Sep 1 to 7 2011 We arrive at the Wallace Caravan Park in Maryborough for the annual Queensland Vets Golf Championships. There are over 20 players at this event from our own home golf club at Pelican Waters. We are joined at the caravan park by Jeff and Faye Chappell, Dick Hancock and Marilyn Fitzpatrick. Dick and Marilyn have a unique camp fire called the ‘Pig’. It is made out of a 9 kg gas cylinder. We all gather around the Pig each evening for a catch up, a drink (or 2) and nibbles. Marilyn impressed all one evening with her traditional damper – delicious with golden syrup.
Maryborough has some amazing history and beautiful colonial architecture. For example, even though it is 20 kms up river from the coast, it was the second largest immigration port in Australia in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. We went on a 2 hour guided tour of the city (walking !) and learned a lot of the history. The local sugar industry was founded on the import of native labourers from Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait, Vanuatu and the Solomons (amongst others). Unfortunately, most of these labourers were not treated well – average salary was 6 pounds per year, paid half yearly.
Maryborough has another unusual claim to fame. The author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers, was born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough in 1899 where her father was a local bank manager. A life size bronze statue of Mary Poppins stands at the corner of the road where the author was born.
Most people will have heard about the terrible floods in Queensland earlier this year. Since Maryborough is situated on a large river (the Mary) and is also quite close to the coast, it was affected quite badly. The effect of the floods can be imagined if you look at the 2 photos below. They show the side of a house that sits 26 metres above the normal river level. This year the water just reached the bottom of the house at 26 metres above normal level. However, the record flood was in 1893 at nearly 42 metres above normal.
Back to the golf tournament, played over 2 days, with Pelican Waters Golf Club very well represented with over 20 players. 9 separate golfers from PWGC won individual prizes. An excellent result for the club.
Aug 21 2011 Left lovely Lake Maraboon and headed east to the coast for a short stay at Yeppoon.
Yeppoon is the gateway to the Capricorn Coast. The town has a charming esplanade with lovely views over to Great Keppell Island on the Barrier Reef. On the way we stopped at Blackwater which is the centre of Queensland’s coal industry. There was a very interesting museum about the history of coal mining in the area which (strangely) also had a Japanese Garden attached. This celebrated Blackwater’s links to a sister city in Japan.
One of the most interesting tourist sites in Yeppoon is the ‘Singing Ship’. This is a sculpture which incorporates organ pipes which react with the wind to create musical notes. The sculpture was erected to commemorate Capt James Cook’s discovery and naming of nearby Keppel Bay in May 1770.
Imagine our complete surprise when, on setting up the caravan site we were approached by a couple who have been travelling all over the north of Australia since the beginning of June. Jeff and Faye Chappell are friends we know from our golf club back in Pelican Waters ! Jeff and Bob played golf with the local vets at Yeppoon Golf Club and then all 4 of us played at the Capricorn Resort Course which has lots of kangaroos.
We also visited (but did not play) the only 18 hole golf course in Australia that has synthetic greens – the Zilzie Golf Club.