The day it rained kangaroo chunks

OK, so things were going really well, we’d had a great stay in Longreach and were making our way home, heading towards Charleville to stay for the night. Traffic wasn’t too bad, we were having fun and we were enjoying the last few days of our holiday …… and then it happened ….. that moment you never think will happen …… that moment when it rains kangaroo chunks all over the 4WD! 

Driving on outback roads, you see roadkill all the time, it’s nothing new and quite often skippy is laying dead in the middle of the road. Whilst not ideal, it’s a situation you can generally deal with and drive around him.

In all of our years of travel, this is the first time that plan hasn’t exactly worked! You see, this time Mr dead kangaroo was laying in the middle of the other side of the road. A case of very unfortunate timing meant that us and a road train ended up side by side and he had no choice but to drive over it.

Initially we thought he missed it, but we soon realised we were wrong when bits of kangaroo pieces and blood hit the windscreen ….. yes it started raining kangaroo chunks (with numerous blood splatters over the 4WD and camper trailer!) 🤮 Gotta love outback travel!

Anyway, enough of flying kangaroo chunks! …….. that wasn’t all that happened that day!

We called into a little town call Tambo, the oldest town in the Central West region of QLD …. first stop was The Royal Carrangarra Hotel, which happens to be the oldest licensed site in Central Western Outback Queensland.

Tambo is a small country town with only a few hundred people, but it’s a nice little town with many historical buildings and great picnic areas along the Barcoo.

I’m guessing most people wouldn’t have even heard of Tambo, but this is the location of the first ever Qantas plane crash. Whilst Qantas has never had a fatal jet airliner accident, they did suffer several losses in their early days.

On 24 March 1927 the DH9C G-AUED was on a regular route between Charleville to Cloncurry and while attempting to land on the clay-pan that serves as Tambo’s airstrip, it was seen to suddenly dive into the ground. All on board died in the crash.

A monument just out of town marks the site of the crash.

We arrived in Charleville and headed just out of town to a free camp we heard of called, ‘Rock Pool’. There were quite a few other vans and trailers there but there was plenty of room for us to all be spread out. We found a little spot down the back and set up, lit the fire, cracked a beer and relaxed for the night.

The night sky out this way is absolutely incredible, it’s like the stars are surrounding you and falling down on you, like you could just reach up and grab them. It’s an amazing sight and something everyone has to experience.

Finished the night with waffle cones filled with gooey chocolatey marshmallowy goodness cooked over the campfire ….. mmmmmm yum!

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Tackling the Tele – WWII Plane Wrecks

There are a few WW2 plane wrecks around the area, the easiest to find is the DC3 that crashed in 1945.  This one is situated just off the side of the road to the Bamaga Airport.

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The DC3 aircraft, operated by the RAAF, departed Archerfield Airport in Brisbane en route to New Guinea.  On 5th May 1945, the plane clipped some trees and crashed at this site in Bamaga and all on board were killed.

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From what we’ve read, the RAAF personnel killed were initially buried at Jackey Jackey War Cemetery, but were later relocated to the Townsville War Cemetery.  Jackey Jackey Airfield (now known as Bamaga Airport) was named after Jackey Jackey, the Aboriginal friend of Edmund Kennedy, and the only survivor of the Kennedy expedition.

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This particular wreck is fairly well-preserved and the most intact of the wrecks.

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After checking out the maps it looked like there were two more wrecks located out past the airport so we went in search of these.  After venturing off into the bush we ended up finding the Beaufort Bomber.

As you drive through the bush you pass numerous fuel dumps from WWII.  There are literally thousands of rusting fuel drums lying around.

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We then tried to follow our paper maps to make our way to the second plane wreck in this area, a Kittyhawk.  Our track was gradually getting deeper into the forest and the track was getting narrow and very overgrown.  After weaving our way through the bush on tracks that looked like they hadn’t been driven in years, we finally worked out why they looked that way …. the track was blocked off!!  Now that was fun trying to turn four 4WD’s around on a tight track …. and I meant tight, at times our brush bars were nearly touching trees on either side of the track as we were driving.

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We later heard that the third plane wreck has now possibly been removed.

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Both planes have fences around them, but other than that they are open to the elements and it’s amazing how intact these planes actually still are.  If this was in Sydney they would have been vandalised, covered in graffiti, stolen or scooped up and placed in a museum, which is great for preservation, but you lose some of that history and ‘feeling’ of being there.  This is what we both absolutely love about remote travel, most people actually have respect and it’s because of this that these important sites can remain.

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Both of these planes lay where they crashed, it’s quite a sobering and eerie feeling to know that you are standing in the exact place that people lost their lives.  At the same time though, it’s great that these crash sites are still there and we can pay our respects.  Each site has a plaque and it’s a nice memorial to the personnel who died in the plane crashes, selfless men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.


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