Day 12 saw us leave Musgrave Roadhouse for the drive to Elim Beach. This was a relatively long drive and there was plenty to stop and look at throughout the drive. The days drive took us through the Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, via Lakefield, New Laura, Old Laura and the Battle Camp Road.
Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, or simply Lakefield National Park as most people know it, is another example of the vast and varying landscape of this region of Australia. During the wet season, this relatively flat area is closed as the various rivers merge and flood the area.
As the dry season approaches, the water dries up and leaves many lagoons and waterholes, which create perfect little pockets for the abundance of wildlife that makes its home in this area. Many of the lagoons are filled with beautiful water lilies, as well as many species of birds and of course Mr Crocodile and his many mates!
The one thing you will notice as you drive through Lakefield is the huge termite mounds, they are everywhere. At times there are so many of them and they are all perfectly positioned to look like little tombstones. It looks like you are driving past a giant graveyard!
Battle Camp Road gets its name from a 1870’s skirmish between an estimated 500 Aboriginal warriors and a well armed force of 130 miners and police who had camped the night on their way to the Palmer River Goldfields. The Aborigines received a big lesson in the superiority of repeating rifles, over their stone age armoury. After their loss on that night, the Aboriginies never again attempted a massed frontal assault as a means of ridding themselves of the invaders, instead opting for guerrilla tactics.
Old Laura Homestead Laura Station was established in the 1870’s to provide beef for the Palmer River Goldfield. In 1879 a lease was issued to Fergus O’Beirne, who by the time of his death, had built a herd of 8000 cattle. The oldest part of the homestead dates back to 1892. It was abandoned in the mid 1960’s and was rebuilt in 1986 after being severely vandalised.
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