Lake Maraboon, Rubyvale and Mackay(blacks beach)

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May 2nd 2014
Published: May 2nd 2014
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We are currently in Cardwell with some awesome free wi-fi, hence the catchup with the blogs!

From Carnarvon Gorge we then went onto Lake Maraboon (fairbairn Damn). We stayed here for about 3 nights so the boys could try their hand at catching Redclaw, which is cross between a lobster and a Yabbie. Luckily there was a couple staying here that come and fish here every year for a few months, they stock up their freezer with the Redclaw, so he lent the boys some crab pots and even made up some bate bottle for them, what a lovely guy considering he had just taken his wife to the hospital as she was unwell and it turned out she had pneumonia.

So i can confirm that the boys did actually catch Redclaw!!!!!! see photos

Darren, Ben and Amy also tried their hand at knee boarding behind the boat whilst i got busy with my camera.

Fairbairn Dam is located 25 kilometres southwest of Emerald, in Central Queensland, almost on top of theTropic of Capricorn line. Fairbairn Dam was constructed in 1972 across the Nogoa River "Gap" creatingLake Maraboon and is Queensland's second largest lake. Maraboon is the Aboriginal for "where the black ducks fly".

The primary purpose of Fairbairn Dam is for irrigation. About 300 irrigators are supplied with water for cotton, citrus and other horticulture operations. The dam is relatively shallow with large areas of standing timber. There are no boating restrictions and one concrete boat ramp.

On the 1 July 2003, cotton farmers reliant on the dam for irrigation had their water allocation cut by 75%!&(MISSING)lt;sup id="cite_ref-abc_4-0" class="reference" style="line-height: 1; unicode-bidi: -webkit-isolate;">In November 2006, the dam had reached its lowest level ever—just 14%!o(MISSING)f total capacity. Over that summer low inflows and high evaporation rates had dropped levels to 12%! (MISSING)

On 18 January 2008 at around 12 noon, the dam overflowed (photo) for the first time in 17 years, due to heavy local rain. On 20 January 2008, around 48 hours later the water level was about 3.5 m over the spillway level (~156%!f(MISSING)ull capacity). The water level peaked at about 4.5 m on 22 January 2008. A week before this rain event, the level saw the lake holding only 29%!o(MISSING)f full capacity. Downstream 2700 residents had to be evacuated due to flooding.

SunWater, the managing organisation for the dam, is undertaking a dam spillway capacity upgrade program to ensure the highest level of safety for our dams is maintained. The spillway will be upgraded in the longer term. In 2010 there was higher floods still. The Courier Mail (31 December 2010) said "The Fairbairn Dam is holding back an immense body of water - it's now at 175 per cent capacity with 5.6m of water pouring over the spillway, well beyond the 4.4m recorded during the 2008 flood."


The dam has been stocked with barramundi, Mary River cod, southern saratoga, bass and silver perch. Eel-tailed catfish, spangled perch, red claw crayfish, sooty grunter and golden perch georgia fish are additionally present. On the lake fishing is banned within 200 m of the dam wall, while below the ban extends for 400 m.


From here we then went onto little town called Rubyvale which can be found in the gem fields. Here we went fossicking for sapphires, hoping we'd find that big one! We did have to get a fossicking certificate to do this, and they give you areas where anyone can go and fossick, but we were warned not to go onto anybody else's land as we would no doubt be faced with angry and territorial land owners with shot guns. We were also told about 2 girls who had just recently found the biggest gem in the area, with an estimated value of 1 million dollars! Myself and Darren went to the local pub one night and got talking to the locals, how hilarious was that!!! a few drinks were had by all, some dancing with the locals and invitations to go motorbike riding with one guy on his land. Lets just say the hangovers the next day over took the will to ride

Rubyvale is a town in the Australian state of Queensland, approximately 61 kilometres (38 mi) west ofEmerald. Situated in a region called the Gemfields, sapphires are mined extensively in the area. At the 2006 census, Rubyvale had a population of 510.

Rubyvale is home to a small library, a convenience store/news agents, post office, hotel and take-away bottle shop, as well as a variety of accommodation and fossicking areas. Some popular places to go fossicking are the Bob n John Mine, Bobby Dazzler and Pats Gems. The area can get up to 40'C during summer, and can reach 0°C in winter. The RSL was recently closed due to legal reasons.


Off to Mackay we go! we stayed at a place called Blacks beach caravan park, literally right on the beach. This is where Ben cracked a few coconuts open and very nice it was too. The boys were unable to puttee boat in the water this time as it was rather windy! We stayed here for a few nights, had a look around the town, not very commercial but more a mining town, very quiet here!!!!!

Mackay is a city on the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. It is located about 970 kilometres (603 mi) north of Brisbane, on the Pioneer River. Mackay is nicknamed the sugar capital of Australia because its region produces more than a third of Australia's cane sugar.

There is controversy about the location of the region for administrative purposes, with most people referring to it as a part of either Central Queensland or North Queensland, though much confusion still lies within the Queensland Government, with government services being provided through bothTownsville (North Queensland) and Rockhampton (Central Queensland). Generally, the area is known as the Mackay–Whitsunday Region.


The city was named after John Mackay. In 1860, he was the leader of an expedition into the Pioneer Valley. Initially the township was to be called Alexandra and river was named after Mackay, but later the river was changed to be the Pioneer River and the township name was changed to be Mackay. There has always been much contention over the pronunciation of the name Mackay. Correspondence received by Mackay City Library in 2007, from descendants of John Mackay, confirms that the correct pronunciation is /məˈk/, from the Gaelic name "MacAoidh" which is pronounced "ɑɪ" not "eɪ".


Town Hall, built in 1912, now serves as a tourist information centre
One of the first Europeans to travel through the Mackay region was Captain James Cook, who reached the Mackay coast on 1 June 1770 and named several local landmarks, including Cape Palmerston, Slade Point andCape Hillsborough. It was during this trip that the Endeavour's botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, briefly recorded seeing Aborigines. The City of Mackay was later founded on Yuibera traditional lands.

In 1918, Mackay was hit by a major Tropical Cyclone causing severe damage and loss of life with hurricane-force winds and a large storm surge. The resulting death toll was further increased by an outbreak of Bubonic plague.
Mackay War Memorial and Post Office, circa 1936
The foundation stone of the Mackay War Memorial was laid on the river bank on 18 November 1928 by the mayor George Albert Milton. It was unveiled on 1 May 1929 by the mayor. Due to flooding, the memorial was relocated to Jubilee Park in 1945. Due to the construction of the Civic Centre, it was relocated to another part of the park in March 1973.

The largest loss of life in an Australian aircraft accident was a B17 aircraft, with 40 of 41 people on board perishing, on 14 June 1943, after departing from Mackay Aerodrome, and crashing in the Bakers Creek area.

On 18 February 1958, Mackay was hit with massive flooding caused by heavy rainfall upstream with 878 mm of rain falling at Finch Hatton in 24 hours. The flood peaked at 9.14 metres (29.99 ft). The water flowed down the valley and flooded Mackay within hours. Residents were rescued off rooftops by boats and taken to emergency accommodation. The flood broke Australian records.

On 15 February 2008, almost exactly 50 years from the last major flood, Mackay was devastated by severe flooding caused by over 600 mm of rain in 6 hours with around 2000 homes affected.
Panoramic image from pathway to Rats of Tobruk memorial in Queen's Park, Mackay.
The Rats of Tobruk Memorial commemorates those to died at and since the Battle of Tobruk. The memorial was dedicated on 4 March 2001.

Mackay was battered by Tropical Cyclone Ului, a category three cyclone which crossed the coast at nearby Airlie Beach, around 1:30 am on Sunday 21 March 2010. Over 60000 homes lost power and some phone services also failed during the storm, but no deaths were reported.

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