Thursday, September 24, 2015

Living Edge Caravan

Back in February I bought a new Living Edge caravan from Kratzmann caravans at Burpengary. I would suggest that people don't buy Living Edge and don't buy from Kratzmann.

I have been having an ongoing problem with the water pump, which I have isolated to the pressure switch. After several calls and emails to kratzmann caravans I was told to take the van to a repairer and get them to call living edge to authorize the repairs. If you call living edge the call always goes to voice mail, EVERY TIME. So taking the van to a repairer is a waste of time. I finally got a call from Rick (living edge) on his mobile phone but there aren't many repairers in Dimbulah and Charters Towers or Emerald. After several events under the van, I have got the pump working, but I don't know enough about it, so I don't know why it is working or how long it will work.

Another problem I had was the sliding door into the bathroom, which had drooped on back edge so that when you closed the door, it would drag on the guide for the last nine inches and become stuck. When I spoke to Rick about it, it was obvious that he had no idea how the pelmet was attached to the wall.

Today I had a bit of spare time so I decided to attack the sliding door no matter the consequences. I carefully removed the five screws (screw 2) I could see in the middle of the track above the door inside the pelmet, expecting that at any moment that the door would fall away from the wall. It didn't.

I accidentally touched the pelmet and it moved, so I pulled it away from the wall and then I discovered that there were five more screws (screw 1) holding the track to the wall. You will need a number 8 metric spanner to adjust the height of the door and a number 10 to adjust the stops at either end of the track.

With living edge it is easier to fix it yourself.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wolfram and Northcote

Northcote is about 20km north east of Dimbulah and is now on private property. Almost all trace of the town has disappeared.

Wolfram is about 22km north west of Dimbulah and all but the last 7km is bitumen. When you get to the junction of Wolfram Camp Road and Bullaburrah Creek Road you will see this sign.

At this junction, turn right onto the gravel road. If you have a UHF radio, start to monitor channel 11

7km later you arrive at the junction of Wolfram Camp Road and Main Street which veers to the right in this picture.

The road straight ahead only leads to a private property 200m further on.

Main Street is about 500m long and there are small metal signs suggesting where different establishments were once located.

At the far end of Main Street you will cross this causeway

After the causeway you will see this yellow sign and to the left is a holding area

If you hear the message 'vehicle leaving gorge access road' park in the holding area until all out going vehicles pass you

Using a UHF radio broadcast the message 'vehicle entering gorge access road'

If you don't have a UHF radio, be very careful on the next 700m of single lane road. If you meet a vehicle leaving YOU WILL HAVE TO REVERSE back to the holding area

At the end of the single lane you will see another holding area and when you are leaving you will have to follow the previous instructions

The road here turns right but you CANNOT continue to the mine until they come and get you

The two wheel track going straight ahead leads to the Wolfram Cemetery and there are two gates which you must open and then close each time you go through them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


On Tuesday the 8th September I made a day trip to Chillagoe, some 98km to the west of Dimbulah.

The road as far as Almaden is all bitumen. Between Almaden and Chillagoe there are four sections of gravel, the longest being 6km.

Between Chillagoe and Almaden there are a number of holes like this beside the road where they use small tractor like machines with very long chainsaws attached to carve out blocks up to five feet cubed of what appears to be compacted quartz stone. It is mostly shallow and at the surface barely covered with little soil.

In Chillagoe there is what remains of one big mining operation which was at its' peak around 1900.

A large portion of this mine is fenced off because of hazardous waste including asbestos.

Not much remains, and that which is still standing is also crumbling.

 In this mine they treated several minerals including copper, gold, silver and lead.

West of Chillagoe there is over 500km of gravel road to Normanton.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Thornborough, Kingsborough and Mt. Mulligan

On Sunday the 6th I did a day trip to these three localities, localities because most of what was once there is now gone.

My main interest was Thornborough, because my paternal great grand mother, Emily DAVIS (nee CHAPPEL) is buried there.

Thornborough Cemetery

Thronborough is 29km north of Dimbulah on the road to Mt. Mulligan.

I wasn't expecting to find Emily's grave and wasn't disappointed when I didn't, after all she died 20th of September, 1880, and 14 days short of 135 years, is a long time for a headstone to survive, but there are 24 headstones in the cemetery.

After Thornborough I turned east for 6km to the Tyrconnell mine.

This mine is a popular place for visitors.

500m east of this mine is the Kingsborough Cemetery where there are only 4 headstones surviving.

Then it was back to the road junction at Thornborough and then 29km north to Mt. Mulligan.
The sports oval

Harris Street

Part of the old mine

Another view of the mine

All the roads just out of Dimbulah to these localities are gravel and while you could take a caravan as far as Thornborough, camping is not currently allowed in any of these places.

For anyone who is interested in the history of this country the trip is well worth the drive.

The Fletch

Fletcher Creek on the Gregory Dev. Road is a popular free camping stop about 30km north of Charters Towers. It has a dump point and showers but no drinkable water.

Here are a few photographs of the site on both sides of the road and the creek taken on the 5th of September.

North side of creek and east of the road

North of the creek and east of the road

North of the creek and east of the road

North of the creek and east of the road

Looking east down the creek

Looking west up the creek

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Arrived in Dimbulah on Saturday the 5th after a stop over in the gravel pit at the junction of the Kennedy Hwy. and the Gulf Dev. Road opposite the Forty Mile Scrub. On Friday the trip from Ravenswood to this stop over was a total of 430km and there are a couple of sections where the bitumen is only one lane wide. I didn't have the pleasure of passing any road trains (it is road train designated), but there were a few caravans going south. I stopped at Fletcher Creek for a bite to eat and to stretch the legs, but after hearing that it was such a busy place there couldn't have been more than a dozen vans there.

There were four of us staying the night in the gravel pit and the Gulf Road branches to the right after the road signs. There are toilets across the road but no showers or drinkable water and even though it is on the side of the highway it is not noisy.

On Saturday I traveled 244km through Ravenshoe, Herberton (where I stopped for two hours to speak with a cousin), Atherton and Mareeba to Dimbulah. In Dimbulah I booked into the Caravan Park for one week which is costing me $84 for one person in a powered site. The facilities are clean and tidy and a quiet place to stay and about half full.

The difference in the scenery between the first 400km out of Charters Towers (which is very, very dry) and the lush green of the Atherton Tablelands is unbelievable. It has been fifty years since I last visited Atherton and the tiny town has grown up, ie. it has all the things you would expect to find in the big city plus a wind farm just out of town.

I had never been to Dimbulah before but knew that back when I was a teen in Cairns fifty years ago that the area was all tobacco, so it was quite a surprise to see sugar cane and mangoes growing everywhere thanks to the Tinaroo Dam irrigation project.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Went to Ravenswood for a week, and stayed for three weeks.

The area around Ravenswood is very dry and one often wonders how anything survives in the place.

                                   Ravenswood is full of history, a lot of it in ruins.

                                                                      The whole of Ravenswood is heritage listed, so if you find a bolt or a nut you can't take it, yet here are still people getting around with metal detectors and shovels. After years of pilfering there isn't anything left to take.

From the 1860's to about 1915 they dug holes everywhere and they needed lots of steam to run the mills, hence all the chimneys and no trees.

I spent endless hours wandering around the old mine sites and old houses, or hat remains of them, where people worked and lived.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

In the Towers

Everywhere you look here in Charters Towers it is dry, very dry. There is one hill in the middle of town, so I went to take a look.

The hill is populated with mine shafts, WWII bunkers and technology.

The miners in the past dug holes in the ground and this is the remains of John Clark's efforts.

Today the hill is covered in technology, both old and new.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Eton sports field to Charters Towers

Stayed three nights free camping at the back end of the sports field in Eton which is about 26km west of Mackay. There is no power but water is available at the tap nearest to the club house for filling the tanks. Some have complained about the traffic on the Peak Downs Highway which is about 100m away but I didn't think it was a problem.

From Eton I traveled west towards Nebo and turned north about 5km before Nebo to Lake Elphinstone which was somewhat full, of caravans, not in the lake, so I didn't stop there, but continued west on the Suttor Development Road to Mount Coolon. About 100km of this road is gravel but in reasonable condition. There are a couple of places that you need to slow down, one creek which is crossed twice in about 1km with sharp turns leading into or out of and a couple of soft patches of bull dust that you need to avoid. Parts of this road are unfenced and cattle wander on the road, along with emus, roos and pigs. I love Australia.

Mount Coolon doesn't have a lot to offer except a pub where you can park your van but didn't stay so I don't know about the facilities. It was once a mining settlement. Mobile phone with Telstra here but none between here and Charters Towers.

Then it was west again for another 53km of gravel road to Belyando Crossing. They were just finishing grading this road at the western end when I went through and it was very good all the way. Between Lake Elphinstone and Belyando Crossing I saw only one other caravan which was at Mount Coolon and only a handful of other cars and two semis.

Belyando Crossing has a caravan and camping area behind the roadhouse and for a site with power and one person it was $30. They do have hot showers and toilets but the caravans are parked very close together and after being the third one to park there, another seven came in and I was unlucky enough to have someone with a noisy reverse cycle conditioner on all night next to me. You should plan your trip to avoid buying fuel at Belyando Crossing and there is no mobile phone service, internet or television there.

I must get some thick rubber to fill the gap in the back of the ute to stop some of this dust getting in.

From Belyando Crossing it is about 209km to Charters Towers, all bitumen, but a lot of road trains and b-doubles. Heading north I kept thinking that I was going the wrong way. There must have been about thirty caravans or more heading south towards Belyando Crossing. Once again a lot of road kill, including at least two cattle that I saw. Most of this trip the country is very flat with very few small hills and very dry.

Maternal grandparents

Visited the grave of my maternal grandparents in Charters Towers.

Walter Edward Ernest McDOUGALL


Emily Laura McDOUGALL (nee BAXTER)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sapphire to Peak Downs Hwy

Today I did the trip north from Sapphire through Rubyvale to Capella and then east to Dysart and then continuing east to the Fitzroy Dev Road, then north towards the Peak Downs Hwy.

I have stopped about 24km south of the Peak Downs Hwy at a gravel storage area where I will freecamp for the night and then tomorrow I will do the last 130km into Mackay.

This is one of many hills I saw on the way near Dysart, all of which look like they are the result of some volcanic activity in the past. They mostly appear out in the middle of the plains rather than a part of a mountain range.

The area from Sapphire to Rubyvale exhibits a lot of activity, both past and present, in the never ending search for those precious gem stones. I will return to this area for an extended stay at some time and do a little digging myself.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Last night I free-camped at the junction of the Capricorn Hwy and the Anakie - Sapphire Hwy, which wasn't bad as far as noise goes, even though the army was shifting several tanks and other equipment west towards Alpha.

Tonight I am free-camping at Sapphire and today I have been to Bogantugan.

From Sapphire it is 10km south to the Capricorn Hwy and then west for 27.7km to the Willows turnoff and then another 25.4km further west to Bogantugan where there is a rest stop either side of the highway and a sign pointing south over the rail line to the cemetery. The cemetery is small with a mixture of very old headstones and a few very new ones, no grass and the area is very dry. I have decided to stay in Sapphire for two nights.

The Willows is one of those places a bit out of the way with lots of yards that have several old cars parked permanently. Stopped and spoke to a couple of fossickers on the side of the road and was shown a couple of small specimens which I doubt would pay for their efforts. You need a license (a couple of bucks at the local store) and there are unwritten rules, like don't dig in a hole that has an upturned bucket in it. I think it is the sort of thing that you would stay for a couple of months in the winter time and be prepared to be disappointed at the end. Maybe next time through the area I will give it a try.

Woke this morning to the sound of these birds.

Decided to see if they were interested in a bit of bread and seconds later I was mobbed by a hundred rainbow lorikeets, sitting wherever they could, on my arms, head and shoulders.

Cold last night but it looks like being a good day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mount Morgan

Thursday 9th of July

After a good meal and a couple of beers to wash it down and a good helping Queensland pie, came a restful sleep and then an easy trip from Goovigen to Mount Morgan nestled in between a bunch of hills, both natural and man made.

I am staying at the Silver Wattle caravan park, which is on the way into Mount Morgan, a somewhat old style establishment which was taken over by new management two years ago. They are a young couple who seem to be making a big effort to improve the facilities. Sarah is the backbone of the outfit and is the biggest contributor to the effort. Sarah does a truly magnificent gob of looking after the guests.

Decided to make the short trip down to Rocky to replenish the larder. Discovered that diesel is $1.41 in Mount Morgan and $1.37 to $1.39 in Gracemere (an outer suburb of Rocky), but about half way between the two is Bouldercombe, which has a United fuel outlet and diesel is $1.31

Have only had a brief look at Mount Morgan so far, but it is easy to see that it is a mining town, with hills that have long flat tops (lag heaps), very tall smoke stack and many small corrugated iron houses. The trip to Rocky was an eye opener. Just out of town there is a sign saying the speed limit is 40km per hour, and then you go over the edge of the range and Rockhampton is like 10,000 feet below in the distance with a long and winding road with many hairpin turns down the hill. I did see a couple of vans coming up the hill, but it would be a bit of a haul.

Quite windy here and a little overcast but I am settling in for a stay.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Still in Goovigen

Wednesday 8th, July

I was only going to stay for one night, but the weather is good, the showgrounds are quiet and the pub put up a sign saying silverside and white sauce, vegies and chips for $12 on state of origin night. I just had to stay for that.

When I was young, silverside, white sauce and cauliflower was somewhat of a regular meal for us, so I couldn't resist staying for a couple of days.

Tomorrow I will be off to Mount Morgan.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Monday 6th July.

Camps8 map 15/420  S24.8'44"  E150.17'8"

Have just spent two nights in Monto, camped behind the information kiosk next to the railway yards (long since disused). They charge $5 per person per night, no power or water. You can pay at either the nearest hotel or the newsagent.

When I was in Mundubbera I met a couple who told me about Goovigen (Goo-vision), and when I looked it up I found that it was on the way to Mt. Morgan, about 30km NNW of Biloela, turn left 50m before the railway crossing in Jambin.  The couple in Mundubbera told me that it was cheap and the pub served good meals, so here I am.

The cost of staying here went up today by 100% to $10 a night, power and water included and there is a hot shower and toilet available, although they are a bit ordinary. The site is in the showground and they have just installed six new concrete slabs with power boxes and they are continuing with other work. There are currently eight caravans here and it is dog friendly.

Although my legs are very sore from five and a half hours walking in Cania Gorge yesterday, I managed the short walk over to the pub tonight for rump steak and vegies $19.50 and two pots of beer for $7.20, a nice home style cooked dinner. All the meals, fish, pork or lamb chops, rump, fillet come in small and large size, I only had the small rump; I wouldn't have made it through the large one. Steak, six vegies, gravy and chips, it was a big meal.

I was only intending to stay one night, I think it may be more.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Saturday, 4th of July

The joy of not having a set timetable as in wandering.

While driving from Mundubbera, where I stayed last night in Jaycee Park (free camp), towards Monto, I decided not to go to Waruma Dam with the caravan, but instead go straight to Monto, where I am staying in the small park behind the information kiosk. They charge $5 per person, per night, no power, water or toilets (must be self contained) but I'm not sure who collects the money.

During the afternoon I drove (car only) down to Waruma dam to see what all the fuss was about. Lucky I didn't take the van, because there aren't many sites available. The place is somewhat crowded. Some look like they are there for a very long time. There is a fifth wheeler there as well, but I don't think I would take my van down where he is parked; it is going to be a big haul back up the hill when it comes time for him to leave.

On the way there I passed through the small village of Abercorn where I noticed something I haven't seen in some time. The tennis courts at the side of the road had his and hers amenities. Very quaint.

Tomorrow I will make a day trip to Cania Gorge national Park, which is about 27km to the north-west of Monto.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Knobby Tree

Friday 3rd July.

While driving from Gayndah to Mundubbera today, I suddenly saw this unusual tree.

Quick decision, find somewhere to pull up, about 500 meters later there is a side road, so I stop there and walk back with the camera.

As I am walking back to the car, I hear another car pull up behind me and then go down to the same spot to park. Look around, and he has let the wife out to take a photo as well.

It seems that the 'Knobby Tree' is well known and is also photographed often. According to some tourist literature the tree dates from early settlement.

The tree is about 4.5km south of the Mundubbera turnoff on the  Burnett Highway.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mingo Crossing

Tuesday 30th June.

Camps8 13/443  S25.23'38"  E151.46'38"

Mingo Crossing is about half way between Gayndah and Mt Perry, about 30km to either town which includes some gravel roads, but they are in good condition. The road to Mt Perry crosses through some private property, so watch out for cattle on the road.

This view of the caravan park (run by the North Burnett Council) is looking towards Mt Perry to the north. The bridge crosses the western end of the lake formed by Paradise Dam which is about 10km to the east.

The caravan park has twelve powered sites and a large area for all other users.

There is a good shower and toilet block next to the water tank. They are cleaned every day at 6am. There is also a laundry with a couple of front loading machines for $4 a wash.

The grounds are well maintained, clean and tidy. A small shop at the office sells a few items, chips, soap powder, ice creams and drinks, etc.

Telstra mobile service is available if you are up near the caravan sites and dogs on a leash are permitted.

If you want to relax and or do some fishing, Mingo Crossing is the place to be. A number of people have boats with them but you can still go fishing from the banks and good catches of yellowbelly are possible.

This is a good site and I would recommend it to anyone.