211. Sunday 4th September 2011. Spring has arrived in Finch Hatton…

Monday 29th August 2011

Donnis had a day off and I went to Finch Hatton to deliver the completed Census material to the Area Supervisor. The rest of the day was all mine. With the rain (perhaps I should more correctly call it a drizzle) settling in for the day, neither of us felt like going anywhere or doing anything. We stayed home and did the usual boring stuff like the washing. As Donnis is working tomorrow I have an appointment with the doc to remove the stitch from my neck (he removed a skin tag last Tuesday). While in town I plan on getting TERIOS washed and lots of shopping done. I prefer to grocery shop on my own. Donnis will use Melissa’s Hilux which has been sitting in the garage for almost two weeks. I decided to start it up to ensure Donnis does not have any problems with it tomorrow.

Oh dear! Not only does it not start, there is not enough battery to even light up any of the dials or lights.


I dug out my pair of high voltage jump start leads and hooked up to TERIOS. Even with it revving, the HiLux would not even turn over. Only the dash instrument lights came on.

Oh darn, oh gosh, oh no.

If I cannot get the HiLux started I will not have time to drive to Mackay in the TERIOS, get all my jobs done and back by 1pm so Donnis can go to work.

I looked for a battery charger in Steve’s shed but the only one I found was clogged with wasps nests.

I have cancelled tomorrow.

Tuesday 30th August.

Today does not really exist as I cancelled it last night.

More showers. By 9am there was 13mm of rain in the gauge. That makes a total of 29mm since the rain began. It is all good to help fill the tanks.

Melissa and Steve arrived home about 4pm and let the horses out of the float. They immediately ran around the property to say hello to all the other horses. There was such excitement amongst the horses. With all that equine energy around I left the feeding regime to Melissa and Steve.

Wednesday 31st August.

The last day of Winter.

The clouds slowly drifted away and were replaced by sunshine. By the afternoon it had turned into a lovely warm day.

Steve spent two days slashing some of the paddocks before he went back to work.

We moved WWWGO today. Yep we have left our place at Melissa & Steve’s Stud property. We have moved to another location. We have moved at least 20 metres on Melissa & Steve’s Stud property. The spot we are now on is not quite level, the grass is a mixture of weeds and bumps and hollows. We have to walk further to the house and I love it. This is where I wanted to camp in the first place.

WWWGO in our new location. The cloud ridden Clarke Ranges - part of the Great Dividing Range - can be seen in the background.

Thursday 1st September. Spring is in the Air.

It was a day off for Donnis so while she spent the day at camp making new curtains, I spent the day shopping in Mackay.

Well maintained Commonwealth Bank building in Victoria Street.

A couple of posts back I threatened to mention a bit more about the history of Mackay.

This building was once a bank. When I first arrived in Mackay it was being used as a bank but I cannot recall which one. Note the original bank name has been removed. Note also it was built in 1922, four years after the cyclone. Since then it has had several tenants, including a building society. One complete block of Victoria Street was fenced off while council workers re-surfaced the roadway.

In a nutshell, Mackay was “discovered” by a man called John Mackay who, in company with others set out from Armidale in NSW in January 1860 seeking pastoral land. They first spied the Pioneer Valley from an area around what is now known as Eungella. They worked their way down the escarpment and found the land was fertile. All vowed to claim a parcel of land on return to NSW but some of the party died and others lost interest and only John Mackay took up a parcel of land. By the end of 1863 a sea entrance to Pioneer River was found and a town established, comprising about four stores and a few makeshift houses. A good sized town continued to grow until the cyclone of 1918 destroyed most of it as well as claiming 22 lives. A surge of rebuilding took place and many of the buildings standing in the two main streets, Victoria and Sydney, date from 1919 onwards. The main industry of the area was sugar cane with some cattle over the Clarke Ranges to Cleremont. Today mining in the hinterland seems to be the main industry followed by the mining support businesses, sugar cane and tourism. Beef cattle is still maintained but seems to have slipped down the ladder of success as has most industries since mining has had a resurgence. I found it interesting that small scale mining of gold, lead, zinc and copper is still being carried out in the area around the back reaches of Eungella.

Victoria Street under reconstruction. The block was built around 1899 and obviously survived the 1918 cyclone.

Lots of reading is available from http://www.mackayhistory.org/research/research.html

The palace Hotel on the corner of Victoria and Sydney streets. Once upon a time there was a hotel on almost every corner in Mackay.

Mackay District Courthouse. Still in use today.

Although I did not get everything I wanted it was a full day and I arrived back at camped suitably tired.

I picked up the new sliders from Spotlight for the bathroom curtain. Yikes! As nice as they are, they do not fit the I-beam bathroom rail! It is back to the drawing board on this idea. Over the next couple of days I will look at dismantling the bathroom shower screen and see if the rail can be modified. Otherwise I will install a different I-beam rail.

Friday 2nd of Spring.

Donnis was at work. I started to install the overhead kitchen lockers with new pull handles which I bought from Porters Hardware along with some quick change drill bits for my tiny Bosch Lithium Ion Drill. Amazing what a couple of good tools can do. The handle screws were too long so I cut them shorter with my tiny handy hacksaw and filed them back with a set of tiny files I bought some months ago.

I hung the new curtains and pelmet over the dining table then hung the privacy curtain around the bed. This curtain is good if one of us wants to go to bed and the other wants to sit up and read or watch TV.  We also have a set of wireless headphones so there is no TV noise.

I also put a couple of “throw” rat baits under the engine cowling in the hope it will keep our motor area clear of field mice wanting to build a nest in there or chew off the insulation on the wiring. I did have a “throw” rat bait in the same area when we first arrived in Finch Hatton. I noticed a couple of dead mice near where WWWGO has been parked the last few weeks AND the rat bait pack is missing.

Donnis will finish making the remainder of the curtains for WWWGO when she next has a few days off. After that we will tackle re-upholstering the pelmets and the bed headboard.

Saturday 3rd September.

We were woken by the sound of large raindrops and the realisation we went to bed with both the main and bathroom hatches wide open. Although the rain did not last long it seems to have brought strong winds and cooler temps with it.

Sunday 4th September

Cold n windy again. When I say “cold” it is probably still 20 or 21 degrees but the wind is cool. I baked a packet mix carrot cake today. It is the second last of the “gluten free” packet mixes Donnis bought. I am not sure why she bought them as neither of us has a gluten problem. Well, maybe I do in respect of baking gluten free cakes. They just do not cook the same as a regular flour type cake. As usual the cake turned out dry and cumbly and near enough to tasteless. The icing is the kind which runs off the cake and pools around the base.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake.

Oh, well. I sliced it as best I could, wrapped it in clingwrap and froze them for when I want a bit of cake with my tea or coffee.

This afternoon I went for a walk with the dogs, throwing a Frisbee for them to chase. They then drop it on the gravel road for me to collect and throw again. As I bent down to pick it up, I saw, curled up on the side of the road a…TAIPAN…or maybe an… EASTERN BROWN SNAKE. They both look alike with a gunmetal grey colour and a tan coloured head. Both are in the ten deadliest snakes in the world. I lean toward it being a TAIPAN as they live in or near canefields and this one was on a rock beside a canefield. It reared its head and came toward me. I picked up the Frisbee and left the area. Both the Taipan and the Eastern Brown will attack humans. Most snakes will move away.

Of course I did not have the camera with me so no photo’s. Melissa tells me the Taipan’s are territorial and there is a good chance the snake will be in the same place tomorrow.

Hmmm! Looks like the Spring snake season is already underway.



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