We ended up staying at Clermont for 2 nights, at Theresa Creek Dam. On the way we passed through a number of small places. Jericho – no walls for Joshua here; Alpha – despite meaning first, it wasn’t our first choice; we had heard Emerald was very busy so we bypassed it. Sapphire looked like a good choice but the Caravan Park was full. Rubyvale didn’t have much going for it. These last two towns are located in extensive gem fossicking and mining areas, and the countryside shows the scars with mullock heaps everywhere.
The next town was Capella, a small town with an unexpected choice of facilities and sporting options – golf, cricket and football. But what surprised us most was that suddenly we had crops – sunflowers and a couple of unfamiliar ones. These were the first crops we recall seeing since just north of Burra, over 6 weeks and a few thousand kilometres ago.
There are obviously a few locals with a great sense of humour (or a competition to outdo each other) in naming their properties on the outskirts of town. They were Gunna Doo, Goengedit, What a Bugga and Thinc Big.
After 400+ kilometres we ended up at the next town, Clermont. We had heard that Theresa Creek Dam was an enormous site which had shower and toilet facilities, flat sites and cost only $10 a night. The site proved to be everything people had said. The dam provides water for the town but is also used for water skiing, and fishing. There is abundant bird life as well – rainbow lorikeets, apostle birds, egrets, and purple swamphens with chicks. Although the weather was a bit dismal it cleared up while we stayed there for 2 nights. It was a great spot I would be happy to return to. It was nice to be able to relax for a while and allow some of our information overload to digest.
|Above and below, scenes at Theresa Creek Dam|
We didn’t do a lot in Clermont but did have lunch and wander around their lagoon and memorials. One of the memorials was to the 60 people killed in the 1916 flood. This catastrophe led to the town later being moved to its present site on higher ground.
|The 1916 flood memorial, with the height of the flood indicated on the tree|
|Above and below, scenes from Clermont Lagoon|
|World War I sniper memorial|
The town also has four old coal carriages painted with excellent murals. Clermont is near the edge of the Bowen Basin coalfield and is surrounded by coal mines, with great potential to increase their output.
|These four murals display the sources of wealth in the district, both past and present|
We also visited some of the remains of the once thriving village of Copperfield near Clermont. Unlike Nuccaleena in South Australia it was a short easy trip to the Chimney, which was totally barricaded with wire. There is also an old General Store that we were fortunate enough to get a peek into. The Queensland Museum gatekeepers wouldn’t allow us in because of the danger of rats. Even when David told them about camping with rats at Mungerranie they were undeterred.
|The Copperfield Chimney|
|The Copperfield Store, from the outside, and the inside below|
Our next stop after Clermont is Mackay, staying with Rob and Shoney, so this is the end of the drier west and its big skies for a while, as we explore some of the coast. Hopefully we can now wear some of the summer clothes taking up space in our drawers.
|No, this isn't a bushfire, it's a sunset after a few days of rain.|