13TH to18 TH July 1861. Burke and ———–
13-18 July 1861 – Burke & Wills Camp 119, Normanton
The Victorian Exploring Expedition of 1860-61, more widely known as the Burke & Wills Expedition, left Melbourne on 20 August 1860 with the aim of crossing to the northern coastline of Australia at the Gulf of Carpentaria, discovering new land on the way. Four members of the party (Robert O’Hara Burke, William John Wills, John King and Charley Grey) eventually arrived on the banks of the Little Bynoe River, about 40 kilometres by road from present-day Normanton on 8 February 1861 and established Camp 119 (camps were numbering in succession; Camp 75 was at Cooper Creek). Burke decided to make this the most northerly camp for the expedition; he and Wills walked further north to try and reach the sea through mangroves which proved boggy and impenetrable. The best they could do was to taste the salty sea-water and watch the tide rise and fall by eight inches as confirmation they had reached the sea before returning to Camp 119 on 12 February.
Little did they know if they had kept their boats ( they carried several boats from Victoria and destroyed them along the way) they could have rowed them about 110 Klms up the river to Paradise. Karumba Point, where the out back meets the sea.
Fast Forward to 24TH of February 2013!!
Billy ( Nomad) Smith and his dear wife Mavis riding comfortably in their 2011 Toyota land Cruiser, pulling their 25 foot van arrived at Normanton at 12.30 pm having left Mt Surprise at 8.am. On the all bitumen road they had made good time and were looking to have a bite and maybe a quick throat lubricator. So a quick stop at the local pub was mandatory. After filling up the Toyota at the local gas station they continued on there way to Karumba just 70 K’s up the road. On the way from Mount Surprise they had seen some great sites. Birds a plenty including Sea Eagles and Wedge tailed Eagles and many more interesting species. Free range cattle, Kangaroos, wild pigs, emus and a couple of large lizards.
Arriving at Karumba and Karumba Point, Bill and Mavis pulled into Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park. Just 100 or so metres from the beach and the boat ramp. Some say the best caravan park in the outback and probably the best fishing spot in Australia and one of the best in the world.
After booking in to Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park and setting up they wandered up to the local Tavern only 300 hundred metres up the road and had a late lunch of battered Barramundi with chips and a side salad. The steaks looked great but they thought they will check them out tomorrow night for dinner and whilst there, can then have a bet on the TAB and beat the living so and so out of the Pokies in the Tavern. Later that day they watched a fantastic sunset over the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Back to the park, met some new friends, a bottle of red despatched and into bed at 9 pm.
Before bed they noticed the park was very well maintained, had shady palm trees, a great swimming pool, good sites and absolutely spotless toilets and the management and staff were so helpful. The park staff took them down to their site and helped them back the van in therefore avoiding the usual verbal joust between Bill and the Missus.
Prior to bed the Tinnie was set up for tomorrow morning to hit the water and catch a big one. Maybe a big black Jew, a 1 metre Spanish Mackeral, a big Grunter or why not a real big Barra. Probably see a croc or two on the way.
Man it’s tough out here exploring the outback!! I knew we should have kept those boats and maybe a few prawns or mullet for bait.
B and W