On a windy Saturday morning in October 2011, three blokes and a cassowary earned themselves a small entry in the Australian radio history book. Phil Staley, Aussie Bob Apolloni, C 1 Cassowary & me made the first live radio broadcast from the tip of Cape York Peninsula.
Now I know it’s not up there with the first moon landing or Hillary and Tenzing’s climb to the top of Everest. But it’s a good feeling to have done something that’s a first, to have stretched the technology to take our ABC listeners somewhere truly special..
We had thought we’d have to hump six big bags of broadcast gear up over the rocks to the Tip. Or worse, a satellite dish. But in the end we did it on an I-Phone, using an app that turns voice into data, sends it via 3G over the Internet back to our radio station in Cairns.
So there we were, looking out at Torres Strait and describing the magnificent view on Sharon Molloy’s breakfast program on ABC Far North.
AUDIO: LISTEN TO OUR RADIO BROADCAST FROM THE TIP OF CAPE YORK PENINSULA
This was the last of a week-long series of live radio shows from Cape York communities. Laura, Coen, Lockhart River, New Mapoon, all of them firsts for the ABC. We had no way of knowing if we could broadcast from the Tip till we got there, so it was a magical feeling to reach our destination and get our signal out.
But this was always about the journey, rather than the destination. And it was a challenging, magical trip. Fortune smiled on us all the way. And a lot of very kind people gave us help, advice and encouragement.
A road trip through Cape York Peninsula should be on your must do list. It’s not easy, or cheap, but you’ll remember it all your days as one of the best things you ever did.
The local indigenous name for the Tip is Pajinka. The nearest town is Bamaga, in the Northern Peninsula Area. It’s about 40km by road to the Tip, and the dirt road is pretty good, especially after the bone-rattling stretches further south. Watch out for wild pigs, and scrub turkeys inclined to play chicken with passing cars. Along the way you’ll see the Croc Tent, run by a friendly couple who sell souvenirs and love a chat.
When you get to the end of the road, you climb up over the rocks, following the white paint markers that lead you over the hill and down to the very northern tip of mainland Australia. You don’t need to be an athlete to do the walk. Take water and take your time. The view is more than worth the sweat you’ll work up.