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Monthly Archives: December 2011

MUSGRAVE ROAD HOUSE – CAPE YORK PENINSULA

MUSGRAVE ROADHOUSE

THE DRIVE FROM CAIRNS TO THE TIP OF CAPE YORK IS ABOUT 1000 KILOMETRES. AT ROUGHLY THE HALF-WAY POINT, YOU’LL FIND THE HISTORIC MUSGRAVE ROAD HOUSE.

It’s about half-way between Laura & Coen, not far from Princess Charlotte Bay, a few hours drive to Pormpuraaw. There’s fuel, food, somewhere to stay, and stories of life on Cape York Peninsula now and way back in the old days.

MUSGRAVE MAP

Musgrave was built in 1887, one of the repeater stations on the Overland Telegraph line. The line ran through stations at Palmerville, Fairview, Coen, Mein, Moreton, McDonnell and Paterson. Musgrave was named after the then Queensland Governor.One of the last original poles that supported the Telegraph line still stands near the phone box outside the Musgrave road house.

It’s been welcoming travellers for over 100 years. They used to come by wagon and on horse-back. These days people drive the Cape York road in air-conditioned comfort, and some arrive by plane, landing at the road house air-strip.

Things have slowed down since the wet season got going this month, but back during the dry, Musgrave had an occupancy rate the envy of hoteliers everywhere — upwards of 90%.

John McDowall puts that down to old-fashioned good value accomodation and the district’s many natural delights. Click the audio player to meet John.

Read more about Musgrave Road House at http://www.musgraveroadhouse.com.au/

And you can visit another telegraph line station, Moreton, at http://www.moretonstation.com.au/index.html

or https://rdontheroad.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/moreton-telegraph-station-long-before-radio-there-was-cable-and-morse-code/

MUSGRAVE ROADHOUSE CAPE YORK ROAD

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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Cape York Peninsula, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, transport & roads, tropical weather & climate

 

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PORTLAND ROADS – ONE OF FNQ’s BEST KEPT SECRETS

LOOKING OUT TO SEA FROM PORTLAND ROADS FNQ

PORTLAND ROADS IS PROBABLY THE SMALLEST COMMUNITY I’VE EVER VISITED. AND ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL. OUR ABC CREW OF THREE SWELLED THE POPULATION INTO DOUBLE FIGURES. USUALLY, IT’S LESS THAN TEN. BUT PORTLAND ROADS HAS ITS OWN CAFE.

Now this is not a short drive for a quick coffee. It’s about half an hour from Lockhart River, and that’s 800 kilometres from Cairns on some bone-jarring roads. But the last stretch to Portland Roads is gentler and takes you through some beautiful country.

The place takes its name from the old maritime term “roadstead” or “roads” – a place where boats could safely shelter, and the Portland probably refers to one of a line of British earls going back to the time of Captain Cook.

You can walk around the Portland Roads community in a few minutes, but the surrounding country invites your slow exploration. And there’s plenty of FNQ history to be absorbed here. Indigenous stories of old times, the early European maritime explorers, the ill-fated Kennedy expedition of the 1840s, the gold rush, and tales of more recent times. It’s all around you here – you can hear the stories whispering through the frangipani and palm trees on the south-east breeze coming in off the Coral Sea..

KENNEDY MONUMENT PORTLAND ROADS

And you can get a coffee too.There’s also some good tourist accomodation, fishing, and very friendly locals.

So how does a place with less than ten residents manage to sustain a cafe? GREG WESTCOTT runs Out Of The Blue Cafe. Click on the audio player to meet Greg.

.Greg has been actively campaigning to increase opportunities for tourism to Portland Roads. He’s been here 17 years and is looking forward to welcoming you one day.

Type Portland Roads into your search engine and you’ll find links to visitor accomodation in the area. There’s also good camping in the area, including the stunning Chili Beach. And I found a good blog of life in Portland Roads at http://www.capeyorkblog.com/tag/portland-roads/

PORTLAND ROADS CAPE YORK PENINSULA

YOUR RIDE BACK TO LOCKHART RIVER

PORTLAND ROADS IN THE 1950s

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Cape York Peninsula, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, tourism, tropical weather & climate

 

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COLIN TROYAHN – A PASSION FOR INDIGENOUS EDUCATION

SETTING UP A RADIO BROADCAST FROM A REMOTE LOCATION IS A GIANT LEAP OF FAITH. YOU WON’T KNOW FOR SURE IF THE LINK WILL WORK UNTIL MINUTES BEFORE AIR TIME. WILL PEOPLE TURN UP TO SPEAK ON THE RADIO? WILL A THUNDERSTORM KNOCK THE POWER OUT AND LEAVE YOU SITTING SILENTLY IN THE RAIN?

LOCKHART RIVER STATE SCHOOL DANCE TROUPE (courtesy Gondwananet)

The best you can do is hope for the best and contact local people long before you get there to ask for their advice and support. When we took our show on the road on Cape York Peninsula in October 2011, we were blown away by the kindness and encouragement the locals gave us.

Like Colin Troyhan, the principal at the Lockhart River State School.Colin had heard we were stuck for somewhere to stay after our broadcast at Lockhart, and organised a spot for us in a vacant teacher house.

Colin has been principal for almost two years, leading a team of 20 staff and about 100 students in this remote indigenous community 800 kilometres from Cairns.

When Colin arrived in Lockhart, he saw a real need for the school to reconnect with the community. He drew on local knowledge, and school attendance has increased from 72 % to somewhere in the mid 80s. He’s clearly very popular with his students, something he ascribes to their thirst for learning.

While he’s relatively knew to Lockhart River, Colin’s passion for indigenous education goes back at least a decade. Click on the audio player below to meet COLIN TROYHAN.

ON AIR FROM THE LOCKHART RIVER LIBRARY OCTOBER 2011

For the record, our broadcast from Lockhart River went without a hitch. We slept well that night in the teacher house, and had a visit from a lively horse very keen on some mangoes that had fallen from a tree in the yard.

Lockhart is a small community surrounded by beautiful country. Lovely stretches of coast, the stunning Iron Range National Park, the challenging water crossing on Frenchman’s Track, and the amazing Portland Roads, of which you can read in my next post.

C 1 CASSOWARY & AUSSIE BOB SETTING UP THE BROADCAST AT LOCKHART RIVER

For those with a technical curiosity, we get our radio signal out via a small but expensive mojo box. It connects to the mobile phone network via 3G, converts our voices into data and sends that via the Internet back to Cairns. Another mojo box there decodes the data, turns it back into voice and sends it out on the ABC Far North radio network.

Read more about the Lockhart River State School at http://lockhartss.eq.edu.au/wcms/ or http://www.lockhart.qld.gov.au/schools

For more on Lockhart River, http://www.lockhart.qld.gov.au

IRON RANGE AIRPORT LOCKHART RIVER

Map courtesy of Queensland Tourism

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Aboriginal, Cape York Peninsula, community, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, indigenous

 

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LOCKHART RIVER – CLOSING THE GAP – Dr CHARLES ELLIS

I’ve lost count of how many times I heard politicians utter the phrase “closing the gap” over the past year. The “gap” is the vast difference in health and life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

The statistics are frightening. If you’re an indigenous Australian, chances are your life will be up to 20 years shorter than a non-indigenous Australian. And during that life-time, you’re much more likely to experience poor health and chronic illness.There are many complex reasons this health gap exists. One of them is that many indigenous folk live in remote communities, far away from the health care facilities we take for granted in cities and larger towns.

And so our governments talk of policies and measures to “close the gap”. Depending who you’re listening to, the words sometimes sound like a call to arms, at other times like a tired old slogan.And inevitably, political parties disagree on strategies and priorities. Rhetoric and political squabbling can make it hard to identify the challenges and assess our progress toward closing that awful gap.

So it was refreshing to have the chance to meet someone who spends his working days closing the gap, and to get some real insight into how it’s being done and what more is needed. DR CHARLES ELLIS has been working at the LOCKHART RIVER PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CENTRE since 2003.

Map courtesy of Lockhart R Aboriginal Shire Council

Lockhart River is an indegenous community on eastern Cape York, 800 kilometres from the nearest major hospital in Cairns. The Health Care Centre has 24 hour accident and emergency services, and provides health care and promotion services in conjunction with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Apunipima Cape York Health Council.

It’s a modern well-equipped facility, but it is a long way from large hospitals and specialists.That puts Charles Ellis and his team on a challenging medical front-line.Click on the audio player to meet Dr Charles Ellis.

Lockhart Health Centre team (pic courtesy Rain Magazine)

For more info on the Centre go to

http://www.healthier.qld.gov.au/health-service/lockhart-river-primary-health-care-centre

or http://www.lockhart.qld.gov.au/health-centre

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Aboriginal, Cape York Peninsula, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, health, indigenous

 

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ARCHER RIVER ROADHOUSE – ON THE TRAIL OF A CAPE YORK LEGEND

ROAD TRAVEL ON CAPE YORK PENINSULA CAN BE A CHALLENGE, WHAT WITH THE CORRUGATED ROADS, THE SOMETIMES HAIRY WATER CROSSINGS, AND THE CHANCE OF A SUDDEN CHANGE IN THE WEATHER LEAVING YOU STRANDED.

But it’s worth all of that and more to see this wonderful area at ground level, to get well off the beaten track and share the adventure with your fellow travellers. Along the Cape York Road, there are regular opportunities to pull up and have a yarn with other folk making the journey. This is one of the real pleasures of Cape York travel, meeting people who share your enthusiasm for the journey and sharing your road stories.

HAVING A YARN AT ARCHER RIVER ROADHOUSE

So here we are in October 2011 at the Archer River Roadhouse. About 200km from Weipa, somewhere to buy fuel, stay the night, or eat one of its famous burgers. Pulling in to the clearing out the front of the roadhouse, I felt like we had just arrived at an oasis.

ARCHER RIVER ROADHOUSE

It’s a great spot. We met Ted and Judy having smoko at the roadhouse and got yarning with them. They were guiding a couple of overseas visitors up the Cape, something Ted has done many times before. My ears pricked up when Ted told us he had met one of the legends of Cape York Peninsula, Toots Holzheimer.

CLICK ON THE AUDIO PLAYER TO MEET TED AND JUDY AT ARCHER RIVER

Ted mentioned Toots Holzheimer, a pioneer in so many ways. Toots drove trucks on Cape York for about 30 years from the early 60s. She was a mother of eight kids, delivered freight in all kinds of weather, building and renewing roads and bridges with her husband Ron. In those days, this was man’s work, but Toots did it every bit as well as the blokes, loading and unloading by hand.

Her work helped keep remote Cape communities viable, and she earned a legendary status in remote Australia. Toots’ exploits also encouraged people to hit the road for themselves and explore the Peninsula.

Her story is wonderfully told in a biography published in mid-2011, written by one of her daughters, Donna Vawdrey. The book is “Toots – A Woman in a Man’s World”.

Click here to listen to Donna speaking to ABC Radio’s Steve Austin.

http://blogs.abc.net.au/queensland/2011/06/toots-holzheimer-woman-in-a-mans-world-donna-vawdrey.html

Sadly Toots Holzheimer is no longer with us, but her story is central to the recent history of Cape York Peninsula. Follow this link for details about Donna Vawdrey and how to buy her book.

http://www.toots-thebook.com.au/author.html

REMEMBERING RUSS HINZE. ARCHER RIVER ROADHOUSE

CYCLONE MONICA CAME THROUGH ARCHER RIVER 2006

House rules Archer River roadhouse CYP

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Cape York Peninsula, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, transport & roads

 

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CAIRNS REGIONAL GALLERY – TWO GOOD REASONS TO VISIT

Here are two more good reasons to visit the Cairns Regional Gallery, apart from the joy of getting out of the heat and enjoying its air conditioning.

There are two exhibitions running now that are well worth a look. The annual POST-CARDS exhibition is the gallery’s major fund-raiser. Until this Sunday, December 11, you have the chance to bid on post-card sized works by well known local and national artists. The proceeds help keep the Gallery going. Bidding closes on Sunday afternoon.

CLICK THE AUDIO PLAYER TO HEAR THE GALLERY’S TRICIA DAVEY SHOW YOU ROUND THE POST-CARDS EXHIBITION

POST CARD BY BRIAN ROBINSON

WHODUNNIT? THE MYSTERY POSTCARD

And there’s the mystery post-card. Guess who created it. A well known artist, an Archibald Prize winner. More clues at the Gallery. Register your guess at the Gallery and you could win a free annual membership.

There’s also the annual TAFE Mainstream Visual Arts Student Exhibition, running until January 8.

It’s a chance to see works by artists who may be big names in the future, and the artists learn the secrets of getting their works out to the art-loving public.

CLICK THE AUDIO PLAYER TO HEAR TRICIA DAVEY TALK ABOUT THE TAFE EXHIBITION.

Kayoko Crop TAFE EXHIBITION CAIRNS REGIONAL GALLERY

Visit Cairns Regional Gallery on-line at http://www.cairnsregionalgallery.com.au

And here’s a little P.S. Years ago, I got my first and only moment as an exhibiting artist. It was in the Post-Cards exhibition. My then boss Anna-Lise Murch and I created this treasure. It still lives at the ABC in Cairns, if you want to have a look.

GECKO - ANNA-LISE MURCH & RICHARD DINNEN

 





 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in arts & culture, Cairns Queensland, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland

 

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COEN CAPE YORK PENINSULA – I LEARNED A LOT THAT DAY

Map courtesy of Queensland Tourism

One of the best things about working in radio is that I’m always learning. I spend my days asking questions, so I live in a constant flow of information, ideas and stories. It’s a great place to be, and I really enjoy sharing it with my radio listeners and with you on my blog.

I learn something new every day,some days I learn a lot. Like the day in October 2011 I did my afternoon radio show from Coen, on Cape York Peninsula.

I learned how to deal with the unusual situation of having a large bull stampede through our broadcast point, on the front verandah of the Homestead Guest House (see the November archive on this blog for that story).

And I learned about the town’s history, starting as a fort during the gold rush days in the 1870s.How small remote communities deal with the inevitable isolation of the wet season. How you make a living in a small town with a population of just a few hundred. How you manage one of the nation’s biggest local government districts. How to run a school. How to muster cattle from a helicopter. And how to drive safely on the dusty, bumpy, corrugated Cape York roads.

CLICK THE AUDIO PLAYERS TO HEAR THE PEOPLE OF COEN TALK ABOUT LIFE IN THEIR TOWN

PETER AND SOME OF GAIL

PETER & GAIL CLARK WEAR MANY HATS IN COEN

NEVILLE MULLEY RUNS COEN’S ONLY CAFE, OWNS AN ANT-BED OVEN & DRIVES FOR THE RACQ

JO ROSS IS PRINCIPAL OF COEN STATE SCHOOL

PETER SCOTT IS THE MAYOR OF COOK SHIRE, WHICH COVERS 80% OF CAPE YORK.

A HELICOPTER LANDED NEXT TO US WHILE WE WERE ON AIR. PILOT JACK HAD JUST FLOWN IN FROM MAREEBA TO DO A BIT OF CATTLE MUSTERING

FLIGHTLESS BIRD C 1 & PHIL TRY OUT JACK'S R 22

COEN MINING MUSEUM

ON THE ROAD TO COEN CYP

Read about Cook Shire at www.cook.qld.gov.au/

The Homestead Guest House at

http://www.coenguesthouse.com.au/

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Cape York Peninsula, community, EFFINCUE, far north Queensland, indigenous, transport & roads, tropical weather & climate

 

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