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PUNSAND BAY TO HEATHLAND RANGER STATION ROAD

March 28, 2014

The next day we packed a thermos, cut lunch & and headed off to the “Tip”, Somerset Bay & where ever else we had time to visit.

Since 2009 every sign now has the aboriginal name the original name.
There were beautiful rain forests driving through here, some over hanging branches but not a problem.

Some of these photos (with both of us in) are Heathers.
The walk is relatively easy to the top and made much easier with our walking sticks! The views once at the top were not as good as if it had not been overcast at times.

Loved the effect of the suns rays coming through the cloud on to the water. There are various mounds of stones & visitors usually add one of their own to the top. Naturally we did the same.

Last photo is from 2009. This sign almost rusted through & was pinched not long after we were there in 2009.

Somerset was our next port of call after travelling through more beautiful rain forest.

The tiny boat below was taking locals back to Thursday Is, through shark infested waters.

The memorial plaque above has a family history which I will explain on our way back south. It concerns a second cousin of mine who leased Shellburn Bay years ago.

Somerset, is where Captain Jardine’s two eldest sons, Frank and Alec, would head the team on the drive and on the 11th October 1864 they set out from Carpentaria Downs Station near Rockhampton with 250 head of cattle and 41 horses. It proved to be one of the most incredible tests of endurance recorded in Australian exploration. Frank and Alec finally arrived at Somerset on 2nd March 1865. In recognition of his trek overland with the cattle, Frank Jardine was granted grazing land West of Somerset; the property was named “Lockerbie”. In 1877 the property at Somerset was abandoned with the administration being transferred to Thursday Island. Descendants of the Jardines lived in the residence for many years, then it was leased out and finally destroyed by fire in 1960 a sad end to a fine old Homestead

After a wander around Somerset we just followed a track, not knowing where it would take us!

We got to a beautiful, very windy spot called Fly Point where we set up & had out lunch while Keith & Bruce explored. They came across this ships debris & decided, after examining the electric wires etc that it was probably NOT from the Endeavour! Clever men.
Ok we had been told before we left for the day that we could make this a round trip after Somerset we were told where to find another road so as not to travel back the same way. Anyway after lunch we followed our noses and found, what we thought, was the beach we had to drive along then take the road out.

Just look at the rubbish that comes ashore with the tide!
Now, we could just make out 2 different tracks leading off from this beach so we followed Keith but he did not get far!

The men decided to have a walk along the other track but it proved to be useless as well.

Ok so we go home the way we came! a pity as beautiful rain forests to drive through.

Just after we got back a helicopter pilot came down the beach looking for another couple to make up the number for a 20min flight. As it was too expensive for us we declined but Keith & Heather jumped at the chance, even though a little nervous about chopper flying but we managed to convince them it was great.

Well that was the last day of our “tip” adventure so started packing up read to leave in the am. Back down to Bamaga for supplies but the cargo boat still had not arrived so not even a tomato was to be had anywhere, let along any fruit.
Back down to the ferry to show our tickets then headed south with the first stop going to be to the east coast to see Captain Billy’s Landing.

This road was perfect!

It is very evident when there is gravel coming up- the black top gets very red. This was a rather long stretch of sealed road which was unexpected. In 2009 this part of the northern bypass was really very poor. The corrugations were big as well as being too far apart to glide over the top.
We soon cane to the turn off to the east coast. This would not have been a good road with a van because there were a lot of overhanging trees.

Once again travelling through rain forest, a few gully with water, narrow road on blind corners so kept using the UHF to advise that there were approaching vehicles travelling east.

Great view from up here, but oh so windy and no better when we got down to sea level. This is the spot where we wanted to stop but could not get site to pay for which was ridiculous as there were only a couple of others there & they said they were not stopping.

Rather a steep hill down to the camp spot but it really was a beautiful spot for a few days.

The remains of the wharf are still evident.

The above memorial was not east to get a photo- had to lie on Stomach & lean over the cliff top. Bruce was holding my feet.
Ok on our way out to the highway again with a stop at Mt Tozer Lookout. Some of the trees we stopped to look at were so tall, had to stitch photos to get them in one photo.

We had decided to head down to the Heathland ranger turnoff for the night.

The plaque back up at Somerset refers to the same names on this plaque, placed here by my second cousin, Eileen Nixon (nee Chapman). She & her husband got a 20

year lease on Shellburn Station, which went from here to the coast & top was about the road into captain Billy’s Landing. When the lease was up the Government wanted to take it back but Eileen took them to court because they wanted to keep working the property. She got a huge settlement after many years of court cases. She was one lady who beat the government. I first met her in GIn GIn in 1989 at a Chapman reunion. We saw her whenever we were up north & the last time was this trip. She has now died. We would have liked to go into the old homestead but not possible as roads totally over grown. For many years she was very heavily involved with Agforce.
All for this blog.

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