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Published: August 21st 2014
The World's Biggest Saltie
This is an accurate representation of Krys, the Savannah King, who was captured (shot) in July 1957 by Krystina Pawloski in the Norman River at Normanton. This Estuarine Crocodile (the correct name for a saltie - as they live in fresh water more than in saltwater) was 8.63 metres long (28ft 4ins) and weighed about 2 tonnes! It is the largest authenticated one ever caught and was in the Guiness Book of Records.
Barry decided not to stay here any longer as he’s worried about a change of weather system which may leave us driving into a strong head wind, something we prefer not to do as it strains the ute and costs a lot more in fuel. We can look around the town on the return, if we want to.
Just as we were about to leave, I saw some people looking up at a tree and taking photos. I went to see what they’d spotted and found it was a small brightly coloured parrot which they had hoped was the Cloncurry Parrot as they’d come especially to see it, but it wasn’t. I think it was a Red-necked Lorikeet. It was quite similar to a Rainbow Lorikeet but had more dark blue underpants and a red collar.
We stopped on the way out of town to dump the waste water and then fill up the fuel tank ready for the long trip to Normanton. As we pulled into the petrol station I noticed another mobile home ahead of us with “Mal and Larraine Leyland” printed on the back and “Leyland Australia” on the side. Sure enough, there was Mal Leyland
Some poor truckie didn't secure his load and it all ended up on the road. We passed the clean up job underway with a forklift.
fuelling his vehicle ready to head north, too. I can’t believe they are still travelling around the country after all this time!
While driving, we saw a few flocks of fast flying birds that zoomed overhead but it was hard to identify them. Barry was convinced they were more Budgerigars (although I teased him by saying I didn’t think so) and when one headed straight for us and just missed the windscreen, this was confirmed by the glimpse of green and yellow and the shape of the tail. Boy, do they move fast!
The windscreen wasn’t so lucky a bit further down the road when a stone from a passing car chipped a chunk out of it. I just hope it isn’t too weakened now. It’s the first damage we’ve had to it, despite going on lots of dirt roads.
Mind you, we were lucky compared to one truck we passed on the journey. His load of sacks carrying some kind of white powder were spread along the side of the road and a small forklift had been brought in to clean up the mess. How embarrassing - he couldn't have secured them very well!
Our Personal Escort
One set of roadworks we went through was across both sides of the road so we had to be escorted by this vehicle through the work area. Follow that car! (at 40kph).
encountered 3 Wedge-tailed Eagles feeding on a Walleroo carcass about 20 km short of Burke and Wills Junction. We were still seeing a lot of road kill but not as much around Winton. Mostly it is Black Kites, Little Eagles and Crows that feed on them.
We stopped for a break at Burke and Wills Threeways Junction and Barry had a home-made Pepper Steak Pie, which was a bit heavy handed with the pepper and took his breath away. I’d hate to think how hot their Curry Pie would be! My sausage roll was good but the large piece of Rhubarb Crumble we shared was definitely the highlight of the meal. We were just finishing our lunch when the Leylands’ Mobile Home turned up and they came in to pay for fuel. They must be following us! (We didn’t see them again so they probably turned off before Normanton).
Just short of the town we started to come across a lot of road works. Most were not being fixed at the time, although it was new bitumen and no white lines. A couple of spots were being worked on and the last was using heavy equipment, like rollers
The Purple Pub
Originally named the National Hotel, this pub was painted light mauve in 1968 and two subsequent coats in 1975 and 1979 darkened it to the purple seen here. It certainly stands out!
across most of the road so when we stopped at the red light, the sign carrier came over and asked us to wait for our escort. Sure enough, along came a small escort car, with its yellow lights flashing, and led us through the area slowly. That’s new – we usually just have to wait until they finish!
The rest of the drive was event free and we were soon entering Normanton, right past an ENORMOUS Crocodile statue alongside the road. Just a little further down was the “Purple Pub” which was VERY purple (and yellow) so you can’t miss it!
We got set up in the Normanton Tourist Park by around 4pm and went for a drive around town, which only took a few minutes. We ended up at the Railway Station, which is where the Gulflander Train goes from, on its weekly run to Croydon and back (out on Wednesday and back on Thursday). In between, they run short trips for tourists to Blackbull Siding or Critters Camp. We booked in for a “Billy Tea and Damper” run to Critters Camp on Saturday. It leaves at 9am and is back by midday so we
Ask the Leylands
We spotted this mobile home at the service station in Cloncurry. It had Larraine and Mal Leyland's names on the back and he was getting the fuel. Yes - they are still travelling. We lost them after Burke and Wills Roadhouse.
can still start returning towards Cloncurry afterwards. The lady who booked us in warned us not to eat beforehand as it’s very filling. Sounds great.
It is also a bit of a museum and you could see some of the engines along the tracks so we took a quick look on our way out. Oh yes, and just before we left the shop, I saw a lovely little ornament of a green tree frog, just like the one in the pole at _____________, for $1 so I bought him for my collection.
Back at the caravan park we checked out the pool, which was much larger than normal in a park, and decided to have a swim. The water was a bit cold at first but we soon got accustomed to it. We were the only ones in there as everyone else had gone for dinner. It was lovely gently swimming around and getting refreshed from the warm, long day. Until it was time to get out, that is. The step ladders to climb up were not fixed very firmly to the wall and started to shift as I tried to climb out. I was really worried
A Big Barramundi
He'd feed a few people! This huge statue of a Barramundi was at the entrance to Normanton.
it would break and I couldn’t get my feet on the rungs because of the angle of the tip. Barry had to help me haul myself up, which twisted my back and scraped my knee. Much as I enjoyed the swim, I won’t be doing THAT again!
After all the driving, I figured Barry needed some building up so I fed the man a huge pork loin chop from the Cryopak ones I’d had done in Winton, which he enjoyed very much.
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