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Bobj

BobJ Reminiscing...

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You lucky guy. Hard going but great times when you get time off. Can you tell me anything about the Cairns area? Fishing on the river and coast etc?

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You lucky guy. Hard going but great times when you get time off. Can you tell me anything about the Cairns area? Fishing on the river and coast etc?

G'day mate, Brilliant fishing in and around Cairns, lower Barron River for barramundi, mangrove jacks, threadfin salmon, blue salmon etc. Up at Tinaroo dam, huge barramundi...60+ lbs.

In the sea, coral trout mackerel, red emperor, parrotfish, queenfish etc.

 

Fishing Cairns - The anglers guide to an Australian fishing holiday or charter on the tropical North Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef region of Cairns

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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An early memmory...After leaving the canvas camp located 29 miles out from Broome, I was asked to look for gravel along the Great Northern Hwy between Broome and Derby. I was given a Chamberlain tractor with an auger on the back and set out on a very wide plain. Gravel was encountered at every hole so it was a matter of contacting base and getting the gear down from Derby to push up 150,000 cu metres... Well, every hole I drilled was good gravel and I had drilled a 25 metre grid for over 300 metres square... Bugga!!! almost every hole was good but... there was a 10cm layer of pure blue clay that never registered in the samples submitted. My glorious 150,000 metres dwindled down to 28,000 metres. Still, the manager of Roebuck Downs cattle station got a new turkey-nest water hole at Bob's Folly...:biglaugh:

 

The boss rewarded? me by giving me the job of bridge foundation drilling on the Fitzroy River, about 30 km upstream from Langi (pr. lan-gee) low level bridge. Every Wet, the bridge would go under water for a month, or two and travel to and from Derby/Broom was out of the question. The engineers calculated, if that's the right word, that it would take six months to investigate that site and another up at Fitzroy Crossing... I had a 'dozer operator and an offsider for the SPT rig and a great camp of four tents, one each and one for the food. We also had a kerosene 'fridge for the meat and vegies...It took roughly three months just to push a crossing over the river; reason why it took so long?? The trees were bigger and more difficult to push aside with a cable blade 'dozer and the fact that every blade load of silt was swept away in the river than was er...calculated by the engineers. We managed to drill and SPT test the sand stata to a depth of 45 metres, about 150 ft.

Meantime one 'dozer operator walked off the job and one offsider walked off as well. leaving me to work on my own. Went 29 days without seeing another human being. My boss got a kick up the rump later on for neglecting the job. That was 1966.

 

The Fitzroy had some magnificent pools in the Dry and I used to fish them for the mighty barramundi on Sundays. In those days, the Fitzroy had been almost pristine in nature. I found a 1927 road sign that I donated to the Main Roads office in Derby and showed a section of the old 'highway' that consisted of hand placed rocks across a slight depression, to the Div Engineer who, I believe, contacted the WA Museum. but I never heard any more about it.

 

I mentioned Blina tn earlier on in my ramblings; well, the Main Roads decided to upgrade the hwy 100 to 80 miles out from Derby and set up a 25 man camp of 10ft x 8 ft tents As the region is considered semi desert, we had a water cart that supplied the camp with fresh water, well, out of a well, sort of. One day, the water op had to go into town to get the fortnightly stores and set the 2,000 gallon tank on a number of empty 44 gallon drums and a winch on a tree. Now, this er shall we say, 'truckie' wanted two empty drums to get fuel from town and eased two out from the almost empty watertank. After the last one was eased out the er, 'truckie' was about to set off when the tank fell... Oh, dear... exit one 'truckie' for good; he was sacked for stealing.

 

About 8 years later and 500 miles away, we took possession of "White City" a set of seven caravans each with five rooms, fully air conditioned. There was also a camp kitchen/dining unit, an ablutions unit and a generator unit. Woner of wonders, it worked and even the engineers would make an occasional foray into the 'bush' instead of camping at the pub...We even had a film show once a week. Marvels of modern technology...We even had a camp attendant, an Aboriginal bloke who used to come over to my office and tell me tales of his childhood and his beliefs. I just wish I had taken more notice. A couple of years later, he was hit by lightning while hunting for 'roos in the desert.

 

A fishing story. My mate and I went to a rock jutting out into the Ord River, some 30 miles north of Kununurra, WA. This rock was comprised of basalt and barytes, a mineral used in paint and glossy paper making, Anyway, We got to the rock and proceeded to cast the lures into the swirling waters eddied by the rock. My friend, Greg, cast out and hooked up to a big barra, A few moments later, I hooked up to the same fish. My lure had managed to get caught in one of the barramundi's gill covers. We eased the fish to the bank and Greg stooped to extract the lures, when the fish flapped and Greg got caught in his hand. Now, a 25 lb barra packs some wallop and Greg had one treble deeply embedded in his hand, yelling for me to do something. I cut the lines and the barra and both lures slid back into the Ord. Had to drive my mate back to the hospital to get the treble out.

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bring em on , please x


to much partying to much booze gives you spots and makes you snooze!

sharon.

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Some wildlife tales...

 

In my job as maintenance ganger in the Kimberlies, I often had to drive to Fitzroy Crossing. on one occassion a bullock had been bowled over by a cattle train and I saw about 12 wedge tailed eagles jumping around on the carcass. Rather than have any vehicles get damaged by hitting the eagles, or beast in dusty conditions, I towed the bullock off the road and left it about 30 metres away then carried on with my duties. A couple of hours later, all the eagles were tucking in and there was one tourist happily snapping pictures of them.

 

One time when I was drilling for the new bridge over the Fitzroy, I was having a drink and moved into a shady spot under the melaleucas (paperbark trees)I spied a jabiru stork standing in the shallows, These magnificent birds are glossy black and white with purple sheens. The bird was leaning over and suddenly darted its beak down on to a hapless spangled perch.

 

Brolgas in East Kimberley are amazing to see as they dance in their mating rituals. I once saw about 200 on a flat section on The-Bend-Of-The-Ord, just north of Kununurra. Virtually all of them were dancing...Sensational!

 

Quite often in the backblocks of the East Kimberley, one would come across a thousand, or so, budgerigahs, in rapid flight, wheeling as if on a secret cue and there would be a dazzling flash of green.

 

In Kununurra, we used to get gouldian finches in the garden. These exquisite finches are seed eaters and need water every day, just as the budgerigahs do and at the very end of the Dry, when all the little pools dried up, they would come into town looking for water. It was a common practice to leave an outside tap just drip, drip, dripping so they could get a drink. Glorious!

 

Was barra fishing at the bottom of the diversion dam gates The authorities opened one gate about twelve inches and my mate and I were down there catching barra...Managed to get 10 barra, each one weighing around 20 lbs. These were all taken to Main Roads camps to give those blokes out in the bush some fish in their diets.

 

One Easter, a good Good Friday, about 100 blokes were fishing at the bottom of the gates. Some were even fishing from the top of the dam (about 40ft high), the barra were in a frenzy and hit anything that came their way. As the fish couldn't get upstream due to the big concrete structure, the barra really were going beserk.

 

Fishing the Keep River one time and my mate hooked up to something big! It towed my little tinny with us two in it. Then, up came its head...full of teeth, a seven ft saltie had grabbed my mate's lure. I tried to steer the boat to a sandy beach to get the croc. (A trick I learned from an old croc shooter; use a stout five, or six ft stick, once the croc is close, put long stck in croc's cakehole and shove down while pulling on line. That way, the smaller crocs could not get you, or get away because of the line.) Well, this croc decided to roll and roll, rasping the line on its scutes (the little knobs on its back) and so escaped with one lure.

Actually caught about ten, or so crocs using that method...only up to seven ft long though.

 

Snakes were an every day encounter in those days forty years ago and the main types were king browns and black headed pythons. Saw a few couples of snakes writhing in a love tryst...Struth! What a sight.

 

Also watched a king brown eating a water rat and saw a python eating a baby wallaby.

 

Donkeys were a real pest out in the backblocks and it was common to see a mob of perhaps 200, or more. Never managed to see a camel, although we used to come across their tracks every so often.

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Broome

 

As I was working for the Main Roads Dept (MRD) in the Broome area, I was with the 'in-crowd' and was privvy to an initiation for 2 young Aboriginal boys in the Aboriginal settlement about 1 mile before the town proper. An Elder used a razor blade...

 

We were building a new 11 mile alignment from the Broome/Derby turn-off to Port Hedland north towards Derby in the red, red pindan sand. The procedure was to clear the alignment of any vegetation, then cut down 2 channels and build the spoil into the centre, thus forming a cross section like a 'W' about 50 ft wide. The centre would then be flattened for the road proper. As the channels were 4ft deep, it was a natural trap for most small creatures that came out of the bush. Every morning we would come across up to 15 snakes and a couple of echidnas and I was given the rather dubious honour of catching tha creatures and releasing them back into the bush. Now, every second snake was poisonous... I used a waddy, about 6 ft long with a fork at one end to trap the creature's head, grab hold of the snake just behind the head and lift said creature on to the natural surface and release them. I bought a book to identify the snakes and in 5 months managed to get bitten once...on the right index finger nail...Yes, it was a poisonous snake, a yellow faced whip-snake. A few anxious moments...

 

Broome was the centre for pearling in those days (actually pearl shell for the button trade) and a couple of us went to where the giant dinosaur tracks are, not knowing what they were. My mate, Paddy, liked oysters, so I set out collecting oysters, opening them and searching for the elusive pearl before handing them to him. Managed to find one beatiful pearl, about the size of a cigarette end. But it was stolen a few months later.

 

 

We moved to Derby and some mates and I would go down to Broome for dirt...er...long weekends and camp in the dunes above Cable Beach. Well, one weekend we were invited to the Broome Nurses Ball and decided to book a room in the Continental Hotel, the 'Conti'. All was fine at the Ball until we realised that Chris, one of our blokes, was missing. We searched high and low but no Chris...Another of the blokes decided that after a skin full of grog, he wanted to relieve himself at the pub toilet...There was Chris, trousers around his ankles, sound asleep on the throne!!!

 

Another time, Chris wanted to go to Smellbum for his Chrissy hols to see his family, Now, Chris was very beer oriented...and could not save any money, it all went down his throat, so the boss took Chris' wages, gave him an allowance and saved the rest. Come December and the boss bought a return air fare for Chris, to Smellbum. We 'poured' him on the plane and wished him a happy holiday, Next weekend we went for a dir...er... weekend to Broome and LO AND BEHOLD...there was Chris, plastered again. Apparently, he got off the 'plane at Broome to stretch his legs and from there he took a taxi to town and settled into the 'Conti'...He died a few years later from alcohol poisoning.

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A few more stories...

 

Jo and I were living in Kununurra, WA and used to go up to The Darwin on long weekends, which involved a 10 hour drive. This particular time, I wanted to see the March 1977 Centenery Test on tv as Kununurra still had not received any tv repeater station. We were just south of Adelaide River when the heavens opened up. The rain was so heavy that all the vehicles on the road had to stop, I had the radio blaring out just as Hookesy blasted 5 consecutive fours off Tony Greig. We got into The Darwin just as another cloudburst sent 8 inches of rain. The traffic lights turned red , I stopped and the car behind us slammed into our rear end, a five week old car. Bugga!!

The return trip was uneventful save for a bullock wanting to cross the road in front of us and tried to headbutt the bonnet, but I hit the horn and the bullock got the fright of his life and stampeded into the scrub.

 

Another trip, this time to The Katherine and we were at the King River, just 50 km before The Katherine. This river was only 20 metres wide but the approaches were quite steep and roughly 300 mm of water were flowing over the bridge. We negotiated it safely and went on to enjoy a nice weekend in town. On the Saturday night, the heavens opened up and dumped some 11 inches of rain in the King River catchment area. Jo had to fly down to Kununurra on the sunday and I had to detour down to Dunmarra Roadhouse, (bitumen) then across The Murranji Track, which was all dirt. It is now called The Buchanan Hwy, and on to Top Springs; a sandwich and a couple of cans of beer and off again to Willeroo Stn. The Murranji was pindan sand, red as blood and boggy due to a truck going along and leaving 'channels' from the numerous tyres. Top Springs to Willeroo was single lane bitumen and quite good, considering the age of it. I got to the Willeroo turn-off and headed west on the Victoria Hwy. Rain had cut sections of thebitumen and rolled the bitumen and spread the sections out, some 20 metres away. This happened in about 5 places; one being so bad, I had to stop and fill in a few potholes to be able to get through. Finally made it home about midnight... All because the King river rose some 17 metres!!! And, it was a 657 km (410 mile) detour.

 

One vehicle I had to use in those days, was a long-wheel-base Toyota troupie that was an absolute marvel...It had long range tanks, both water and diesel. I had to go down to Nicholson Downs Stn to look for gravel to resheet a 20 mile section. It so happened that a Main Roads camp was set up some 50 km south of Nicholson and I headed for a nice camp... Bugga!!! It rained and I just managed to get to the camp and bogged down to both axles......in the camp carpark. Never lived it down:no:...The troupie had 2 full tanks and weighed over 2 tons. I had to get a truck driver's licence to drive it and a grader to pull me out next morning, but he bogged as well. A D7 dozer had to pull us both out.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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Very early on in my time in the Kimberlies, I was collecting gravel samples south of Broome. It was February 1966 and the Wet was on. Langi Crossing, on the Fitzroy River, was under 15 ft of water. The boss called me on the two-way, telling me to park the wagon at Nillabubbucca Well, a government water tank by the side of the Great Northern Hwy, some 90km (56 miles) south of Derby, as a plane would be sent out for me. I had to light a small fire and let the smoke drift so the pilot could see the wind direction. The 'plane landed on a nice section of the bitumen, I loaded up the samples, got in the 'plane and off we went...Three bigtime engineers were in the aircraft on a "fact-finding" flight to see the extent of the flooding, so they could plan a new route across the flood plains. Learned later that the wagon was taken back to Broome and I was sent to pick it up when the river went down.

That flight eventually lead me to be the person to do the initial drilling for the new bridge site mentioned earlier.

Some people get the good jobs...

 

Another...er...good job; The boss wanted me to go to Old Hall's Creek (1968) to get some gravel samples for upgrading the southern end of the Duncan Hwy. Booked in to the HAll's Creek pub and set off at sparrers for the gravel deposit, some 40 km (25 miles) from town. Now, the southern section of the road was notorious for bends, single lane traffic and dust. One could see the big cattle trains many kimometres away by the amount of dust they threw up. As luck had it, I had a blowout on one of these bends and this truck was coming towards me. It was a matter of running as fast as I could for some 300 metres to wave the truckie down, then get the tyre fixed, then back up for 300 metres so the truck could get past. Cayrried on my way...bugga!! Another blowout. Got that fixed and turned back, went to the mechanics shop and got a couple of tyres.

One very sweaty day!!

 

Fishing...

Took two of my mates to the Keep River for a weekend of barra fishing. It was late November and stinking hot; we rigged the camp, a tarp on the ground and another stretched out from the ute. We were only 30 metres from the river and proceeded to catch barra, well, one of us did, the other two were engrossed in getting hooks out of each other...Seems that Greg hooked a barra and struck to set the hooks, but the hooks flew out and back and stuck in Jack's leg. This caused him to lurch and trip over on to Greg; and he was hooked by Jack's lure. I managed to cut them free...After a lot of laughing. We got a good feed of barra and Greg, who was a truckie, took 5 or 6 down to the camp, for the blokes there.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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Guest sh7t man no way

excellent true life stories mate--thanks for sharing them with us--you get the feeling your in them.

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Guest siamsusie

Mr Siam loves your posts Bob, you are taking him back also down memory lane, thank you, Susie.

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Awww, thanks... I think I'm out of stories until I remeber a few more incidents in my life. Been a pleasure writing them. Only thing is that they were not put down in chronologic order.

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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Hey BOBJ great reading mate, can you advise please ? fish bait off a jetty in Mandurah what fish to expect and what size? Stevie ellis off spring , Dan and Daz

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Fishing...

 

Just remembered a tale re Nillabbubbucca Well...Well, it was a big water tank some 25 metres off the highway (govt. put it there fore stock) and we needed water to cool us down. We climbed up (it was about 10 ft high) and looked in...Some wag had put a baby freshwater croc in there. The croc was only 2ft long and we had a bugga of a job trying to get it out.Finally managed by getting a fishing line, flattening the barb on the hook, sticking a piece of meat on the hook and tossing it in the water. Managed to get the croc and transported it 35 km to the Langi Crossing where it was released.

 

Another well...well this one was down in the WA desert, half way between Broome and Port Hedland, 1966 November, I think...I wrote that we were surveying a new line for the Great Northern Hwy. We had a couple of caravans, one for our kitchen/stores and the other for sleeping. But we (5 of us) had no water for ablutions, so it was off to one of the station's water tanks. It was a matter of throw a big 1.5 inch diameter hose into the tank and syphon water on to our naked bodies. We could not use too much as the sheep relied on the tank.

In those days, the 'milk-run' was an everyday occurence; the DC3 doing the run from Derby to Perth, stopped at the various stations and settlements on it's way south, or north. This particular time, we radioed through to base requesting supplies. They were loaded on the next flight and we went down to Wallal Downs airfield and met the 'plane. Of course, we were dressed for the part...shorts, socks and boots and suntans!!! The passengers were...er... somewhat apprehensive, but were soon won over by our big grins and cheery "g'day's":yes:

In those days, the flight by DC3 'planes was 18 hours, Perth/Derby

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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Guest owdgrandad

Bob, you really need to write a book mate, these stories need to be spread around.

 

I spent 23 years down under, i now live in France but have lots of fond memories of my time there.

I also got around the "bush", i spent a season as a grader driver in WA , a time i enjoyed lots, i drove a stock crate moving stock up in northern NSW.

The portrayal on the TV shows about Oz are really so far removed from the real Oz, they could be any city in the world.

To fully appreciate the country you have to get out there and see it as it really is.

Instead of spending a week or two soaking up the sun on the beach, get sorted, do your homework and get out and see the real Oz.

 

If Bobj's stories of life in the bush dont inspire you nothing will.

 

Keep em going Bob, i love em.!!!

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Guest siamsusie
Bob, you really need to write a book mate, these stories need to be spread around.

 

I spent 23 years down under, i now live in France but have lots of fond memories of my time there.

I also got around the "bush", i spent a season as a grader driver in WA , a time i enjoyed lots, i drove a stock crate moving stock up in northern NSW.

The portrayal on the TV shows about Oz are really so far removed from the real Oz, they could be any city in the world.

To fully appreciate the country you have to get out there and see it as it really is.

Instead of spending a week or two soaking up the sun on the beach, get sorted, do your homework and get out and see the real Oz.

 

If Bobj's stories of life in the bush dont inspire you nothing will.

 

Keep em going Bob, i love em.!!!

I blame it all on "reality TV"... whatever happened to book research and real live reccies, yes true he is a wonderful legend is our Bob :wink:

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Bob, you really need to write a book mate, these stories need to be spread around.

 

I spent 23 years down under, i now live in France but have lots of fond memories of my time there.

I also got around the "bush", i spent a season as a grader driver in WA , a time i enjoyed lots, i drove a stock crate moving stock up in northern NSW.

The portrayal on the TV shows about Oz are really so far removed from the real Oz, they could be any city in the world.

To fully appreciate the country you have to get out there and see it as it really is.

Instead of spending a week or two soaking up the sun on the beach, get sorted, do your homework and get out and see the real Oz.

 

If Bobj's stories of life in the bush dont inspire you nothing will.

 

Keep em going Bob, i love em.!!!

 

Tell us more, mate. I'm sure these blokes on PIO would love to read your stories.

 

And, thanks for the kind words.icon14.gif

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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I blame it all on "reality TV"... whatever happened to book research and real live reccies, yes true he is a wonderful legend is our Bob :wink:

Ahhh, you gorgeous softie:hug:

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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Guest owdgrandad

just a quickie, i remember the time up north of Ivanhoe in NSW i was waiting for the the guys to draft the sheep to load on the truck , i had the urge to "strangle a darkie", have a "tom ***", well i was bent over hanging on to a branch when this snake , around 2 mtrs slithered across the front of me , nearly going over my "blundstones", i can tell you now, i was not constipated , quite the opposite.!!!

I had some interesting times out in the bush.

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Guest siamsusie
just a quickie, i remember the time up north of Ivanhoe in NSW i was waiting for the the guys to draft the sheep to load on the truck , i had the urge to "strangle a darkie", have a "tom ***", well i was bent over hanging on to a branch when this snake , around 2 mtrs slithered across the front of me , nearly going over my "blundstones", i can tell you now, i was not constipated , quite the opposite.!!!

I had some interesting times out in the bush.

:jiggy:that poor snake probably shed some skins as well grandad:mad: lol Susie

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i love listening to your memorys be even better around the bbq with a drink ! lovely thread.


to much partying to much booze gives you spots and makes you snooze!

sharon.

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Having a chin-wag with some neighbours this morning; they are avid snorkelers/spear fishos and were regaling us with tales of their encounters with giant manta rays off Gloucester Island, near Bowen, Qld. It got me thinking to some of the things I came across in my early days in this unique land.

I well remember the tiny quokkers on Rottnest Island, off Fremantle, WA and how they would hide under the wooden units during the day. They were the first of the many macropods I was to see in so many varied landforms, from deserts to cities and hills to plains. Even saw some rather rare rock wallabies.

My first sortie to the north of WA was with 2 brothers. We went from Perth to Broome and on to the Darwin, down to Port Augusta and over the then unpaved nullabor back to Perth. That was april to July 1964. From Perth, the bitumen ended at Carnarvon and commenced again at the Katherine. The Darwin down to the Alice was bitumen then it was a dirt road from there to Port Augusta and on to Penong, After that, the nullabor was all dirt on to Balladonia. From there back to Perth was bitumen.

We camped each night on the side of the road, a spread out tarp and our swags, with a large mossie net over us.

We camped at Monkey Mia, but it had no name in those days, the area was just known as Shark Bay and the only hamlet was Denham, which consisted of a small seasonal prawn processing building, about 8 houses and a long jetty.

At Carnarvon, we tried for work but there were no jobs and so we headed to Onslow...The most cyclone prone town in WA, probably Australia. It was built and rebuilt quite a few times since its beginnings in 1883.

Karratha, in those days (1964) was only a cattle and sheep property, Dampier was just a tiny hamlet of a few fishing shacks and there were no iron ore trains. The Pilbara was one huge empty red rock semi desert. We called in at Karratha stn for fuel and were told of a beautiful natural pool called Python Pool. It was truly a beautiful spot in that intensely red country.

Port Hedland was a 2 pub sleepy village of about 150 houses, but a new iron ore mine had just been discovered and proven at Mount Goldsworthy, some 100 miles north east and a few houses were being built for the new rail and port workers.

We spent 3 days at 80 Mile Beach, between Port Hedland and Broome, fishing and shell collecting. Some marvellous shells were along the red sand tide marks.

Broome and work for 5 weeks, building the new meatworks. Our camp was on the town beach, overlooking the old jetty. When the State ships called in and the tide went out, we could walk around the ships, and see the propellors as the ships sat on the sand. We managed, on one occasion, to walk out to the remains of the flying boats that were shot down by the Japanese during the war. It was said that one of the planes had a valuable cargo of diamonds. Many years later, I learned the truth of that story.

The planes were a group of Short Sunderland flying boats that flew from the Dutch Indies and was followed by a flight of Japanese fighter planes and all the flying boats made it to Broome and were in the harbour area, about 1 mile out when the Japs opened fire on the defenceless planes, setting them alight at their moorings. And yes, Broome was bombed in 1942. The diamond cargo flying boat was on another flight and was shot down near the Beagle Bay Mission. I have heard a few stories of diamonds being found, but after about 20 years, these stories became myth.

 

More later, from Broome to the Northern Territory, hey?

 

Cheers, Bobj.

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You have some great memories Bob, you have definitely lived life to the max.

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If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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