Interrupted Journey – North Queensland 2022 – Part 5

Dinosaurs and Brolga

A gliding Black Kite.

All along the highway from about Blackall, roadkill was attended by birds that I thought were a type of Kite and black Crows. Once I got a photo, I was able to identify them as Black Kites. Their appearance and behaviour, such as their swooping flight and that they were in flocks. I posted about Plumed Whistling Ducks and Crested Pigeons in the previous post. So that’s it for Birds at Longreach.

We departed Longreach early to reach Winton in good time as we had a drive of about two and a half hours after Winton, to reach our overnight stop at Hughenden.

Australian Age of Dinosaurs layout. Entrance road is in the lower left hand corner.
The Dinosaur footprints, recovered from swamp country and reinstalled in a temperature controlled building for display and preservation.

The location of The Australian Age of Dinosaurs is on the Longreach side of Winton, so that helped. Part of the success of this attraction is the brilliant sighting on top of a jump up. The top is quite flat, probably a couple of hundred metres above the grassy plains of the grazing area. Huge rocks have broken away around the edge and moved a short distance to where they have become stable. All of the buildings are on the plateau, but some displays have been built on and among those huge rocks around the plateau rim.

March of the Titanosaurs Building where the footprints are displayed.

We arrived about an hour ahead of our tour and presented ourselves at reception. We were given an earlier tour start. The session required a short trip on a shuttle to the Dinosaur Canyon Outpost. This part is relatively new. It is in a large fully enclosed building into which has been moved a large area of fossilised rock that was found in the lower country. It is part of an ancient swamp where Dinosaur footprints of various sizes have been frozen in time. The guide points out some differences between the footprints and what it is thought the creatures were doing at the time.

A board walk extends to the Dinosaur Canyon Walk.
A diorama of Dinosaurs in stampede mode.
Tumbled boulders at the edge of the Jump Up.

The displays that have been built among the rocks on the side of the jump up, are in this area.

About 50 km away on the Jundah Road south of Winton is the site of the dinosaur stampede. We saw it years ago and found it to be most interesting but inconvenient to get to, because of the condition of the road. So to have this display of similar footprints so easily accessible is a great convenience.

Digs, recovery of fossils and storage of fossils awaiting processing.

The next part of the tour required a drive or walk of about 500 metres to the laboratory, where the fossils are prepared for display or further research. We were taken through the detail if how digs for fossils are conducted and the fossils secured and brought back for further processing so that the item can be positively identified. Finally we watched as the workers used a variety of tools to remove foreign material without causing damage to the fossil.

Work in progress
Two volunteers working to on fossils.
Recovered and restored fossils.

Finally, we returned to the museum at the main building for a presentation of how the finished fossils are used to recreate the original creature, or part of a creature, using genuine parts or parts fabricated to replace the missing bit. These are displayed as models, a leg for example, and in photographs or sketches. There is an interesting display of parts that don’t fit with anything else but are genuine.

More recovered and processed fossils.
An example of the use of fossilised parts to recreate a body part,

Since the café is in the same building as the museum, we had coffee and a sandwich and drove into Winton for a petrol refill at $2.02 per litre. But that now seems cheap compared to $2.15 that I saw on a pump at Redcliffe yesterday.

A view from the museum grounds of a distant jump up. Part of Winton about centre left, just below the skyline. The flat topped mountains are a feature of this part of Queensland.
A typical small jump up or mesa in the area.
Corfield Hotel, currently closed.

The drive to Hughenden is on sealed road except for the first 15 km that is currently a dirt side track running parallel with an almost completed new road. We stopped at the tiny town of Corfield for a break. This “town” boasted a pub and racetrack. The pub is now permanently closed but I am not sure about the racetrack. They used to conduct a “Corfield Cup” but a lot of those country events were cancelled during the Covid epidemic and have not restarted.

 There are no real towns along this road, just one other notable locality, Stamford that has a school.

Brolga near Hughenden
Rainbow Lorikeets on our door step at Hughenden.

About 30 km short of Hughenden, we came across a group of Brolga. The Brolga were in a paddock about 30 km south of our destination. I was separated from the Brolgas by a 4 strand well maintained barbed wire fence, when I took some photos. They kept moving away until I reached the fence. Then they turned around and looked at me. I wonder if they knew that I could not get through the fence.

On our arrival at the caravan park in Hughenden, our doorstep was taken up by Rainbow Lorikeets being fed by a resident. Most flew away but some stayed to see if there was more food on offer.

The area at the summit of Mt Walker. All lookouts are joined to the central area by gravel paths.
Lookout to the Southeast.

About 10 km south of Hughenden is Mount Walker, named in memory of the leader of an expedition to find Bourke & Wills. It is about 450 metres above sea level but stands well above the surrounding terrain. It is part of two adjoining stations, the owners of which combined with the local council to install a road and visitor facilities. There are about six lookouts that face in all directions, each one providing panoramic views. We made it our first call of the morning, before heading east.

View to the Northeast. The road to Hughenden can be seen below.
Tables and seats are scattered around the area.
White Mountain National Park near Torrens Creek

There are only small towns on this stretch of road, until we reached Charters Towers with its approximately 9,000 population. We did coffee at Torrens Creek and experienced the “excitement” of a 60-truck fertiliser train passing through.

Memorial to the Completion of the Sealing of the Hervey Range Road.

A geological feature of some note, the White Mountain National Park, is a further 30 km. You need a 4WD to get into the park but some of its signature white stone is visible from a rest stop by the highway.

We continued amid little traffic to Charters Towers, where we arrived at about 1 pm. It was pleasing to see petrol at around $1.70 per litre.

After a restful afternoon and evening, we left next morning for Townsville and the ferry terminal, but went the long way. We drove north-west on the Gregory Highway until we reached a place called Basalt, where we turned east into the Hervey Range Road. We stopped to see a memorial to the completion of sealing the road. Hervey Range Road is part of the network of “beef roads” that criss-cross Northwest Queensland. This one takes beef to the processing works at Townsville.

The Burdekin River upstream of the Hervey Range Road Crossing.
The Hervey Range Tea House without customers. A very present place to stop for a break, Wednesday to Sunday.
Ah! The Tropics! Beach goers relaxing on Townsville Beach.

We then crossed the Burdekin River and stopped at the Hervey Range Tea House. The day was Monday, and this is a weekend drive location for Townsville residents. The tea house is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but we knew that. There were no coffee stops available until we reached the suburbs of Townsville. Topped up with coffee and with some time to fil in before the departure of the ferry, we found a parking space in The Esplanade where we were able to see Magnetic Island and enjoy the beach, fresh air and sunshine. We caught our ferry with time to spare,

Magnetic Island from Townsville beach.

You have read the book – now see the movie : Cape York 2015

After we return from each of our extended tours I go through our images and videos and combine them into a video, or in some cases into a series of videos. When we did the Big Lap in 2009 the material took up almost all of 4 DVDs.

Normally I have produced one long story for each trip which has not been easy to break into sections. But for the Cape York trip last year I complied twelve shorter videos, which when combined, ran for almost an hour.

I have put links to some small video clips in various blog posts covering the Cape York trip so I thought I may as well break the longer production into manageable portions and load them to You Tube, to make the material more easily accessible to my blog readers.

The end result is six videos, each of a bit less than.ten minutes duration. Here is a summary of the videos and the link to each.

Cape York Adventure 2015 – Part 1. Covers from home to Airlie Beach and a day cruise through the Whitsunday Passage to Whitehaven Beach.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Gb-xM_mio00[/youtube]

Cape York Adventure 2015 – Part 2. This video tells of the section from Airlie Beach to Weipa and our explorations around Weipa

[youtube]https://youtu.be/s3l03Rt5bdc[/youtube]

Cape York Adventure 2015 – Part 3. You will see much of what we saw as we travelled from Weipa to Punsand Bay, our visit to The Tip and our trips around Bamaga and Seisia

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Q693fD5CiFo[/youtube]

Cape York Adventure 2015 – Part 4. This covers two separate day trips to Thursday and Horne Islands. The material is combined into one story.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/1G168MSeuik[/youtube]

Cape York Adventure 2015 – Part 5. Join us as we travel down the East Coast of Far North Queensland from Seisia to Cairns and then visit Cairns city and the rain forest areas of Daintree and Cape Tribulation

[youtube]https://youtu.be/LrKySa1q42w[/youtube]

Cape York Adventure 2016 – Part 6. This video wraps up our trip with our visits to Tully Gorge and the Central Queensland gem field towns of Rubyvale and Sapphire.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/q0-Aud4KUYU[/youtube]

We hope that you will enjoy seeing something of the scenery and points of interest that we encountered on this enjoyable and challenging journey.

Until next time,

Kevin

 

Days 34 to 37 – Cape York Adventure

We departed Kurrimine Beach on Saturday morning, needing to be home on the next Wednesday; with a little over 1,600 km to do via the coast and a bit more if we took the inland route. Inland won, as that gave us a chance to at least drive through the gem fields. We had intended to spend two or three days there.

Ready for a quiet night

Ready for a quiet night

We left the Bruce Highway at Townsville and took the Flinders Highway, heading for Charters Towers. The revised plan was to spend the Saturday night at Macrossan Park on the east bank of an almost dry Burdekin River. Macrossan Park is a popular overnight stop, with flushing toilets and cold showers for the Spartan.

Information shelter and toilets at Macrossan Park

Information shelter and toilets at Macrossan Park

The camping area is between the highway and the railway, which is carried over the river by an impressive iron bridge. With the van set up for a comfortable night I went for a walk, to have a closer look at the rail bridge. Imagine my surprise when I found two rail bridges. It seems that many years ago the original iron bridge was replaced by a new bridge of similar design. The old one probably became unsafe, so a new bridge was built, just a few meters to the south. Once you know that the second bridge is there you see it straight away. But if you are expecting only one bridge then chances are that is what you will see, the structures are so similar.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/vfoHUPAXhUg[/youtube]

Fertiliser train approaching the main bridge

Fertiliser train approaching the main bridge

Queensland National obliged by sending a long fertiliser train over the bridge before dark and an other one after dark. There was at least one more during the night. The sun slid quietly behind the low range of hills that constitute the horizon, with a tinge of colour in the distant clouds which were rather a dark shade of grey. But the cloud

Tinges of sunset on the edge of storm clouds

Tinges of sunset on the edge of storm clouds

vanished westward with the sun and left us with a full moon rising into a clear sky.

 

 

 

A full moon commences its assent

A full moon commences its assent

Res, there really are two bridges

There really are two bridges

On Sunday morning, a short run brought us to Charters Towers, where we refueled for the run south through Belyando Crossing and Clermont to our next overnight stop. Quite early in the trip we started to see signs of recent reasonably heavy rain. There looked to have been enough rain to put a smile on local farmers’ faces. When we crossed the first range from the coast the previous day, we could see how dry it was. That amount of rain would at least have brought some relief for beleaguered farmers. It certainly explained the grey clouds on the horizon the previous evening.

The Gregory Developmental Road passes through a mix of flat and undulating grazing country on its way through Emerald to Springsure, where it becomes the Dawson Highway, but we were not going that far. We refueled at the Belyando Crossing Roadhouse and continued on into the coal mining area of Clermont where we turned onto minor

Theresa Creek Dam

Theresa Creek Dam

roads to reach the caravan park at Theresa Creek Dam, about 25 km to the south west of the town. We noticed that one long coal carrying conveyor that was working when we came through this area last year was now stationery, a victim of the slowdown in coal exports, probably.

Theresa Creek Dam has been there for many years with a recreation area for locals on its banks. But in recent years the local council has developed what was formerly an informal camping area into a comfortable caravan park. We lined up with other vans in the overnight area, but at a comfortable distance from our neighbor.  But not for enough away not to hear our next door neighbor’s generator. Peace was restored when it was turned off an hour later but we had spent that time walking about the caravan paek, so were not really inconvenienced.

Rubyvale Post Office

Rubyvale Post Office

After another peaceful night we moved on for our drive through the gem fields. It wasn’t very far, probably about 50 km and we were parked in Rubyvale. Gem mining towns tend to be a bit of a shambles, due, I think, to the kind of people who become gem miners and the limited means with which they initially ply their trade.

Rubyvale town centre

Rubyvale town centre

Rubyvale, however, has a very orderly centre with a general store, post office, caravan park and a new gem display and sales gallery that also houses a stylish coffee shop. There were not many gems in the gallery priced below $1,000 but the commodious coffee shop, probably built with the tourist coach trade in mind, had very affordable Devonshire Tea (or coffee). We also bought a small bag of washed gravel to put aside

Decorations on the coffee shop wall

Decorations on the coffee shop wall

for sieving with our granddaughters at some suitable time. Perhaps we are sitting on a fortune. And perhaps not! But we may find something worth cutting and mounting into a piece of jewelry.

Coffee and scones consumed, we continued on to Sapphire, another ragged town with a less orderly centre than Rubyvale, but it’s town centre is clearly older. After a look around we continued to the

Sapphire General Store

Sapphire General Store

Capricorn Highway and then to a lunch stop at Emerald.

At Emerald we were back on the Gregory Developmental Road for the 56 km to Springsure. It was now a matter of how much further we went that day. We had in mind a river side camp where the Dawson Highway crosses the river from which it takes its name, but the caravans already there appeared to have been inserted by a sardine packing machine. We continued a further 20 km to the largely deserted caravan park in Moura. It is a large park, mostly of motel units and cabins for mine workers.

Hills near Springsure

Hills near Springsure

Our site was adjacent to a very noisy Coca-Cola machine that seemed to be trying to freeze its contents. We didn’t check. It was more of a night for hot drinks in this Central Highland town, the sleeping part of which we spent under a doona.

Home was now not much more than 600 km away with two days in hand, so we had the option of spending another night on the road or go for home. I find that these kinds of decisions take care of themselves. As the day progressed it was resolved in favor of going for home. We took a mid morning break at Monto, lunch at Ban Ban Springs and as the afternoon wore on stopped at Kybong, south of Gympie, for a very large container of caffeinated coffee and a serve of crisp hot chips.

So that brought us to the end of 37 days of fascinating adventure. Before we left home I had read a comment on Facebook where someone had remarked that a trip to Cap York was more an adventure than a holiday. That is one reason that I called this series of posts our Cape York Adventure. It’s both, really. Whoever said that you can’t have an adventure while on holiday?

MV Trinity Bay berthed at Saisia wharf

MV Trinity Bay berthed at Saisia wharf

The opportunity to return by ship was pure luck, but the experience added greatly to the memories. I don’t mind driving on rough roads as we have the equipment to handle them, but I don’t go looking for them. If there is a choice of a sealed road that doesn’t take me too far out of my way I will opt for it every time, but there are iconic remote dirt roads and I get a great sense of satisfaction successful driving them.

2015 travels

2015 travels. The blue line traces our path.

I have mentioned previously that we track our movements using a satellite tracking device. This provides a recorded track that can be superimposed on a map. I had a look at ours the other day, only to realise that  we had literately travelled from one end of the country to the other during the last twelve months. In the dying days of 2014 we were at Wilson’s Promontory and less than a month ago were at the tip of Cape York. Here is how it looks on the map.

A windblown yours truly at the Tip

A windblown yours truly at the Tip

So, until next time, thanks for coming along with us to the Tip.

An Inland Detour

When we passed through Charters Towers on our way to Townsville we had decided to return to have a closer look at the town and then to journey down the Gregory Developmental Road to Clermont before turning east to again join the Bruce Highway to travel home.

Charters Towers viewed from Tower Hill over mining scared ground

Charters Towers viewed from Tower Hill over mining scared ground

We had spent a couple of single nights in Charters Towers but had not really looked around. This visit was for two nights. The Charters Towers Tourist Park, where we stayed, allows the Charters Towers Lions Club to run fund raising dinners in the camp kitchen. Fifteen dollars buys a three course meal. We knew the format from last time, a meal and a brief talk on the area.

One of the main streets lined with historic buildings

One of the main streets lined with historic buildings

The talk provided a background for our sightseeing the next day. Charters Towers was already an established cattle town when gold was discovered in the 1880s. The gold was of high quality and quickly created great wealth. Mining companies sprang up in such numbers that the town opened its own stock exchange which operated in conjunction with the London stock exchange. But the gold rush ended and the town started to wind down. The current population is around 10,000. At its peak the town had 40,000 residents.

Another classic street scape

Another classic streetscape

Charters Towers also has a proud history of participation in WWII. American bombers were based there and it was one of two bases in Queensland from which bombers flew to attack Japanese war ships during the Battle of the Coral Sea. In more recent times education has added to the wealth of the town. It is the location of a number of prestigious colleges.

An impressive mural adorns a wall of a prominent building

An impressive mural adorns a wall of a prominent building

The town has always been aware of its history and has turned it to good account. Preservation of original buildings has always been important, so to walk down the street today is to experience many of the same sensations as visitors of days now long gone. We had lunch at a cafe in the arcade of the original stock exchange. Just along the street the Town Hall has an extensive display of war time photos and almost directly opposite much of the history of the town has been recorded on a huge mural on the wall of a large building.

Venus Gold Battery

Venus Gold Battery

We visited the Venus Gold Battery before driving to the summit of Towers Hill Lookout where a substantial structure has been built to commemorate and record much of the mining history. The observation point is appropriately sighted above the many shafts from which the city’s golden wealth was extracted.

We lunched at a cafe in the historic arcade of the old stock exchange building

We lunched at a cafe in the historic arcade of the old stock exchange building

Charters Towers is located at the junction of the Flinders Highway and the Gregory Developmental Road, which goes south via Clermont and Emerald to Springsure and north west to The Lynd Junction where it intersects with the Kennedy Developmental Road. We had not previously travelled this road so our journey south broke new ground.

The road house at Belyando Crossing

The road house at Belyando Crossing

The distance to Clermont, our destination for that day, is about 350 km. Until you reach the coal mines near Clermont the only sign of habitation on the entire journey, apart from some cattle stations, is the roadhouse at Belyando Crossing where the highway crosses the Belyando River. It was a hive of activity. Everyone seems to stop there. The most common vehicles on the road were cars with Victorian number plates towing large caravans. Ruth stopped counting after her count reached 100 vans.

Clermont is another of those agricultural and mining towns. It is an old town, with commercial buildings dotted around its streets but with lots of mining vehicles, various makes of four wheel drives with the distinctive yellow stripe along the side.

The prominent Woolfang Peak beside the Peak Downs Highway

The prominent Woolfang Peak beside the Peak Downs Highway

Out route next day took us along the Peak Downs Highway past a succession of coal mines and near to the coal mining town of Moranbah. After passing the Clermont mine there is an area of agricultural and grazing properties before the mines start again. Interest is maintained through this area by a succession of unique mountain peaks of which Woolfang Peak is the most dramatic. I wondered if the peaks had anything to do with the name of the highway.

An appropriate welcome to Moranbah

An appropriate welcome to Moranbah

During my transport industry days I was a regular visitor to Moranbah as, for a time, it was part of my area of responsibility. Ruth had never been there, so we drove the 13 km in from the highway to see how things had changed. McDonald’s is there now and the town is bigger but the central business district looked substantially unchanged. The surprise was the airport. It is a much larger structure with large parking areas and signs directing users to drop off points and arrival and departure points. It was a reminder of the extent to which fly-in-fly-out staffing of coal mines has taken over.

The tranquility of the Cape Palmerston Caravan Park

The tranquility of the Cape Palmerston Caravan Park

The Peak Downs Highway goes to Mackay but we left it east of Moranbah and followed the coal railway towards Sarina where it briefly joins the main north line before diverging to the east to the bulk coal loading terminals at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay. Our destination was a caravan park near the hamlet of Greenhill on the coast just south of Sarina.

Wandering Nomads & Military Museums

During the four days spent in Mount Isa we had discussed our route to reach home. The idea of going south seemed attractive until the weather forecast suggested rain just at the time when we would have been in unsealed road territory. Morning temperatures were looking a bit low further south, so staying north was an easy decision.

Our path crossed that of explorers Burke & Wills on their journey across the country

Our path crossed that of explorers Burke & Wills on their journey across the country

The obvious choice was to travel east. Townsville is about one thousand kilometres east of Mount Isa. We did the distance in three easy days, with overnight stops at Richmond and Charters Towers. This was the first time we had covered the full length of the Flinders Highway in one journey, although we had travelled most of it at different times. The only town that we had not previously visited was Julia Creek.

It was Sunday morning and the town was surprisingly active. Two supermarkets were open and several caravans were parked in the main street. There was a queue for service at the roadhouse when we bought fuel.

Part of the main street of Julia Creek

Part of the main street of Julia Creek

Caravans and motor homes are everywhere at this time of year. Towns like Julia Creek are awake to the tourist potential and are taking action to encourage travelers to stay a while. Gray nomads are a responsive target market. Not all are doing “the big lap” and those that are aren’t always in a hurry. Many from Victoria, South Australia and the southern regions of New South Wales are simply looking for a place in the sun.

Self contained RVs in residence by the waterhole near Julia Creek

Self contained RVs in residence by the waterhole near Julia Creek

Just past Julia Creek, by what appears to be a permanent waterhole, the council has planted an extensive grove of trees, which are thriving on irrigation. We nearly bogged when we drove between them to find shade for a lunch time stop. There is an extensive camping area where there is no charge for staying, but a camp host is proved to maintain order. No other facilities are provided so the area is most suitable for fully self contained vans, but there are plenty of those on the road. There were about 30 vans and motor homes set up there with more arriving as we lunched.

Free camping RVs at Reid River rest stop by the Flinders Highway

Free camping RVs at Reid River rest stop by the Flinders Highway

This was only one example of modern gypsy camps. On our way out from Lawn Hill we crossed the Gregory River at Gregory Downs. The river banks are high and the bridge is above flood level. It provided a great view of what can best be described as a caravan village. Gregory Downs is serious distance from anywhere but it is the nearest free camp to the end of the sealed road so the conventional vans and motor homes stop there for a day or three to do a day or overnight trip to Lawn Hill National Park and Adel’s Grove, or just spend the time watching the river flow by. There are a lot worse things to spend your time doing!

Travelling east, the Flinders Highway starts at Cloncurry and its surface is a bumpy old affair. Not a very good tribute to the great explorer in whose memory it is named, I thought, “There needs to be a concerted effort to bring the highway up to a better standard”. As they say, you need to be carefully of what you wish for. Not too far along we came to the first of many automated red lights. You know the type? A two wheeled device with solar panels, an antenna and a closed circuit camera? One side of the road was closed and the traffic from each direction had to take turns using the remaining side while work progressed on the closed side. For the remainder of that day and the next we encountered over twenty of them, often six or more in quick succession and most at least a kilometre long. They totally blew my ETA at the next caravan park out of the water.

The memorial atop the historic Kissing Point Artillery Battery

The memorial atop the historic Kissing Point Artillery Battery

The sun was shining in Townsville and we rediscovered humidity. But a pleasant breeze was blowing. We spent the remainder of arrival day on camp duties. But we had come to Townsville, in part, on a mission.

Ron, our next door neighbor is a Vietnam veteran. He was an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) driver and part of the first Australian force to be deployed there. Ron was injured in action in Vietnam and has recently suffered a stroke. He has lost a great deal of his mobility but none of his fighting spirit.

Laravack Barracks covers a large area at the foot of Townsville's Mount Stuart.

Laravack Barracks covers a large area at the foot of Townsville’s Mount Stuart.

At a Christmas function at our units last year he told me that his old APC was now at Lavarack Barracks at Townsville and was available for viewing to the general public. I decided then that I would like to see it. Our changed plans would take us through Townsville so here was the opportunity.

Ron's Armored Personnel Carrier

Ron’s Armored Personnel Carrier

We started our search at the gate house at Lavarack Barracks but no one there knew about it so they referred us to the military museum at the northern end of The Strand, that ocean side boulevard that runs

APC with rear ramp down ready to load troops

APC with rear ramp down ready to load troops

north from the CBD and gives such magnificent views of Magnetic Island. It was here that we struck pay dirt. This museum is worth a look in its own right. It covers from the period from the Boer War to modern engagements such as Afghanistan, but mainly from the perspective of Townsville as a garrison city. The restored Kissing Point Fortress is right next door.

APC drivers position and steering levers

APC drivers position and steering levers

The very helpful volunteers at this museum gave us a name and mobile number for a the curator of a museum for the armored regiment that is within the confines of Lavarack Barracks. Soon we had an appointment with WO2 Rocky Hema who signed us in and took us to the museum area where equipment with historic significance is stored. There we found Ron’s APC. It was opened up for us so we were able to climb inside and have a real good look.

I asked Warrant Officer Hema why this particular APC had been preserved. He told us that it had carried the officer in charge of the convoy and that with different crew had played an important role at the battle of Long Tan. He then took us to see the more conventional part of the museum where we saw a photograph of a young and handsome Ron Jose.

Part of the military museum complex at the northern end of Townsville's Strand.

Part of the military museum complex Jezzine Barracks on Townsville’s Strand.

This regimental museum will only be at Lavarack Barracks for another two years, after which it will be moved to a new permanent home at Puckapunyal, near Seymour in Victoria, a place familiar to me from my brief encounter with National service Training over 50 years ago. We took photos of Ron’s APC and sent one off to him attached to a text message. The rest we will pass on when we arrive home.