Day 44 – 17 Aug 2012 – at Derby

Enjoyed a sleep in and left around 10.00am. It was only 258 kms to Derby so we were not in a hurry. The road was once again in perfect condition and the scenery constantly changed from open plains to thick woodland. We saw the occasional small mountain range.

Warning sign for unfenced road

This is cattle country so we are beginning to see more cattle, although they are not always fenced in so caution has to be taken.

We decided that because it was just 3 hours or so we would not stop for lunch but drive straight through. The weather slowly warmed up outside and was a very warm 32C when we arrived at Derby.

Just as we came up to the Caravan Park, in front of us, booking in also, was a small caravan being pulled by a Chamberlain 9G tractor.

Chamberlain Tractor

There are at least 10 of these out on the road in a convoy. It is a fund raiser for charities, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Ian was talking to one of the drivers. They have driven from southern W.A., right through the Canning Stock Route and will head back down through the desert some time. Each tractor has a couple in it – I have to say I admire the wives. Seems a rather rough trip to me. However, they seem to be enjoying themselves. The tractor is their only means of transport so they drive it into the town and to any tourist venues they wish to visit.

Our Caravan Park is right on the edge of the town with tidal flats right at the back. Derby has a population of nearly 4,000 people. It is renowned for having the highest tides in Australia with the peak differential between high and low tides reaching 11.8 metres. We drove down to the Port but it must have been low tide because it was just all mud flats. The Caravan Park owner said people love to photograph the sunset over the King Sound but we did not bother to stay for that.

Ian tried a few Auto places to get a replacement for the broken wire of the indicator light but they did not have any, so he will have to wait until we get to Broome. However, while we were driving to these places we were able to have a good look around at the town. Once again it is fairly tidy town, with wide roads and an adequate shopping centre of sorts.

We have booked in for 3 nights as we will be doing the Horizontal Waterfalls tour on Sunday night, so once we set up we checked the tourism brochure to see what we could do this afternoon.

Boab Prison Tree

First stop was the notorious prison tree – a boab tree used to hold prisoners securely overnight. This was in the 1880’s. Although it was sad to think why it was used and the cruelty which was used for both black and white prisoners, it was interesting to see the tree. It was HUGE. Boab trees are everywhere in the northern part of W.A. (and parts of N.T.), and we have become used to seeing them, but this was probably the biggest one we have seen – up close anyway.

The next stop was the long stock water trough which was used during the droving days. Over 500 cattle could drink at once at this trough. The trough is 120 metres long and was built in 1917. It was originally filled from bore water, but when the pressure dropped off, it now has to be pumped by a windmill.

Large stock trough

It was a nice quiet day today. There are still a few things we can do to fill in the time until Sunday afternoon. We are enjoying being able to see a good television picture again. It has been over a week since we received a good reception, so we are pleased to be able to watch the Friday night football. WE have no idea of world events – can’t remember the last time we read a newspaper!

Ian has a cousin who lives in Perth but winters in Broome. She has a house at Cable Beach. Ian rang her tonight and found out that one of his other cousins (her sister Leonie – and her family) is visiting Maureen as well. So we have been invited out for tea on Monday night. That will be good to catch up with them again. We only ever seem to meet at funerals lately!

Love to all, Janese and Ian

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