Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
27 June 2011 - Hughenden to Richmond
The morning was bright and sunny with a blue sky but cold wind. Cloud covering much of the sky at sunset yesterday had gone. Wind strength was much reduced from that of the previous three days which had been so strong that the awning had begun flapping and I had rolled it up to stop the noise and in case the wind became even stronger. Yesterday Hughenden airport was recording 30 kph wind gusting 50 kph and I had stayed at the van in case increased wind caused problems. Today the wind was not as strong but would be a useful tail wind giving us better fuel consumption.

Leaving the caravan park we went to the dump point to empty the toilet cassette then stopped in town to have coffee, draw some money from the bank agency at the post office, buy newspapers and visit the bakery before heading off on the road towards Mt Isa with Richmond as the destination.

The road to Richmond ran through rolling Mitchell Grass Plains with thinly scattered trees. We saw a handful of cattle. The grass is now a uniform yellow colour and is beginning to look dry. It is ironic that, despite the recent flooding with many roads still under repair after flood damage, the country has dried out substantially, rainfall is below average and more rain is needed.

The road is a two-lane bitumen with a mostly reasonable surface, but for a major interstate highway it really isn't very good. Traffic was light; we passed 12 caravans, one motorhome, one camper trailer and one fifth-wheeler going the other way. There was a handful of trucks and a few sedans in both directions. The few truckies we heard on the UHF radio commented on how quiet the road was.

Arriving in Richmond we went to the caravan park to check in for one night. We had achieved 19.1 litres/100 kilometres for the morning's drive; as expected the tail wind had pushed us along.

Richmond is a township of about 780 people in the Shire of Richmond. This is primarily an agricultural area concentrating on raising and exporting cattle feeding on the extensive grasslands covering the shire. The area was discovered by William Landsborough in 1862 while searching for Burke and Wills and settlement quickly followed his favourable reports.

Richmond is well known for fossils; mostly of animals living in and near an inland sea covering this region 100 million years ago. Fossils are displayed at Kronosaurus Korner which is Richmond's main tourist attraction (the Kronosaurus was a large marine animal at the top of the food chain; the head alone was more than 2 metres long and the large teeth enabled it to eat any other animal in the sea). Visitors are encouraged to look for fossils near the town and the term 'fossicking' in Richmond means looking for fossils; usually in areas designated for public use.

Near Kronosaurus Korner is a reconstruction of a homestead originally built at a pastoral property, Cambridge Downs, near Richmond in the 1880s. The building is of solid stone walls with barred windows intended to deter attacks by natives. The replica homestead is also a Heritage Display Centre containing an interesting collection of historical items and information. Behind the replica a timber barn holds a reconstructed Cobb & Co coach and a wool dray.

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