Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
19 August 2011 - Barcaldine to Charleville
A cold night followed by a cold, bright morning. The Pathfinder outside temperature gauge was reading 6°C as we left Barcaldine on the Landsborough Highway with Charleville 406 kilometres away as our destination for the day with Blackall as the immediate destination, then Tambo and Augathella. The road was flat in long, straight sections, with two lanes of bitumen mostly uneven. Our usual speed of just over 90 kph was out of the question and about 82 kph was the best we could do. Traffic was light; mostly heavy transports with a few motorhomes and caravans. This was the first day for several weeks that caravans and motorhomes did not outnumber other vehicle types on the road.

The road passed through open paddocks, many with substantial numbers of woody weeds, others paddocks had substantial loads of what appeared to be regrowth after clearance. We expected to see cattle grazing but the first cattle were seen after nearly 100 kilometres as we were approaching Blackall. Many roadkill kangaroos were dead on or beside the road; up to five or six crows, and sometimes a wedge-tailed eagle, were feeding on freshly-killed carcasses. No wonder the crows are glossy and plump if they have this unlimited supply of meat.
Grassland Grassland near the road north of Tambo; the line of gum trees is probably a creek. 24° 41' 32"S, 145° 58'34"E, elevation 347 metres.

We had heard in Barcaldine that the emus in the area had experienced a good breeding season. We saw evidence of growing emu numbers in several flocks near the road (in fenced paddocks so they were not an immediate problem on the road). More importantly, we passed a group of eight or ten emu chicks under the watchful eye of their father; if other emu broods are that size, and they all reach maturity, there will be road-kill emus as well as kangaroos.

Wide load A wide load reported by the escort vehicle to be 5.2 metres wide. We cleared the bitumen while it passed.

Travelling Australia - 19 Aug 2011, Barcaldine to Charleville - page 2
After refuelling at Tambo we continued towards Augathella; the road was the same, generally bumpy to the extent that sometimes the last trailer of oncoming road trains was moving alarmingly in its lane. Most vehicles were keeping their speed down to about 80 kph.

Vegetation was slowly changing with poplar box (a gum tree with circular, dark green leaves), previously widespread but in limited numbers, becoming very common along the road and around rest areas. We were surprised to see a few bottle trees in paddocks, expecting this area to be a bit cold for them. Prickly pear was widely distributed but not in large numbers; most pear was turning yellow or beginning to shrivel, presumably after being poisoned.

Just past Augathella the road divided with the left fork going to Morven and the right to Charleville; we turned along the right fork; after having become used to fairly poor roads it was a surprise to find a reasonably good road on which 85 to 90 kph was comfortable. On this road we met a low loader carrying a piece of mining machinery giving an overall width of 5.2 metres taking up most of both lanes; the escort vehicle ahead of the low-loader advised us on the radio to get right off the road so we took that advice and stopped to watch the load go past. The weather by now was cloudy and windy and there seemed to be some sort of change coming although there was no rain.

From Augathella to Charleville the road ran parallel to the Warrego River and close enough to the river to be inside the band of gum trees on either side of the river. The Moreton Bay Ash (Corymbia tessellaris ), with distinctive white upper bark and two to three metres of dark scaly bark at the base of the trunk, was an important component of this woodland; cypress with dark green foliage was also present in some numbers as well as scattered mulga. After we turned onto the Adavale Road towards the caravan park we were going away from the Warrrego River and were soon passing through the mulga dominating this part of Queensland.

At the Evening Star Caravan Park we were directed to one of their large, drive-through sites and were soon set up.

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