The Flag Man

We’re coming down the Burke Developmental Road out of Normanton and on our way to Cloncurry. There is very little traffic and we feel like we are in the middle of nowhere. The names of the roads out here sound desolate ‘developmental’ this and developmental that. We come upon a distant road crew and are stopped by the flag man. The flag man tells us that the wait will be quite long about 15 mins or so. He explains what they are doing, putting a layer of cement dust onto the road, this will ensure that the road stays intact when it is next inundated by the wet season floods. This is the Gulf Country and it is so flat that it can be covered in water for many months at a time in some wet seasons. He goes on to tell us a little about his life. In fact a lot about his life and it has been an interesting one. Having originally come from Melbourne lived in several countries on opposite sides of the world and now he finds himself here on a road crew several hundred kilometres from anywhere. But based in Normanton.

When the cement dust has been laid he cheerily sends us on our way. We shake our heads in disbelief we thought we’d be lucky to even see anyone else today.

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