting to get to, and had no plans onwards - Airlie Beach.

I was staying at Bush Village, Cabins, paying for my board and food by cleaning. I was welcomed into the role by Jude and Leandro (the current workawayer)
and Brian

Bush Village is in Cannonvale, about 2 miles out of Airlie Beach, with 17 cabins surrounded by beautiful gardens
and palm trees
It was great to have my own space to spread out and not live out of my bags
At night, the pathway was lit up,
with the moon shining down
and cockatoos visited regularily

On my first afternoon, Jude took us down the road to Shute Harbour
Serving mainly as a boarding point for ferries between the Whitsunday Islands and the mainland, it is also home to many charter boat operations.
It is second only to Sydney’s Circular Quay as the busiest commuter port in Australia and it has the largest seaplane airbase in the Southern hemisphere.
There are regular bus and taxi services available to and from the port which take the winding road through Conway National Park towards the harbour.
Shute Harbour takes its name from Shute Island, named after a crew member of HM Kangaroo.

Airlie Beach is the hub of the Whitsundays.
Vibrant and alive, Airlie Beach provides the base for fun and adventure.
with beautiful beaches
and beautiful views

Bicentennial Boardwalk goes from Port of Airlie right around to Cannonvale Beach.
The 3.7km long boardwalk winds along Airlie's beautiful coastline with magnificent views of the coral Sea, along mangroves and botanical gardens.
As I was staying in Cannonvale it was great to have such a beautiful walk in to town, and I did this almost every day.
along the way, it was interesting to see this shipwreck, or not, if the tide was in - the Venus-Portsmouth. The timber deckhouse of this steel-hulled motor-sailor broke up in front of a large crowd on the rock wall outside Sorrento's at Abel Point Marina during Cyclone Oswald in January 2013
and walking back in the moonlight was magical

Most mornings I went for a run to make the most of the cooler air, along the great Bicentennial Walkway.
Sometimes I was early enough to watch the sunrise, from Cannonvale
and along to Shingley Beach

The town centre has recently undergone a $23 million upgrade and the whole town feels fresh and alive.
Overlooked by a picture puzzle of houses
The Lagoon is a popular spot for sunbathing and cooling off safely
On saturdays and on days when cruise ships came to town, a small market popped up on the foreshore, along with other activities, such as camel riding!
and sand forming
another activity people enjoyed was skydiving

On the far side of Airlie Beach is the Port of Airlie an up and coming area of housing, cafes with a marina
with some blossoming Frangipani
Nearby is another beautiful beach, Boat Haven, only this one has the added attraction of a safe, fun swimming area for children

One afternoon I went for a walk to Airlie Creek.
The 850m track varied from an easy going grade of less than 5 degree slope to a gravel path up to 20 degrees. and all of it was uphill, in 27 degree heat!
Apparently it featured rare flora and fauna such as the Whitsunday Bottle tree and the endangered Prosperine Rock Wallaby, which are only found in that region. I did see a lace monitor and a turkey investigating each other!
and the beautiful nest of the green ants, held together with silk extracted from the larvae.
This was an impessive Strangler Fig tree
that dwarfed me
Apparently the path passes tranquil rock pools, magnificent fig trees and sub tropical plants. In reality, there hasn't been any significant rain for quite some time, so there wasn't any water in the creek, nevermind tranquil rock pools!
Still, it was fun to go rock climbing up the dry creek. Just a shame there were no views over the coast from that height due to the trees.

It's always good to see some of the local wildlife, such as these Black Ibis that I'd not seen before
and these Friar Birds, although pretty ugly, they contrasted well against the red Wheel of Fire flowers

Whitsunday Opals
One shop in town got my attention immediately and kept drawing me back - opals & didgeridoos. I've searched every jewellery and opal shop on my travels since buying an opal stone for my birthday back in March. As soon as I walked in and started talking, I knew I had found the place and the person to design and make my ring! Sunny - by name and nature
The shop had a large collection of original Australian didgeridoos and Aboriginal artwork.
I was invited to join in on a group didgeridoo lesson - which had me laughing
But I also learnt that in aboriginal art
there are some key symbols that have meaning,
and these could be used to put together a story to be painted on to your own didgeridoo

Sunny invited me to Tuesday Tea on the beach - where people got together to chill out and play music
It was great to be out, to meet people and sit and enjoy such a beautiful beach lit up at night
This fella made me laugh - he has the biggest beard and the smallest guitar
but there were several other guitars knowing around that people picked up and played, whether they were beginners or advance
Then there was a whole range of other percussion instruments that came out
and just before I left, I was serenaded, by Sunny who sang beautifully

But one of my favourite past times is to watch the sun set,
and it was great to see the water change colour over Abell Point Marina

When it came to leaving, we had the last supper, with Jude & Brian and Claus & Renata, a German couple staying at Bush Village that I had become friends with during my stay

even the Rosellas got to try the cheese and biscuits
much to the annoyance of the Cockatoos

Below is a collection of short clips from my time in Airlie Beach

Posted by charlystyles 14:31 Archived in Australia Tagged airlie_beach abell_point_marina whitsunday_opals Comments (0)

Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungella Natioanl Park - QLD


Eungella National Park is the main wilderness area on the central Queensland coast and encompasses some 50,000ha (125,000 acres) of the rugged Clarke Ranges.
Volcanic rock covered with rainforest and subtropical flora is cut by steep gorges, crystal clear pools and impressive waterfalls tumbling down the mountainside.
For hundreds of years people have been lured to this place of great richness and beauty.
Long before the spread of roads and towns, people from the Birri Gubba language group walked along creeks and rivers to access the riches if their traditional homeland descendants keep their heritage alive today.
Rising 1260m, Mt Dalrymple is a towering feature of this park among the highest peaks in Queensland. On their first attempt to climb Mt Dalrymple in July 1877, Henry S Finch-Hatton and his party found themselves on the wrong spur with insufficient provisions to continue.
Less than one year later, their failure was forgotten - Finch-Hatton, Frank Boyle and C.C.Rawson reached the summit. they wrote "Clouds lifted at 5pm and we saw about the finest sight it was ever my lot to witness. Magnificent panorama for about an hour, when clouds settled down and rain came again."
At a time when the area was being developed for farming, John Henry Williams and his sin Jack worked with Senator Ian Wood to secure 40,000ha of this area as Eungella National Park in 1941.

Araluen Cascades
After driving through fords,
just a few strides into the rainforest you feel a million miles from your car.
Cool, moist air will fill your lungs as the trees and smooth boulders close in around you. Lewin’s honey eaters call from high in the canopy and eastern yellow robins flit from low branches to the leaf litter.
You hear Araluen Cascades before you see them.

Continuing on from Araluen Falls, with creek views and crossings at every turn. we came to Callistemon Crossing where there used to be a bridge among the palms,
but now it's a challenge to rock hop across the river
past this large tree

and on up over 350 steps weaving through tall tulip oaks and red cedars.
to reach Wheel of Fire
In summer showy red flowers scatter along the track which have fallen from the firewheel trees above, giving the place it's name. however, in August we saw these beautiful fungus
and this heart shaped one
With the challenge of the stairs over, it’s great to enjoy the calm rock pools listening to whipbirds calling and noisy pitas rustling through the leaf litters.
The granite outcrops and boulders were once well below the surface.
The granite formed as a great molton body about 280 million years ago, when parts of the continental crust melted during a period of heating.
The heat arose as the great crustal plates beneath were compressed and then relaxed.
After cooling and solidifying some kilometres underground, the granite has been exposed over time as the older rock above has been weathered away.
The gorge is a result of a fracture in the rock, with the creek carving its way through this area of weakness.
Tucked away in creek-line crevices, the Eungella tinkerfrog and Eungella dayfrog live exclusively here. Both species are a rare sight, but we heard a tinkerfrog calling from the creek a s aseries of high-pitched metallic ‘tinks’

A great walk with a great person, Ning

Posted by charlystyles 13:12 Archived in Australia Tagged finhc_hatton_gorge wheel_of_fire_cascade araluen_cascades Comments (0)

Platypus at Eungella National Park - QLD

About a 45min drive north west of finch Hatton Gorge is Eungella National Park, so we went to explore one evening, up this windy road

Sky Window
Views across the Pioneer Valley to the steep, rugged northern wall. In May 1860, John Mackay travelled from the New England district through Nebo Shire to find and claim grazing land. At the head of the Pioneer Valley near Eungella, not far from this spot. He saw level country extending to the sea. Several small pastoral leases were soon established. In the late 1800s agriculture struggled following a cyclone and several drought. Settlers turned to mineral prospecting as an alternative source of income.
Just one km south of here, prospectors followed Charlie Armstrong’s pack horse track to reach the goldfields. Then in 1888 Kari Flor blazed a shorted, faster trail. While the mining boom lasted only until 1910, its legacy was long lasting – opening up undeveloped country, creating transport routes, employment and opportunities for migrants.
Looking across the expanse of the Pioneer Valley imagine it hundreds of years ago with a thick carpet of forest spread as far as the eye can see. From the early 1900s, dense forest was gradually felled with the expansion of two key industries – cane and dairy farming.
Extensive logging of red cedar began in 1904. The township of Eungella was founded with the first road up the range from the Pioneer Valley built in 1906.
The Wiri people of the Birri Gubba nation created pathways along creeks and rivers here in their traditional homeland. Later, prospectors and pastoralists used the same trails and blazed more with their packhorses to access this landscapes’ richness.

A definite highlight of my stay, and my trip around Australia was the rare opportunity to see Platypus - not one, but 5, within 20mins, along a newly refurbished boardwalk at Broken River
Imagine being the first European to see and describe strange ‘duck-face moles’ swimming beside hard-shelled reptiles in a river.
Rapid ripples and bubble trails are the distinctive signs of a platypus busily feeding.
Beneath each ripple platypus are hunting with their eyes, ears and nostrils shut. Tens of thousands of specialized receptors )called ‘push rods’) in the skin of their bill sense movements as far away as 15-20cm, registering the displacement of water caused by moving prey.
On the surface of their bill, sensory mucous glands called ‘electroreceptors’ detect electrical current from muscle contractions of prey – just a fraction earlier – allowing the platypus to judge the distance to its next meal.
When not in the water, platypus are most often found at rest in camping burrows throughout their home range. Burrows typically extend 1-4m but platypus have been known to dig burrows up to 20m long. Well hidden entrances allow platypus to enter and exit without being seen, but for extra insurance, nesting females will often plug their burrows with 30cm of dirt.
Webbing on the front feet folds back when on land, and sturdy claws prove handy digging tools. Tails are useful as in the water as on land, used top push around and tamp down soil.
Platypus store food in cheek pouches at the back of their jaw and resurface to eat. Rather than chewing, they mash food between rough plates that grow continuously inside their upper and lower bill to offset the wear and tear of grinding food.

  • Forage for 10-12hrs each day and consumes 15-80% of their body weight depending on the time of year


  • Diving and feeding for 30-60 seconds at a time.

Just to add to the challenge of spotting Platypus, the river is also home to these Turtles

Other local residents making the most of the last minutes of day light were the Bush Turkeys

Posted by charlystyles 13:34 Archived in Australia Tagged platypus eungella broken_river Comments (0)

Flying Fox, working in Finch Hatton Gorge - QLD


Suspended 25m above the forest floor, in the middle of Finch Hatton Gorge is a Flying Fox - a high wire!
My job was to settle people into heir harness, and hook them on to the wire at the top

They then descended the two wires, the first 230m long, to a platform and on along another 110m to the finish, where Ning or I would un-hook them

To get an idea of this unique experience, have a look at my video here

The office was a few meters walk from the house, and a pretty special place to work from
all built by Dave
complete with resident skink
As people arrived, we would give them the gear the needed, harness, gloves a pully and a break and Dave would demonstrate and give them chance to have a go before walking up (75 steps plus) to the top of the wire
Dave would set off first, ready to meet them at the platofm
and send them on to the end platform by the counter weight

Every morning Ning and I would walk the entrance
and then go down the wire,
scaring the bats to move on to other trees - and the best way to scare big fruit bats - snap branches!!
It was nice to get down to a welcome party of Lucky and Tyke!

Some mornings there was a beautiful mist over the hills at the top of the wire

The difference with this flying Fox (high wire) to many others is that you are given a break, so you can go at your own pace, stop and have a good look around, not only at the scenery in the tree top, but at the bats, which can settle pretty close to the wire

Flying-foxes (also known as Fruit Bats) are the largest bats in the world, and they’re quite different from the microbats.
They use night visions instead of echolocation to navigate, they feed on fruit and blossoms rather than insects, and they roost in large groups called camps, hanging in tree branches rather than in caves or tree hollows.
They have excellent vision.
There are about 60 species of Flying-foxes world-wide, found primarily in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
Australia has four species of flying-fox, all of which are protected species.
Flying foxes travel up to 50km to find food.
Though it seemed we weren't the only ones to enjoy the fresh oranges off the tree...
Most camps are found at low elevations, on flat land or moderate slopes and near waterways
There are only 3 species of vampire bats and they only occur in Central and South America.
Despite myths, bats are clean animals that groom themselves regularly.
Although some bats do naturally carry diseases, the vast majority of bats are not likely to harbour a disease.

Posted by charlystyles 13:26 Archived in Australia Tagged flying_fox fruit_bats finch_hatton_gorge Comments (0)

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