Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 149. Derby

A date with a Boab!

Another great nights sleep in the West Kimberly's. That's what we had last night, and I'm sure we'll have a few more yet. The temperature at night time is perfect, and if it wasn't for the mozzies I'd love to experience a night under the stars up here, as its simply breath taking.

Hot breakfast! Thanks Bec...
We woke to another perfect day. Bec decided to cook up a great breakfast that we enjoyed outside the van under another glorious southern sun. we even had the occasional noisy minor bird join us to check out the menu of what Bec had prepared.

Today was about exploring in Derby. There really isn't a lot here, but what they do have is very interesting indeed. First stop was the infamous Boab prison tree; just on the outskirts of Derby. After reading about how this tree, we went to check it out for ourselves. It's easy to imagine how the tree was used as a rest stop for transporting prisoners, or even just for shelter during bad weather. This tree was even used by the military during WWII as a store house. It has a girth of 14.7 metres and is believed to be 1,500 years old.

Shane and Scarlett at the 'infamous' Boab prison tree

Nearby is Myall's bore; which is 322 metres deep. This bore feeds a 120 metre long trough, which is the longest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The water didn't look very drinkable though; as there was a lot of algae etc in the trough, but Scarlett and I went over to the bore feeder pipe to find it was a nice and warm temperature coming out. I could easily imagine having a swim in this water.

120 metre long trough
Which leads me to our next destination; 'Frosty's Pool'. This pool was built by the Australian Army in WWII as a place to 'cool down and relax'. It's fed from the same bore that feeds the trough, and it just goes to show that with a little bit of thinking outside the square (not to mention the acquisition of the required materials needed),  the Australian Army still found the resources to enjoy their 'time out' during some well deserved R & R.

Shane and Scarlett at 'Frosty's Pool'
We decided to check out the 'Derby Waste Water Wetland' next; as while visiting 'Frosty's Pool', we saw a Jabiru fly overhead. After passing by the sewerage ponds that were home to about 2,000 resident whistling ducks, we found a wetland that is obviously the result of how treated water should be used. You could easily imagine being in Kakadu while visiting this site. We didn't see any Jabiru's; but we did meet a Red-Backed Fairy Wren and a Coucal Pheasant. That's two more birds for Scarlett to tick off in her 'bird field guide'.

Derby's Waste Water Wetland

It was then a quick visit back down to the Derby jetty; where we now had the chance to see the tide at its high mark - compared to last night at it's low tide mark. As all the signs clearly indicates; there is no swimming off the jetty due to the possibility of an encounter with an Estuarine Crocodile. We haven't seen a 'wild' one yet; but we will keep on looking! Now for a little bit of a history lesson: Wool and pearlshell were the main exports when the first jetty was built in 1894. 1964 saw a new wharf completed which was used for 20 years. 1997 saw the wharf revamped and re-opened as the newly named 'Derby Export Facility', for exporting lead and zinc.

Derby jetty at high tide

'Let us out! Bec did it!'
Before heading back to the van for lunch, we visited the 'Old Derby Gaol' that was built back in 1906 - and amazingly it wasn't closed until 1975! The gaol was intended as a temporary accommodation for prisoners waiting to be sentenced or transferred to the Common Gaol in Broome; however many prisoners were held here for up to 6 months awaiting sentence! After reading some of the horrific stories about how the local aborigines were treated here; I must admit that both Bec and I found it embarrassing (for us representing the 'white man') and degrading (for the aborigines - which I do have some in me) to say the least!

Old Derby Gaol

One very cool Kombi
We also saw a very cool 'stretched 4wd outback version' VW Kombi parked outside the visitors centre; so Scarlett and I had to get our photo's taken with it. I also spied an old rundown Ford Falcon XY 351 GT parked outside the local pub while driving around town earlier in the day. I wonder if the guy who owns it knows what its worth and is willing to trade for a clapped out Pajero that I know is going cheap? Oh well, I can dream can't I? I'd love to take either of the two cars seen today....

A date with a Boab
After lunch, Bec and I caught up on some more 'house work'; as well as pre-booking some accommodation for when we reach Kununurra in about a weeks time. I then went riding my bike with Scarlett around the park for about the millionth time; while Bec did some sorting and prep work for our 'day trip' on the Gibb River Road; that we are going to tackle tomorrow.

We enjoyed some free live music over a beer or strongbow (or two) at the caravan parks BBQ area earlier this afternoon; before heading off to a 'Derby famous' Boab Tree for a sunset photograph or two. This Boab is pretty much on every postcard of Derby, so we thought we might try to get a photo worth framing - for when we return home. We took about a hundred photo's of the tree this evening - so there is a lot of sorting yet to do, but I've included at least one or two photo's in today's blog for you all to enjoy.

I must admit though that the sunset with the Boab was a magical experience. We all enjoyed it very much; and we got to share it with some other fellow travellers who were there to take a photo or two of there own like us.

Sunset with a Kimberley Boab

A Tawny Frogmouth meets Scarlett
Just as Scarlett went to bed this evening, Bec spied a Tawny Frogmouth perched on the Pajero outside our van; so I immediately grabbed Scarlett and we went outside for a look. This  little guy came by last night too, so it was great to see him again. Scarlett got to meet it for the first time! She was very impressed, and tried to get some video of it on her Ipod Touch that Grumpy bought her; but unfortunately it was just too dark. I did get a photo (or two) though....

The Tawny in question...
PS: This afternoon a great old car and matching van arrived opposite us at the Kimberly Entrance Caravan Park; where we are staying. I just had to take a photo of it. It turns out that they are also travelling Australia for 12 months in this very original set up.

This couple must have B@lls of steel; as although I love what they have set out to do, it must very very hard and uncomfortable without any modern facilities.

Hats off to the true Grey Nomads!

Travelling in style..... the old fashioned way!

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