Wild Carol does Australia
John and Fiona Fraser
Fri 10 Aug 2018 16:00
We arrived at Tirranna Roadhouse at 16:40 NT time or 17:50 Queensland time - my phone had already adjusted soon after we crossed the QLD border.
Everything looked a bit derelict. The shop was closed but there was a sign on the gate saying ‘open for camping, phone Nem on .....’. We weren’t sure how we could phone Nem without any mobile connection so we drove into the site and drove around a bit until we found somewhere agreeable. There was nobody else there but there were a few dilapidated cabins that obviously had people living in them as there was washing hanging outside. We were parked near the toilet and shower cabins. We sorted out the tent and made a cup of tea. By this time it was after 5 and not much later a few ‘utes’ (pickups to you and me) arrived. It was the guys from the road crew that we’d passed working on the road a few Kms back. They set about their end of day stuff, doing the washing etc.
Then soon after a big guy with a big Akubra hat approached us and said ‘G’day mate’ . Assuming this was Nem I asked how much I owed for the night. He said, ‘oh no, I’m Phil, Nem will be over soon.’ Turned out Phil is the digger driver from the road crew (and, I suspect, the foreman) and also an enthusiastic traveller. He asked if we’d been to Lawn Hills yet? The answer was ‘no’ but the upshot of that conversation is that it looks like we’re now going tomorrow, just a small diversion. Phil had travelled all around and he and a mate ‘did’ the Gibb River Road on dirt bikes a few years back.
Nem appeared. Surprisingly she turned out to be a late twenties blonde lassie. She lives in the house with two young kids, one and three. She has a partner but he is mostly away with his job so most of the time she’s on her own with two kids and two dogs in the middle of nowhere. She’d come over to turn on the pump ‘so the guys could have a shower’ and left the kids to fend for themselves meantime. She joked that they’d be in the fridge looking for their tea.
The place had been owned by her mother and stepfather but they’d split up and left the property abandoned, so Nem decided to move down and run it whilst trying to sell it. She and Phil chatted to us for ages and there was quite a discussion on the merits of Lawn Hills versus Mosman and Cape Tribulation - Nem is from that area and we are heading that way soon.
It’s amazing how your perception of a place changes when you know the story behind it....
Corned beef and beans for tea tonight. Tomorrow we explore Lawn Hills.
Our camp with toilet/shower cabins behind