Monday, October 02, 2017

LET THE PORT MORESBY ADVENTURE BEGIN!







An Acrylic Painting by me....looking from the foreshore at Mission Beach across to Dunk Island
The Hinchinbrook Island resort restaurant and pool area as it once was

Two Views of Wallaman Falls  (104ks south-west from Cardwell.  And 51kms south-west of Ingham
Cairns Airport

Hinchinbrook Island and Channel
In July 1987 the Queensland Tourism & Travel Corporation, informally known as the “QTTC”, in their infinite wisdom decided to send a tourism delegation to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. 

This venture into the un-chartered territory of our northern neighbours across the aquamarine waters of the Torres Strait, would be the first of such tourism marketing strategies into New Guinea (and probably the last as far as I know).

Nine illustrious, notorious representatives were chosen, by methods unknown to any of them, to represent particular areas of Tropical North Queensland. 

Seven of the reputable representatives were male; two were female. I was one of the elected, honoured few; one half of the celebrated, seraphic feminine duo!

Our mission was to cut a swath through the savannah dust of Port Moresby through to the emerald, dense vegetation of the Highlands, spreading the word on the benefits of holidaying in North Queensland, just a hop, skip, jump and swim away to the south.  

My role in the adventure was to represent the Hinchinbrook, Cardwell and Johnstone Shires.

Heading north from Townsville, the Shire of Hinchinbrook incorporates the sugar towns and areas of Ingham, Lucinda, Forrest and Taylors Beach and, of course, Orpheus Island, which is anchored in the Coral Sea.  Orpheus Island lays a little south of Hinchinbrook Island.

Ingham, located about forty-five minutes south of Cardwell, has a rich history of sugar cane farming.  Over 60% of its population is of Italian descent.

The region from Ingham north is well-known for its natural attractions and diverse environments.

Cardwell, gracing the shores of the Coral Sea and the Hinchinbrook Channel, is a perfect, relaxed fishing area.   

As I’ve described in some of my previous posts, Cardwell serviced the now-defunct resort at Cape Richards, on the far north-eastern corner of Hinchinbrook Island, the world’s largest national park island.  The resort I managed back in 1986-1987.

Further north from Cardwell is another sugar cane and banana-producing area, with the town of Tully being its centre.

The Cardwell Shire is in the heart of the wet tropics.  Cardwell, itself is in a rain shadow, but Tully, less than thirty minutes north, boasts of being one of the wettest areas in Australia.

Tully is a very small town, again rich in Italian heritage. The waters of the Tully River have become world-renowned for white-water rafting.  Enthusiasts from all over the globe flock to the area.

Across the highway from Tully, a few kilometres to the east through lush, thick rainforest to the coastal fore-shores, hides beautiful Mission Beach, which is part of the
Cassowary Coast Region.  Dunk Island is 4kms out to sea from Mission Beach. Easy access to the Great Barrier Reef from both the island and mainland is on offer to the adventurous tourists.

Dunk Island is part of the Family Group of islands, which also includes Bedarra, Bowden, Wheeler, Hudson Islands, amongst others. Dunk is the largest and the most northern island in the group.

For the keen readers among you, if you’re looking for a “good read” grab hold of “Confessions of a Beachcomber”, or any of the other books written by Edmund James Banfield.

“Edmund James "Ted" Banfield (4 September 1852 – 2 June 1923) was an author and naturalist in Queensland, Australia. He is best known for his book Confessions of a Beachcomber. His grave on Dunk Island is Heritage listed.
Banfield was born in Liverpool, England. Banfield was brought while a boy to Australia by his father, who settled at Ararat, Victoria in 1852,  His father became proprietor of a newspaper, the “Ararat Advertiser”.  Edmund Banfield received his first training in journalism on this paper.

In 1897, suffering from work anxiety and exhaustion, and advised by doctors that he had just six months to live, writer Edmund James Banfield moved to Dunk Island with his wife Bertha – so becoming the island’s first white settlers.
Previously a Journalist and Senior Editor with the Townsville Daily Bulletin for fifteen years, Banfield let the tranquillity of this unspoilt tropical paradise weave its magic.  He lived on Dunk Island for the remaining 26 years of his life until his death in 1923. A small hut built with the assistance of an Aborigine called Tom was the Banfields' first home.

Over a period of time they cleared four acres of land for a plantation of fruit and vegetables. Combined with their chickens, cows and goats as well as the abundance of seafood and mangrove vegetation, they lived very self-sufficiently. Fascinated by Dunk Island’s flora and fauna Banfield meticulously recorded his observations and went on to write a series of articles about island life under the pseudonym Rob Krusoe.
He was further inspired to write a full-length book entitled ‘Confessions of a Beachcomber’ which was published in 1908. The book became a celebrated text for romantics and escapists and established Dunk Island’s reputation as an exotic island paradise. In the ensuing years, Banfield wrote several other books about Dunk including ‘My Tropical Isle’ in 1911 and ‘Tropic Days’ in 1918. In these he shared the secrets of nature that he had uncovered and described the customs and legends of the Aboriginal people on the island. E J Banfield died on 2 June 1923 and his final book ‘Last Leaves from Dunk’ was published posthumously in 1925. His widow remained on the island for another year before moving to Brisbane where she died, ten years after her husband. Today both are buried on the trail to Mt Kootaloo...."

There is much to see and explore in Tropical North Queensland, for instance, the state’s two highest mountain peaks, Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker, (the state’s third highest mountain, Mount Bowen, is on Hinchinbrook Island).


Australia’s longest single-drop waterfall, Wallaman Falls, is not far from Cardwell.

Further north along the highway from Tully, one enters into the Johnstone Shire.  Immediately the stunningly beautiful vistas of lush, thick green pastures, sugar cane fields and dense vegetation take hold.  In a previous post, a couple of months ago, I described Paronella Park at Mena Creek.  It is part of this wonderland, and, under its present owners, Paronella’s dream continues. Paronella Park gained National Trust listing in 1997, and has one many Tourism Awards over the past number of years.


Having been chosen as the representative for the above areas, proudly, and excitedly, I packed my suitcase.  Armed with all the information I needed for my odyssey into the unknown, I headed north to Cairns where I was to board a flight to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.


Arrangements to meet with my fellow partners-in-crime at the airport had been made prior to my departure from the island.

I knew only two of my fellow conspirators, meeting them previously at various tourism conferences and expositions.

Each time I’d met one of the two known to me, he hadn’t impressed me much. Loud of voice – of mouth - he was quite an arrogant fellow. Rather than speak in a normal manner, he had a tendency to bellow.  He was one not open to the opinions of others, not that I ever bothered offering mine to him. There was no point wasting my breath, I believed. 

In those early days I was still somewhat of a novice, an apprentice to tourism marketing, quietly observing and learning as I went. 

Mainly, I kept my own counsel in social conversations pertaining to the business at hand, mingling and merging with others when I found myself in his presence.  He annoyed me, so I could see no useful purpose in cultivating a friendship.  There would come a time, I believed, that I would not be able to hold my tongue!  So, I usually gave him a wide berth...for my sanity and his safety!

However, everyone in the group was in high-spirits as we waited for our flight to be announced.  Eagerly we waited for our boarding call to echo through the loud-speakers.


The flight from Cairns to Port Moresby is approximately 45 minutes only, in flight duration, so we’d be there in no time at all. Well, that would be the way if our flight had been on time.

Two hours later, we were still twiddling our thumbs Cairns Airport, while we waited for our Air Niugini flight. 

Our feet hadn’t left the ground; but, as the minutes passed, our feet began impatiently tapping the ground.  Rather than leave indentations on the airport floor, we gave into the demands of our thirst and, as one, we descended upon the airport bar.

And then, finally, we were ascending the sky above Cairns, headed northward to Papua New Guinea, with Port Moresby our destination.

Beneath us the crystal-clear waters of the Torres Strait glittered, waving us forward as we flew low over the Strait and its islands.

To Be Continued....


 
Female Cassowary


30 comments:

  1. I suspect we will hear more about the loud mouth - and hope he met his comeuppance.
    Looking forward to the next installment...

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    Replies
    1. You suspect correctly, EC...there's always one in a crowd, isn't there? ;)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. Oh wow. I am not good at comprehensive reading at night. It would be an injustice to you for me to try to properly read it now. Tommorow.

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    1. Hey, Andrew! I know the feeling! I even get it during the daylight hours! lol

      See you when you return! :)

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  3. Quite a geography lesson here! You were lucky to work in the tourism field; it expands one's knowledge and horizons. Looking forward to read about your adventure in New Guinea.

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    1. Hi Duta...yes, I, too, believe I was lucky to have worked in the tourism field. I met some wonderful people and learned so much.

      There is more to follow...thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. There is a lot to be said for living in a lovely, stressless environment. Stretching six months to 23 years because of where one chooses to live says a lot.

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    1. Hey there, Arleen. When running the resort I really didn't have any spare time to be stressed. I worked 24/7, running on about 4 hours sleep a night! Stress came later! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. You tease! I am already looking forward to the second instalment. However, I find it hard to imagine that many of the hill tribe people of central New Guinea would have had the kind of financial resources necessary to holiday abroad. In fact, it's unlikely that the word "holiday" even existed in the majority of their languages.

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    1. G'day, Yorkie. What you say is true, of course. Our delegation was mainly to learn as well as inform. We weren't solely dedicated to our own product; and that particular trip was more of a learning process, than a selling exercise.

      Seminars, conferences etc., were attended to inform ourselves as well as to inform others.

      Managing an island resort, as it was with me, and the others in the group running their own shows, some of whom owned or operated (or both)tropical resorts,etc....we each dealt, daily and constantly, with visitors/guests from all over the world, from all walks of life.

      It would have been remiss and ignorant of us, and of the Queensland Tourism Board to have been one-eyed...to be only familiar with our own product.

      There was much to learn,and much to hand on...the circle goes around and around.

      Thanks for coming by...in the words of Douglas MacArthur..."I shall return..." :)

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  6. Anxiously awaiting the adventure.

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    1. Breathe, Delores, breathe! I'll be baaaack!

      Thanks for taking the time to read my first chapter. :)

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  7. I may be wrong but selling Queensland to Papua New Guinea seems rather an uphill struggle. I wait with bated breath.

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    1. G'day, Graham...have a read of my above response to Yorkie's comment.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. It really is a gorgeous area, I can see why anyone would never want to leave.

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    1. Hello, River...Tropical Far North Queensland is a lovely area...one of the many our beautiful country has to offer. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. Are you being paid for this advert...?

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    1. Yes, Mr. Ad-Man...in the form of pleasure I get from writing about my memories. The pleasure I receive from doing so is payment enough. I hope you achieve pleasure from reading about my trip to Port Moresby, particularly as there are still a couple of chapters to follow.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. Hi, Lee!

    Wonderful blog!! I came to it in perhaps an unusual way... I am a former infantry officer in the U.S. Army, and I have been a lifelong admirer of the late Col. David Hackworth since I read his excellent autobiography when I was just out of high school.

    I was reading his Wikipedia entry and I learned that after leaving the Army and moving to Australia he became a successful restauranteur and duck farmer, and so I followed the trail of bread crumbs to your blog.

    I never met or corresponded with him. He died while I was deployed to Iraq, and when I learned he was gone, I felt like I had lost my infantry Godfather... I had learned so much from his writing and modeled my own leadership philosophy largely on his writing.

    As it turns out, and in hindsight, I could not have done better.

    I've met people over the years whose lives he touched. He's one of the only people I'm aware of who, when you mention him to anyone who knew him personally, their eyes light up with delight and warmth and nearly everyone has a Hack story to tell.

    As it happens, I love restaurant and cooking-related writing, too, and was delighted to learn that Hack had applied his leadership abilities to the restaurant business!

    You mention that he was a "natural leader" in one of your posts about him. If you can spare the time, I would love to learn more about your experiences with him and the way he handled himself and staff in the pressure-packed restaurant business, his leadership style, attention to detail... Anything you can think of, either on this blog or via e-mail at jwvansteenwyk-at-gmail.com.

    Thank you very much for your time... and I'm going to try that trout recipe!

    Sincerely,

    Jason Van Steenwyk
    Orlando, FL

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    Replies
    1. G'day Jason...Your visit is a surprise, to say the least. David was a fine man. A great character in all senses of the word. I will write about him again...so stay tuned! :0

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog...or parts thereof...and thanks for your comment. :)

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    2. Furthermore, Jason...David was a great role model...you chose one of the best.

      His property at Uki in northern New South Wales was wonderful. He designed and built the home...from timber gather from his land...he had about 360 acres. And when he met up with Peter, (female - the owner/operator of "Scaramouche" the Brisbane restaurant), after they began a relationship - one that flowed onto marriage...and to a son... David put a manager in place at the "farm", and moved to Brisbane...to live with Peter and help her in the running of the restaurant.

      All of the above I have described in previous posts. :)

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  11. oh my, if it's the last thing I do I need to get to Australia, land of exquisite and varied landscapes, an island with pyramid shaped mountains, a channel of green goddess peninsulas and fowl with golden crowns.

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    1. Hey there, Linda...the cassowary is quite a large bird (third largest bird in the world) e.g....females are bigger and more brightly coloured. Adult southern cassowaries are 1.5 to 1.8 m (4.9–5.9 ft) tall; although some females may reach 2 m (6.6 ft), and weigh 58.5 kg (129 lb).

      And oddly, as you see, the female cassowary is larger and more brightly-coloured than her male counterpart.

      Also, the bird can be very dangerous as it has hard spurs, and a powerful kick. The cassowary is classified as the most dangerous bird in the world.

      Lovely to look at...but one you'd be best advised not to tamper with! :)

      Yes...we do have a varied landscape here in the wonderful Land of Oz. Thanks for coming by...and I hope one day you get the chance to literally come by! :)

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  12. Hi Lee, I think the prospect of your New Guinea adventures might be the lure I need to return to blogland more regularly. Can't wait to hear more about it. One of my brothers worked in Port Moresby for 2 years in the 60s, a cousin was a missionary in the highlands around the same time and a cousin operated a holiday resort in the 80s. I think what we were taught about NG at school turned me off the idea of ever going there.

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    1. Hey Pauline...Like you I never harboured any desires to go to PNG. It had never been on my radar...of things I wanted to do or places I wanted to visit, but as the trip to Moresby was part of the job I was doing, under the sales-marketing banner...I really had no other choice, I guess, in one way.

      I agreed to go, and, actually, became quite excited about the unknown.

      Years previously a girlfriend of mine went up there (from Brisbane) to work in an Aussie government department...at Boroko...suburb of Port Moresby. She went up there around 1966/67, which was a very brave thing to do, in my opinion. She went alone...not with a partner. When independence was declared I never heard from or of her again! I have no idea where she ended up.

      Another friend of mine..male...worked there around the same time as she did, too. Both might have known your brother, as it appears from what you have stated.

      Other friends of mine...husband and wife...both school teachers....went to New Ireland to teach around 1964-65, and remained there for a few years.

      An interesting place, in so many ways...to say the least! :)

      Thanks for coming by....keep tuned...there is more to come. :)

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  13. ooh, I have a feeling things are not going to go absolutely straightforwardly swimmingly here...
    I never realised the cassowary had such beautiful plumage. My dad always used to speak of them in rather negative terms. I've always felt they are proof that birds really are descended from dinosaurs, because of the strange thing that sticks out of the top of their head, like you often see in pictures of dinosaurs.

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  14. G'day Jenny...the following is my response to Linda's comment above re cassowaries....

    "The cassowary is quite a large bird (third largest bird in the world) e.g....females are bigger and more brightly coloured. Adult southern cassowaries are 1.5 to 1.8 m (4.9–5.9 ft) tall; although some females may reach 2 m (6.6 ft), and weigh 58.5 kg (129 lb).

    And oddly, as you see, the female cassowary is larger and more brightly-coloured than her male counterpart.

    Also, the bird can be very dangerous as it has hard spurs, and a powerful kick. The cassowary is classified as the most dangerous bird in the world."

    They are a beautiful bird from afar. I've only ever seen one in the wild.

    Keep tuned...I'll be back with Chapter Two very soon. Thanks for coming by. :)

    Lovely to look at...but one you'd be best advised not to tamper with! :)

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  15. "To Be Continued...."

    Can't wait really enjoyed reading this Lee and that cassowary has amazing colour.

    All the best Jan

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  16. Hey, Jan...I'm glad you're enjoying this....I hope you continue enjoyed the tale as it unfolds. :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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