Oct 12, 2010

Babinda - The Boulders

The weekend before we left Mareeba the Walkamin Country Music Club had their annual Country Music Festival at the Rodeo ground, the headline act was 'The Sheik From Scrubby Creek' - Chad Morgan, not being big fans we didn't bother going instead we sat around our van watching the Commonwealth Games and listening to the show, if what we heard was an example we didn't miss out on too much. Saturday night they had a more country rock atmosphere with a Creedence Clearwater copy group, apparently they have street musicians and a few concerts on in town as well. Judging by the amount of campers that came to the Rodeo ground I'd be surprised if they classed it as a success.

Monday we finally left after enjoying 3 weeks at Mareeba, we could easily have stayed longer it's that kind of place. Three years ago i stayed at a camp near Babinda, Vickie had flown home from Townsville and i was to pick her up in Cairns, I was keen to show her the beautiful camp and area known as the Boulders so that was our next destination.

Babinda Boulders is a popular swimming hole and picnic area for locals and tourists, and a place of spiritual significance for Aboriginal people. It is managed as a flora and fauna reserve by the Cairns City Council. Reports that 15 people possibly up to 20 all men have died in the fast flowing water and slippery boulders, especially near Devil's Pool & the chute, the most recent being Dec 1st 2008

An Aboriginal legend telling of forbidden love is said to be the reason why so many young men have died at the infamous Devil's Pool at Babinda in North Queensland.

Since 1959, 15 men have lost their lives at Devil's Pool - a popular destination for tourists and hikers, about 58km south of Cairns.

A Cairns tourism website tells of a beautiful girl named Oolana, from the Yidinji people, who married Waroonoo, a respected elder from her tribe.

"Shortly after their union another tribe moved into the area and a handsome young man came into her life. His name was Dyga and the pair soon fell in love," the legend says.

"Realizing the adulterous crime they were committing, the young lovers escaped their tribes and fled into the valleys.

"The elders captured them, but Oolana broke free from her captors and threw herself into the still waters of what is now known as Babinda Boulders, calling for Dyga to follow her.

"As Dyga hit the waters, her anguished cries for her lost lover turned the still waters into a rushing torrent and the land shook with sorrow. Huge boulders were scattered around the creek and the crying Oolana disappeared among them.

"Aboriginal legend says her spirit still guards the boulders and that her calls for her lost lover can still be heard."

The campground area is only a couple of hundred metres away, it's a free camp with a maximum two day stay. The camp is a credit to the council as it is meticulously maintained. We had a large area to ourselves and settled down to relax and watch the birds & butterfly's flying about, that didn't last long as the rain came down heavily, out came our water tank filling bucket and i soon had the fresh rainwater funnelling into the Caravan's water tanks.

Tuesday we went for a walk to the swimming hole and up to the viewing platforms further up the track to Devils Pool. Passing a small monument for a man who 'Came for a Visit and stayed forever' it was a somber moment to think he and many others have lost their lives in the river. The track is bituminous and undulating, the rain forest either side thick, it truly is a lovely 1.3klm walk.

A link to an article on deaths at the Boulders http://fwd4.me/UFb

An excerpt from the Brisbane Times

"Peter McGann was 24 when he drowned in the chute," Ms Schnitzerling said from her home near Babinda today.

"In 1979, he jumped across the short space between the rocks, slipped and went missing."

"It's a 40-foot drop and God knows how deep it is. I don't think anyone's every sounded it out to find out."

Talking to ABC's Messagestick program, police diver Peter Tibbs described the procedure of finding some of the missing.

"I've been called on four times to try and find bodies down there but one of the most interesting of the cases was a young fella called, Patrick McGann.

"We thought we knew he was in there, but we couldn't get to the body because the water is so cold, it's so deep and it flows so fast.

"And so eight or ten times we went down and we eventually cut the logs out of the place underwater and on the last day after we'd almost given up, we cut the last log that was in the chute and the body floated freely.

"And that was five weeks and five days from the time he'd gone missing, so it wasn't a pretty sight, but it was a great relief to get the body out and satisfy the family."

We drove into Babinda and had a look at the shops in the main street, the Didgeridoo Shop was interesting, talking with Judy the owner she told us her son Sani who was only 14 had played didgeredoo at the Opera House, she mentioned that he would be home from School any moment and would play for us. Not wanting to miss this we hung around, Sure enough Sani came in and without a grumble gave us a demonstration of 1/2 a dozen different sized Didgeridoo's. What a talent! Thanks Judy & Sani!

Back at the camp we were delighted to have a Cassowary come in, this is only the 2nd Cassowary we have ever seen in the wild and this was the largest. It stayed around for a while, sometimes in the bush and then would appear in the open. How lucky were we! So sharing this thrill with you ....

Cassowary Bush Turkey......

Maybe not ..... How about a Cassowary Rooster !!

OK just kidding ... Here it is - The Cassowary

Some Cassowary facts, A common name for a flightless, swift-running, pugnacious forest bird of Australia and the Malay Archipelago, smaller than the ostrich and emu. The plumage is dark and glossy and the head and neck unfeathered, wattled, and brilliantly colored, with variations in the coloring in different species. The head bears a horny crest. The female is larger than the male, though both sexes are similar in color. They are monogamous and nest in shallow nests of leaves on the ground in forests. Only the male incubates the female's three to six dark-green eggs. Cassowaries are primarily nocturnal. Their diet consists mainly of fruits and berries, although some eat insects and small animals. Cassowaries are notoriously vicious and have attacked and killed men with their sharp, spike like toenails. They are fast runners, attaining speeds up to 30 mi (48 km) per hr.

Our two nights up we have left Babinda and now at Hull Heads which is near Tully Heads, here is a camp site near the Coast Guard Base, prices have gone up from what was $6 per night to $13pn mentioning this to the caretaker Vickie was told there is now hot showers ....

It is a lovely place though and worth a stay, presently we are the only campers and have set up directly facing the water with the Hammock strung up between two tree's. Rain has just poured down so that has topped up all our water tanks again. It also gives me time to catch up on this blog.

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