Jules' pictures - 1998

Mount Mulligan Station

August 1998 - a few quick pics from my trip with Ma (Jessie) to a cattle station out West from Cairns, Queensland.

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We left the Cairns razzle-dazzle and its surrounding lush rainforest behind, driving up over the coastal ranges ...

... out west where there is wide open space, grey-green bush and red dust ...

... and a country welcome for farm-stay guests from our host, Owen Rankine, at Mount Mulligan Station.

Mount Mulligan Station is a working cattle station, where some 1500 head of Brahmin-cross cattle roam the bush, mostly fending for themselves between musterings, except for a little supplementary feeding for young animals when needed.

Farm-stay guests can watch the varied farm activities, or avoid them if they prefer. (Owen told us of the dismay of some previous visitors who decided to watch cattle being branded - they found it very disturbing to their city sensitivities.)

But while farm work goes on, you can also ride horses, swim in the dam, walk for miles, or just take it easy on the shady verandah.

For a touch of history I wandered around the old Mount Mulligan Mine site, which was surrounded by a busy little town earlier this century. Of that town, the only remaining building today is the former hospital, which now serves as the station homestead.

Another Mount Mulligan activity - making your own didgeridoo - harks back to ancient Aboriginal traditions, but has been enthusiastically adopted and adapted by 1990's backpacker travellers.


We were lucky to be able to watch and listen to Kobi, one such traveller who was spending a few weeks at the station while we were there. He had already made himself a couple of didgeridoos and had learnt to play them very well. The station horses also seemed to have developed quite a taste for didge music!

Way-out-west and traditional as some things are out at the station, today's technology is part of it too.
During our stay, a friend of Owen's dropped in for a chat - by helicopter. It turned out, the friend's business is mustering cattle by helicopter - the most practical way, nowadays, on some of the huge properties to the north and west of here.

With my laptop computer and modem we tried to set up Owen's new internet connection via the Mount Mulligan VHF telephone (it's way beyond the end of the normal phone lines). And although we didn't succeed, we did learn that it will soon be possible - although slow by modern data standards - once his ISP makes some changes to the modems at their end. I'm still hoping to get an email from Owen one of these days, to say it really is working!
(See Contacting Mount Mulligan for further news on this.)

Meanwhile, in between putting out feed for his weaner cattle, and fixing a broken spring on his trailer, Owen took time out to tune the engine of his new ultralight, with which he will soon be offering scenic flights as another activity for guests.

As you can see in the photos, he needed some technical advice from Ma, and then got the engine running perfectly. Later he zoomed off to practice take offs and landings in a rising breeze - quite an aviation display with the only audience being Ma, myself and a few cattle nearby.

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