Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Mt. Isa

What an amazing journey it was to drive here. The country is absolutely breathtaking and all we can say is if you haven’t been here you have to put it on your list of “things to do before I die”. It is “eye candy” nearly all the way. Constantly we are amazed at the tenacity of the settlers who came out here and settled the land. Even now we are struck by the contrast of grazing numbers. At home you can see the cattle and sheep all through the paddocks whereas here cattle pop up in groups of ten or so and then you might go miles and miles without seeing any more, obviously the land supports a lot less per hectare, its very stony and mountainous in parts looking to be more suitable to goats than sheep and cattle. Most of the cattle are Brahman varieties which are so unique in appearance.
We knew we were getting closer to Mt. Isa when a vehicle displaying lights and long wide load signs forced us off the road. The police car was definitely ensuring we stayed on the side of the road until the mining truck on a trailer passed us travelling right down the middle of the road with not too much space to spare. They are so enormous.
After we arrived at the caravan park we went off for our usual visit to the Tourist Information centre which are usually very helpful but this one not so enthusiastic but we came out after helping ourselves to the guides with enough to fill in our day and a half.
On Monday we went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitors centre which was very interesting and also to the Underground Hospital at the Mt. Isa Base Hospital. The hospital was tunnelled out of a hill during the second world war when it was feared the Japanese would bomb Mt. Isa. It was initially excavated with the help of dynamite and then finished with good old hard work. It is in an “E” shape and contained a full theatre set up and was ready to take maternity, surgical and acute patients should the need arise. Many evacuation drills took place, some patients taking the drills so seriously that they insisted on taking all their possessions with them to the underground hospital!
Interestingly the hospital was not formally occupied, except by nurses after the war looking for a quiet cool place to rest after a long shift and was seemingly forgotten. Now it has been restored and is fascinating to see.
The rest of the day we spent relaxing and enjoying the sun which was very pleasant.
Today we had a brake issue with the car resolved and visited the School of Distance Education then returned to Cloncurry for a night. After that we’re heading for the coast after a change in plans (or the “no plan”) after we discovered the Winnebago group of 30 are still following or chasing us and making haphazard bookings difficult. We’ve found out where they’re going so we’re heading off the other way! Makes sense to us.


Di and Dave said...

Hi Ian and Sue

Been a little while since I put a comment up. Look like you are having a great time. Seems we no sooner get to read one adventure and your onto the next. I was wondering how the car was going - male thing you know - fuels not to bad seeing your towing the van. Been settling into the new job and Di has a secondment for 3 months doing her bosses job. We fly out to Noosa on Monday can't wait ti get the fishing rod in. Taking Di up to Tin can bay for some whale watching. Have fun guys
Love Di and Dave

Anonymous said...

hello martins. sent a message the other night but it seems to have vanished. it was 9degrees the other morning when we went to work so the summer is on its way. has a fire last night 2 doors up from the shepp hotel in the indian shop next door to luftis . getting close to the shepp hotel!and a house fire in maude st today why is it you are always missing from the action - i decided to sleep in and not go as had to do the investigation.Have you got a sun tan yet? When in sth aust looked at some good reds at penfolds -$2500/magnum -might get some for our next party hen all the nomads are back home
got rid of the people camping on the lawn at gordon drive -they went back to their reservation.
Have you put any dents in the van or car yet Have a god day apc and maree

bloss and waz said...

finally got the net on at home!
love you lots,