Day 68

Mt Isa – Cloncurry

Yesterday I arranged for us to have a late check out so that we could go somewhere this morning before hitching the caravan up.  Easier to find a parking spot without it.

And because we weren’t in a hurry this morning Brett took Elisha and Cayley (Jos didn’t want to, and I still wasn’t sure about my foot) to climb the hill behind the caravan park.  This is the view of the park from there.

from_hill_isa1And a great view of town.


I think the kids were quite pleased with themselves for climbing to the top, and enjoyed the view they were rewarded with.



At the top of the hill there was a bit of a friendly wrestling match, though I never found out who won.from_hill_isa4

The reason for our late check out time this morning was that we wanted to go and see the underground hospital.  It has quite an interesting history.underground_hospital1

After Darwin was bombed in the Second World War there were ideas that perhaps Isa would be next and precautions were taken.  The miners were called in to help dig the mines – and thirteen weeks later an underground hospital was ready.

underground_hospital2When the air raid sirens would go off everyone would be transferred from the main hospital building down into the tunnels.  Each tunnel was like a ward, and from memory these were divided by gender and age rather than illness; men, women, children.

underground_hospital3Although the patients were transferred into the tunnels on quite a few occasions (for drills only) no surgery was ever performed, and no baby ever born in the underground hospital.

After the war, it was kept open for storage for a couple of years, and sometimes used as a cooler resting place for the nurses before air-conditioning, but eventually closed up and forgotten about by most.  When it was remembered it was in terrible disrepair – one tunnel has been left that way to show the extent of the damage.



There are a few photos of how everything was set up down below, and it has been restored to it’s original condition as much as possible.underground_hospital4underground_hospital6underground_hospital7underground_hospital8

The regular hospital building – the above ground – is a museum of hospital equipment.  Some painful looking stuff in there!

After visiting the hospital we went packed up the caravan and continued our journey.  On the way to our next destination I read to the kids the final history of Burke and Wills, and how it was discovered what happened to them when Gray? was eventually found.  Then we stopped for lunch in a rest area where once Burke and Wills had crossed.

burke_wills1burke_wills2We arrived in Cloncurry, found Wal’s Camp, parked and headed over to the tourist information centre.  After we’d had a bit of a look, grabbed some pamphlets, the kids had a play on the playground.cloncurry_park

Now it just so happens that we landed in Cloncurry on the weekend of the Curry Merry Muster Festival. And that meant street parade and mini rodeo Friday night.  And today just happens to be Friday.  So late in the afternoon we headed out to find a spot to watch the parade from. Brett and I loved this sign.cloncurry_dog_poop

I know, I know, we’re so high brow!

And I love this photo of Cayley patiently waiting.cayley_parade

Eventually, of course, the parade started.  The theme of the parade this year was “Cowboys and Indians, How You See It”, and there were some great floats.  My pictures from here on in are not fantastic, because the light was low, the action was fast, and I didn’t want to use my flash and waste the battery… that said however, I took a tonne of photos.  Almost literally.

The parade was headed up by the police and fire crews.parade1parade2

The parade was fun to watch. But for the kids it was extremely exciting, because, everyone was throwing lollies at them.  Lollies!

There were other things to see in the parade too:





Some interesting animals

parade13parade14And a very cool truck.

parade15parade16parade17Straight from the parade we headed over to the rodeo.  I was pretty excited.  Never been to one before.  The kids were too, though I’m not sure they knew what to expect.  I don’t have very many clear photos from this part of the night.  I needed to conserve my battery, so I didn’t want to use the flash, that meant a slow shutter speed, which meant blurry photos.  But here’s a few.

I should also point out that this was not the main rodeo – which is tomorrow – but is a showcase of what goes on the main day.  But it’s free.  We like free.


First there was warm up.

rodeo2rodeo3The first event was a roping event where two riders had to rope a calf around the head and the back feet and stretch it out.

rodeo4For the next event the rider had to rope the cow, and then get it down on the ground and tie its feet together.

rodeo5rodeo6rodeo7rodeo8Meanwhile there was plenty of preparation going on in another area of the arena for the next event.



The next event was a bucking horse ride – had to try and stay on for eight seconds.


If the rider made the eight seconds, then they would somehow get from the horse they were riding to a calmer option. Don’t ask me how.

rodeo12There were plenty of disappointed cowboys.

rodeo14Next event … steer wresting.  Jump off your horse onto the steer and wrestle it to the ground.

rodeo15rodeo16rodeo17Next was a women’s roping event.

rodeo18And then…

… and then…

the bull ride!

Oh my.  The power, speed and agility of these animals is scary.  And I haven’t decided who I think is braver (or is that crazier); the riders or the bull fighters (protection athletes).

Here’s some cowboys.

rodeo19rodeo20rodeo21rodeo22rodeo23rodeo24And here’s some bull fighters.


Who gets your vote?

Just one more anecdote and photo, then I’m done.

This afternoon before we headed out to the parade we let the kids watch a bit of something on the iPad.  Today’s selection was Superman.

Jos is quite enamoured.















One thought on “Day 68”

  1. Love all the photos of the rodeo, would have loved to be there with you. Keep up the writing, really enjoy catching up with all your experiences. Hi there Brett, give our beautiful grandchildren a kiss and a hug from us. Until next time. Mum and Dad Vdk

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