Days 20 21 22 Roebourne – Cleaverville – Roebourne




Our Indian Ocean camp at Cleaverville

The landform on the horizon is Cape Lambert and it was from near there where we began the iron ore railway survey in 1969.

Just prior to sunset we walked down to the beach and did a little beachcombing. One old boy we met there was scratching around in the shell line and specialised in collecting a specific shell. In a few short minutes he told us he was a jockey, he went from seven stone to ten stone which meant he could no longer ride, he celebrated his fiftieth wedding anniversary recently, he lived in a van park near Coffs Harbour, described in detail what illnesses five of his mates had died from in the last twelve months and that he was seventy four.   After his bombardment which wasn’t all that interesting, I have decided to write more and talk less lest I get like the shell collector in my old age.

Of all the travellers we have met on the road so far, we seem to have the best rapport with the overseas visitors, mostly young people.  We are able to have constructive conversations with them. These travellers are very much attuned to the world. They have an insatiable appetite for information.  The two most common points we are asked to comment on relate to asylum seekers and the plight of the indigenous people.  The latter is foremost in their mind because they have usually been to visited Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine where the results of our disenfranchised Aboriginal people are on show for all to see.

In the sea of caravans, campervans and big rigs we see parked tow ball to tow ball in caravan parks there are some that have an Australian flag flying and having a curious mind I ask why.

I’m not the first to ask either. Last Australia Day the Western Australian University polled people who put flags on their cars as to why they did it and the results indicated that a big proportion of flag flyers were more likely to be racists. The results of the survey were broadcast by the ABC, which caused fiery debate within a number of Internet chat groups. Some agreed with the results, others said,  ‘We fly the flag because we are Australians and we are proud of our country’.  The debate went on with topics such as ‘it’s time for a new flag’ and ‘you are not an Australian unless you are born here’. Of course all poll results are subject to misinterpretation, it depends how you ask the questions. However I get a feeling they were right because typical conversations with travellers (some flag wavers) often get around to immigration. ‘If they come to our country they should live like us Australians do’, referring to the fact that the government is letting too many foreigners into the country who don’t conform to Australian ways.  What are ‘Australian ways’? It’s a good question and makes me think, what is a typical Australian and how do we live? I doubt if anyone could define it.

If flag flying means nationalistic tendenciesI don’t like it much because it and blind faith are two evils of the world. Horrendous crimes against humanity have been, and are still being, committed under these banners.

Whilst still on the flag theme, the day after the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney Bev and I were guest speakers at a senior college in Bern Switzerland and before I could get on with my spiel students questioned us about the riots. One questioned why the perpetrators were waving Australian flags.  Unfortunately those who provoked the riots had adopted the flag as their symbol.  The same situation has evolved in Britain; the right wing skinheads have adopted the Union Jack as their symbol.

Sturt desert pea on the beach

 The story goes that some Aboriginal men went hunting and didn’t return so the wives of the men decorated themselves with red ochre and went looking for them.  The black portion is their dilly bag.

The story goes that some Aboriginal men went hunting and didn’t return so the wives of the men decorated themselves with red ochre and went looking for them.  The black portion is their dilly bag.

Down on the beach




 Another fine morning.  The weather up these parts can get repetitively boring though blue cloudless days for weeks on end are better than rain.

Bev and I went beachcombing again this morning and we discovered an area of immense interest from a geological and marine point of view.  The rocks along the beachfront are a conglomeration of iron ore (stands to reason as we are in iron ore country) and sandstone.

Ironstone and sandstone conglomerate

A sculpture of nature

Chunk of iron ore

Ironstone shoreline

The latest mining proposal being put forward by mining interests is to mine minerals on the sea bed.  Around Groote Eylandt mining companies are investigating the feasibility of mining manganese on the sea floor.

Bev doing what she loves, poking around  rocks.

How old would this mangrove be?


I know you are asking yourself why I am going on about pneumatophores.  In this case I simply wanted to include Bev’s great picture.  I also think it is another great piece of nature’s sculpture.

Mangrove root system. The trunk, cable roots, support roots and pneumatophores.

The marine environment is equally interesting too. It seems that at one time there was a brain coral reef here but the top half of the coral has been shaved off. It’s like a road grader has passed across and levelled the reef flat.

Shaved brain coral

Dead brain coral

Beachcombing was the extent of our exercise today. We did intend launching a kayak but a stiff west wind thwarted those plans; maybe early tomorrow before we pull out we might be able to wet a paddle.  This location has been a good spot to work at the blog and generally loll around, the only disadvantage of this location is generators. Some of the caravanners have a generator running all day and part of the night. I understand that some of the rigs have a full size refrigerator, washing machine, TV, DVD players, hot and cold running water and a kitchen with mod cons such as electric jug, toaster and microwave oven.  If they have this much gadgetry they need a lot of power and a 240v generator is required to keep up with the demand.

Our power needs are provided adequately by a second battery which runs a 12v fridge all day, an LED light at night and is capable of charging Bev’s iPad, phone and my laptop. To recharge all we have to do is go for a half hour drive. Not as intrusive as a generator!

Sea fog dew drove us into our tent early tonight. We are both suffering the after effects of a cold so an early night won’t hurt us.  Tomorrow we go into Roebourne and do some washing.

DAY 22      MONDAY 13TH AUGUST 2012


 Good night last night once the caravanners’ generators were switched off. It is much more stimulating listening to the waves caressing the coral sands than the clatter of a two-stroke motor.

The wind died off overnight and the sea was, to use a common cliché, as calm as a millpond this morning.  We thought today we would go kayaking but the generators started just after sunrise and we couldn’t bear another minute of the racket so we pulled up traps and were on the road by around 8-00.  I feel that the local shire councils do not really cater for visitors like us; they’re more inclined to cater for caravans and motor homes but they want them in their proper place, in designated areas or in caravan parks.  One shire brochure stipulated that free camping within twenty kilometres of a town within their shire is illegal and incurred a $200 fine.  I would like to have known more about this law.  Is the twenty kilometres measured from the town boundary or the centre of town and is the twenty kilometres measured as the crow flies or road distance?  I was going to visit a shire office and try and get the facts but somehow Bev manoeuvred me in the opposite direction.

In light of no kayaking we had a day on our hands so we went to Wickham and Point Samson, we were last there with the boys in 1984.

Point Samson

I remember Point Samson for a couple of reasons. A friend was nursing at Wickham hospital and her father decided to take Tim and Toby fishing at Honeymoon Cove. The fishing was a success. When the boys hooked a bream, rather than pull the line in hand over hand they simply ran up the beach until the fish was high and dry.   The old wooden pier we fished from has gone, it burnt in 1994 but the remains have been used in a very impressive sculptural garden.

Piers from old wharf

Fish cut from 5mm thick stainless sheet

Cod made from copper

Often around wharves and piers there is a resident cod and I assume this is the Point Samson one.

In every region there is a community where the eccentrics and arty types congregate. Point Samson seems to be such a town in the Pilbara region. I like it, similar to Wyndham in the Kimberley.

Excellent use of space.

A sample of Point Samson ‘eccentric architecture’.

I’m not sure there is a classification for this style of architecture. I think I will call it ‘The Eccentric Era’.

Knowing Bev  wanted to do some clothes washing I thought we might stay at a caravan park tonight. The only option was the park at Roebourne.  Bev enquired if a tent site was available, there was but she suggested I confirm if it was suitable. I didn’t like it much because we had to park the car on one side of a fence and put the tent on the other side but I knew she wanted to do the washing so I said OK.   With the washing done and us showered I suggested we go back to our Harding River Camp, and although we had paid for the site we didn’t stay.  We have never done that before.

Harding river campfire. One of Bev’s special effects photographs.


About tbeartravels

It's been said that I know a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about little things. I hope I can share some of this knowledge with you as we travel.
This entry was posted in Odyssey #1 2012: Australia Europe. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Days 20 21 22 Roebourne – Cleaverville – Roebourne

  1. Love the photos mate; awesome. How good is Cleaverville? It’s the best coastal location I’ve had the pleasure of camping at by a long way!

    • tbeartravels says:

      Your comment went into our spam box. I’m hoping you are genuine not a spammer. As you say Cleaverville is a good spot. Bev and I are in France at the moment and we are finding the millions of summer holiday makers a bit hard to take. As soon as we get home we will be packing the L/C and heading into solitude and isolation. I’m dreaming of red sandhill, Mulga and Coolibah. Might see you on the track. Fred and Bev

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