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.