Well the plan was to head for Merluna Station to stay the night but we got there by 11 am n there was nothing happening all day in regard to station cattle work etc n all looked very quiet so we made the decision to keep moving on down to Laura as this would give us more options over coming days with the extra time. This has proved to be a good decision already as we've had a great night at Quinkin Pub followed by exploring Split Rock n Maytown today. We had a Big day of driving 4 Charlie n Bill, the last dirt of the Development Rd! It certainly has been fun especially for the guys. Charlie has learnt so much about our vehicle as well as 4W Driving! He's done great! We ended staying behind the Quinkin Pub which was a great destination n watering hole to wet the dust. After setting up camp in 10 minutes, (we've both got that down pat now) we headed to the pub n ended up having a chill out evening with a few drinks n a great pub meal. We also met a lovely lady called Kim who joined us, she's travelling to the Cape on her own from Deliliquin. What an interesting lady with an interesting life story. After a good sleep n pack up we investigated the Quinkin Cultural Centre before adventuring out to the Split Rock Aboriginal Art Centre where we walked in 400 metres to the rock painting galleries that were in the natural overhangs of massive fallen boulders. It would be amazing to know just how long these had been there.... A distinct feature of the paintings were the images of the Quinkins or spirit people. They also displayed human n animal paintings. The Palmer River Goldfield has long been a fascinating story in Australian history but I've had limited knowledge of just how large this was. Today we got onto the dirt again n I even drove the 80 km on it to Maytown! Gold was discovered here on the Palmer by James Mulligan in 1873. Which pre-empted the biggest gold rush in Australian history! We investigated various sections of town layout and what a wonderful couple of hours we had retracing the streets and layout of Maytown. Incredibly even though so very remote even by today's standards more than 10000 people lived in this Maytown area at the height of the Goldrush by 1875! It's hard to imagine just how challenging life at this time and in these circumstances would have been...dealing with the extreme seasons of Wet & Dry, lack of good water n food & many other basic needs that we all take for granted! Our visit to Maytown has made need enthusiastic to research this whole area & period of time in Australian history. Another interesting feature was just how many Chinese were in Australia either gold panning or other money seeking ventures like market gardening. The remnants of the Chinese cemetery is testimony to that! Once again this was a shamed period in Australian history in regard to our interaction with the Aboriginal people,the mistreatment at the least and the carnage at its worst....so sad that these people who had lived in harmony with the land for 10's of thousands of years had their lives turned upside down with European invasion. In spite of such musings today's visit to Maytown was awesome. I can't believe how much evidence of the town was still to be seen as you wandered around the area, remnants of buildings, bottles, machinery and much more. What a great experience, somehow Maytown kind of reminds me of Pompeii...
From Maytown Charlie drove back out to the Development Rd and continued heading south with our new destination for the night being Mount Carbine where we stayed at the beautiful little caravan & camping park there, it was good value and lovely amenities. We had a campfire & reminisced about our interesting adventures from our day's exploring. Much cooler sleep tonight as we are on the tablelands behind Cairns.