Day 54 Tuesday July 29th 2014 Croydon to Normanton
It’s another clear hot morning and hundreds of galahs wheel overhead, oh that sweet air. The road is good, very good and straight and flat. As always there are hundreds of eagles and wandering contented cattle. “Welcome to Carpentaria” says the sign, the Gulflander railway line is beside us most of the way. By mid-morning it is 28 degrees.
Normanton “Outback by the sea”. The slogan pretty well sums it up except the sea is 70kms away. It is very much an outback town. The streets are long and wide and there are a couple of scattered shops. We eventually discover three stores that sell supplies and a butcher, there is no baker. Poor Woody misses out again. The caravan park is basic and very tight, about 20cms shy of Bowen’s record. But there is a huge shaded swimming pool and that is most important in this heat.
We drive our washing to the Laundromat to save it from walking there by itself! The Laundromat is in the post office. In these parts every business multi tasks. As I wait for Woody to sort out the coin washer problems with the postmaster I lean on the verandah rail. I am overcome by a smell that takes me back to my childhood, but what is it? Then I hear brrrp, brrrp there are a few shrubs, a tank stand giving shade, a couple of struggling vegies and chooks!
Being on the navigable Norman River this town was the trading hub for the gold mining town of Croydon. At the far end of town there stands an old Burns Philp warehouse. It is now the local visitors centre and museum but best of all most of the building has been left in original condition to give you the feel of how it once was.
There are three hotels in town the most noticeable being the Purple Pub yes, it is painted purple. It was moved from Croydon after the gold rush. Which would have been a huge task as it is a very big two storey building. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost a few nails on the way as it looks quite rickety.
In pride of place in the main street is a replica of the largest crocodile ever shot in these parts. It is named Krys after the woman who shot it and is 28ft 4inches. Talk about ladies who shoot their lunch!
Towing Kms: 155Kms
2020 Note: The Burns Philp organisation were South Pacific traders who began operations in the late 19th century. It is sad to read that for a brief time in their early years of operation they were involved in ‘blackbirding’. Blackbirding was the name given to stealing South Pacific islanders to work in Queensland’s sugar industry, to put it bluntly slave trading. When the practise was abolished many of the islanders chose to remain here thus enriching our culture.