Laura and Quinkan Country

Perhaps I was a little misleading (or hasty), or confused when I said I’d put The Greenbus on hold.
What I should have said is, “There will be no more sad here. Only the fun stuff the ‘we’ would have been still exploring and posting about together.” It will be a nice place ๐Ÿ™‚
Brad’s Blog will take the weight off this place.

And so…

Tina had a deep love and respect for, and a keen interest in Aboriginal culture and history. Her art was influenced by the mysteries of The Dreaming. One of her favourite non-fiction references was ‘The Archeology of The Dreamtime which compares Dreamtime stories of different country with the archeological evidence of the past. This review give a good overview of the theories put forward.
One of the many areas on our ‘To Do’ list, was to spend some time in Quinkan country.

Laura, the commercial hub of the Quinkan country is only 140km (87m) from Cooktown. For a village with a population of roughly 120 people, Laura contains, and as a community, protects over 30 thousand years of Traditional history, and some 140 years of European settlement.
Laura township was an important link in the Gold trail back in the 1800’s, but more importantly, the country has been a part of the Ang-Gnarra peoples’ culture for thousands of years, and is one of the top ten most culturally significant rock art sites in the world.
Laura also plays host to one of the longest running indigenous festivals in Australia. The Laura Dance Festival is held at the Ang-Gnarra festival grounds, about 15 kilometres from Laura. Every two years, community members and dance troupes from as far away as Woorabinda gather in a celebration and education of dance, culture & history. The festival is also world famous, and attracts tourists from all over the planet.
I’ll give you a list of easy links to more information about Quinkan Country at the end of this post.
Last week, I had the chance to absorb just a miniscule sample of this history. As the year progresses, I will spend more time up in Ang-Gnarra country. For now, here is a small sample of this areas history and beauty.
*Note:* In respect of Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation, no images of rock art galleries were taken. In future visits, I will ask if I can capture some images for you. In the meantime, the links below have many authorised images of the galleries.

Images around Laura:

image

If you head to Laura anytime after this years dry season, you’ll be crossing this bridge on the Peninsula Development Road over the Laura River. This bridge, and a couple of kilometres of dirt are all that is left of the road works between Lakeland and Laura. The original wooden crossing of which I promise a photo of soon,
*EDIT*: Borrowed from an ABC journo’s blog. A future edit will provide links.
image

is very, very old & is impassable for most of the wet season. It regularly has metres of water over it.

image

The T-junction at Laura. Turn left for Cooktown & South. Turn right to head ‘Up The Cape’.

image

All that remains of the old Laura railway station. If you’re into railway history, the Cooktown to Laura line is worth researching.

image

Once located at a Police outstation some 24km from Laura, this tiny ‘lock-up’ is now on display at the Laura memorial park. Part of the display reads, ‘…18 natives were once locked in here together…’

image

This steam tractor was transported by rail to Laura, intended for use on the goldfields. Upon unloading, it was found to have a broken front axle and was left in town to decay.

image

The heath country near the ‘Split Rock’ art site. At this time of year, many native shrubs are flowering.

image

image

image

image

image

image

An assortment of colour on a rainy afternoon.

image

image

image

image

Some of the wild features of this Quinkan Country.

image

Advertisements

Hanging Out in Crocodile Country

This weekend JJ, Charline, Tina and I camped down by the Annan River. The saltwater end. This is crocodile country.

We spent Friday night at Dragons lair again. Good company, good conversation, and the last of the LOTR trilogy showing on the dvd. We ate like kings. Tina cooked up a big potato bake and I fried up chunks of lightly floured Red Emporer that one of the boys had caught earlier in the day.
I fell asleep on the floor at some stage, so Tina rolled out the swag next to the car in the back yard and woke me up to put me to bed.

We were parked half under a huge, potentially hundred and thirty year old mango tree that is in early stages of fruiting. Now, it’s been blowing 30 odd knots these past few days, and last night was no exception. The fruit on the tree ranges from about grape size to about pear size, and we kept getting woken by mangos hitting the roof of Jimy the 4wd. I kept thinking about how much they’d hurt if we were in range…ouch.
At around 3am, a one of the housemates came home with her friend. We ended up sitting inside for a while. Well, Tina went inside first and yarned with the girls for an hour. I stayed under the blanket watching stars and dozed off again. I was woken by the loud crunching of dog food about 2 metres away. As I turned my head, something shot off around the back of the house. I didn’t see what it was, but later I was told it was the native quoll that resides in the bush immediately behind the house.
We ended up back in bed half an hour before dawn.
We hit the markets at about 8:30am and the place was jumping. People everywhere!
We picked up a couple of those somewhat famous home made pies for breakfast. Then we bought half a dozen avocados for $5. Ten passionfruit for $2, and a paw paw for $2. Nomm Nomm!

Now it’s 11:30am Saturday, and we’re waiting by the banks of the Annan. JJ and Charline should be here soon.

JJ and C arrived and had a story to tell. They’d popped into the local camping shop to buy an airbed & pump, and to partake in the free sausage sizzle.
They left as winners of the lucky docket prize. A $200 rod and reel combo, a 25 litre icekool esky, a camp chair and a fully kitted tackle box.

JJ and I went on a firewood run and he took me on a little tour. As we drove along the track, he said, “I’ll show you Crocodile bend. I hope the croc is there.”
We saw the croc as we drove to the edge of the river. The Northern side where we were was a good ten metre vertical drop. Across the river was a small sandy point, created by a hairpin bend in the Annan.
The saltie in the photos is between two and a half and three metres long. It’s tail was Black, contrasting with the pale clay colouring of its body. The crocs body is the colour of the ground we’re camped on.

We made up a casserole of beef, spuds, sweet potato, onion,celery, tomato, zucchini, garlic and spices. After simmering for a few hours, the beef was falling apart and the flavours had mingled into a beautiful meal.

It’s around eight in the evening and we can hear unidentified fish jumping in the river. The birdlife has settled after the sunset choruses.

The dogs are all dozing and the campfire is casting gold into the trees. Crickets and the constant sou’ east trade winds blowing through the canopy are the only sounds other than the occasional night bird. We’re ten minutes from town, but may as well be a thousand kilometres from anywhere. Occasionally the wind creates wavelets on the river that tinkle against the river bank. We’re camped relatively close to the bank, given that this is full on croc country. Ten metres, five dogs and a nice campfire is good defence. We’re sleeping in back of Jimmy as usual. JJ and C are on their air mattress next to the fire with two dogs on watch.
10:00pm Saturday.
The moon is near to setting, casting a silver grey sheen on the river’s rippled surface.
The sound of a truck crossing the Big Annan Bridge echos from a kilometre downstream.

Five minutes later, just as Tuna and C were nearly asleep, three of the dogs went off their nuts at something in the bush up the rise. Nothing could be seen though. Probably a wallaby or pig on the high ground.

Sunday 02:00(am)
We were woken by the sound of light rain. I covered our stuff with the swagger canvas. Charline woke up, then JJ. I grabbed our large awning tarp from the roof of the car and they covered themselves and their queen sized airbed.

Then the rain stopped.

06:30
Got the fire restarted from the coals. It was obviously a good hot fire because the rain didn’t put it out.
Hot Coffeeeee!

Tina is still eating well ๐Ÿ˜‰ . The stitches are slowly disappearing too. Tina still gets a bit confused, but mainly when she is tired or just waking up. Recalling names of things is still hard for her at times. But she is happy and loving life ๐Ÿ™‚
Tina has had weetbix, a tomato, a passionfruit and half a tin of Irish stew and some bread so far for breakfast. I think I might keep a record for her so she can read back over it later. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We drove to crocodile bend to see if croc was on the sand bar, but no luck this morning. We did discover reception here though, so you might get this post early.
Thanks for the Fathers Day wishes too ๐Ÿ™‚

Charline and JJ headed into town and came back around 1pm. It was shishkebab time!

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image