Day 23: Sun 20 July 2014: Adels Grove (Lawn Hill National Park - Boojamulla)
Lawn Hill, Queensland
We arose early and took the tour to Riversleigh D Site - Mammal fossils. This area was an inland waterway about 25 million years ago. Due to the limey mud, it's very good at preserving bones. Once you know what you are looking for, they are everywhere! Giant birds, bigger than an emu, freshwater crocs 7m long, large snapping turtles, relatives of which still exist somewhere. Stomatolite fossils, the cyanobacteria that first made oxygen.
Behind the limestone fossils, there's another section where the rock is 500 million years old. It contains other stuff like worm castings and trilobites. I would have liked to spend a lot more time here just wondering around to see what I could see. It's world heritage listed national park. A team from UNSW was here just last week on a dig and they found 2 pallet loads of fossils to take back.
We went on to the Gregory river crossing for morning tea. There are muscle shells like leaves on the ground - I wondered whether they are eaten by other animals or by people. The guide, Dee, explained the history of Chinese and Afghan settlers from the end of the 19th century. There are aboriginal cave painting sites you can go up to - we'll try to find these later. Now, it's all a huge cattle lease of 1.6 million acres. It's run by a company and is under the control of the Waanyi people.
On the way home, we stopped at a 'billabong' which was just a muddy dam, but there was a huge variety of birds. We saw finches, great heron, a brown kite, flocks of budgies and cockatiels.
We did the nature walk along the creek and up the hill to the lookout. The view of the surrounding hills is pretty good but I was most impressed with the giant termite mounds. There's one about 2x my height just off the track.
There's phone reception at the top of the hill. Was able to get a call through to Dave Godbolt but wish I hadn't. Terrible news that someone shot down a Malaysian Airlines plane over the Ukraine with a surface to air missile and 300 people were killed including 28 Australians. A pathologist from Toowoomba called Roger Guard and his wife were among them. Roger's son is David Guard, our registrar at TPCH. You wouldn't believe it if it was in a novel.
We had dinner at the restaurant - roast beef and veg with apricot strudel and icecream. Another nice night with some fun, mostly provided by J & C. When they are in comic form, it's very funny. They both have a good sense of comic timing and are quick with a funny comment. They both love to laugh like their mum. I'm starting to enjoy sitting down for a meal with everyone very much.
The dominance of the Toyota is true. We have seen a wide variety of vehicles on the trip up to and including Subaru, VW, Jeep, Hyundai and even Kia but Toyotas are by far the most common. Today, we had a chat over morning tea with a GN who is driving a brand new Jeep Grand with the 8 speed box. He was friendly and funny: he suggested sending the wife across the flowing river crossing on foot first, to check for holes and crocs! We got into a chat about cars and he said he did his windscreen in Darwin. He had to pay $1700 to order the replacement glass which would come from Sydney and take 2 weeks and then he had to pay to have it fitted as well. Remembering our stop at Mitsubishi in Ingham, I'm pretty happy I chose a Mitsubishi.
Picture: C and A at Riversleigh