Rockhampton Monday 9/1/12
Sat 21 Jan 2012 05:59
Driving south from Rockhampton
We did not explore at all, just swam in the pool and couldn’t get our stuff in the fridge. I was jumping up and down on the bouncy castle with some kids, and a lady spoke to me afterwards (Shirl), travelling with her sister and her sister’s grandchildren. Shirl is on her way to Sydney to start her first nursing job, having just qualified at 46 (good for her!!) She told me she has done lots of aboriginal outreach volunteering, I hope we can keep in touch, I would love to know more. Shirl and her family are Melanesian, and I think she said they have Australian citizenship only in Queensland?? (Shirl if you are reading this please correct me)
After dark, a family arrived, trying to put up a big tent in the dark with a torch. Sandy went over and helped them, it was their first time camping. Same design of tent as ours but palatial. The kids were so excited they chatted most of the night, so nobody got much sleep.
We abandoned the Gold Coast and drove inland, stopping at Mount Morgan, a gold town, to photograph their classic buildings. Mount Morgan is tiny but had a population of 14000 in the goldrush, and the hole made by the diggings is one of the biggest excavations in the southern hemisphere. Where we parked, we were briefly blocking in another car, and I walked over to say sorry, we just had to photograph your beautiful town. The driver replied “it’s not my town, I just live here, unfortunately. (why unfortunately?) “There was an aboriginal settlement nearby and “they’ve” moved half of them into the town”, that’s all he said.
This area is a charolais beef area so local radio has lots of farming stuff. They talk about the changing middle east market – people starting to demand supermarket food, good cuts of beef, and burgers, all halal, and wanting it imported chilled, which is good news. Kangaroo meat is also exported. Qld has a quota of 3.5million kangaroos to shoot, this is up 60% on last year, and reflects the rising national increase in numbers due to the drought breaking. The current estimate is 37 million, heading back towards the record population of a decade ago, 52m. Kangaroo carcasses are eaten here, and they are opening up markets i9n Russia and China. This part of Qld is also big on bananas (“Bananashire, not republic!) And coffee, with a windbreak of sugarcane.