Sunday, September 08, 2013


Dining Area - Lyndoch Hotel Cardwell

Lyndoch Motel, Cardwell...restored after Cyclone Yasi


Lyndoch Motel after Cyclone Yasi's visit in February, 2011

What once was known as the "Sunrise Motel-Caravan Park & Villas"
Marine Hotel, Victoria Street, Cardwell...circa 2000

Marine Hotel, post Yasi!

The harrowing destruction of Cardwell by Cyclone Yasi on 3rd February, 2011 defies description.  The devastating trauma and loss the small beachfront town and its people suffered at the hands of the cruel, callous cyclone was heartrending, to say the least, . 

I’ve fond memories of Cardwell. Cardwell was my mainland port of call when I managed Cape Richards Resort on Hinchinbrook Island.

Where possible I supported the town’s businesses; in return, they became vigorous advocates of the resort; and I guess, in some ways of me.  The resort benefited from many tourists directed its way by Cardwell's townfolk.

Upon my taking on the management of the resort in early 1986 I was an enigma to many on the mainland. Not only was I a newcomer to the region, but I was a female; as well as being the first female manager of the resort; and, on top of that, I was manager of the resort without the help of a male counterpart. It wasn’t a regular occurrence up in those reaches back in the mid-Eighties; maybe the status quo/attitude still remains in certain areas; I don’t know.  However, I wasn’t fazed by the curiosity and interest my appearance caused, along with, perhaps, the gossip that briefly set mainland tongues wagging.  I had a job to do; staff to lead and an island resort to run. I was too focused on those to be concerned about what strangers thought of me.

The business folk in Cardwell and nearby towns like Tully to the north, and Ingham to the south soon understood I wasn’t the freak they’d perhaps erroneously prejudged me to be; but then, some could say that they were correct in their initial assumptions.  I won’t go into this any further – I can see the possibility of opening myself up to lengthy discussions on the subject of my eccentricity; and I may come out the worse for it in the end!   So I’ll leave that alone…for now...other than to admit...I quite like being eccentric...actually, I love it!

After returning from my sales-marketing adventures there were times I had to stay overnight in Cardwell before returning to the island the next morning by boat.  On other occasions, when appropriate, I’d return to the island by sea plane, landing in the waters out from the resort. 

However, whenever I had to stay in Cardwell, I chose to stay at the Lyndoch Motel; the home of the best savoury mince in the North! My desire for savoury mince on toast became a little bit like that elusive roast lamb I’d been in search of in Tasmania.   

As I drew closer to Cardwell, I’d start salivating at the thought of the Lyndoch’s savoury mince.  Without fail, I always feasted upon it for breakfast when staying at the motel! So familiar the Lynoch folk were with my wants and desire, my placing a breakfast order became unnecessary!   

It wasn’t a flashy, fancy establishment; no five or four stars; probably not even three and a half, but it had a special ambience about it; and the owners were wonderful, friendly, obliging people.

The Lyndoch Motel hosted the annual Mud Crab Festival back then.

The fabled crab races conducted on the motel grounds drew expectant, feverish punters from far and wide. One year as part of the weekend festivities Billy J. Smith and Fiona MacDonald (television-radio identities of the time) held an “It’s a Knock-Out” competition on a vacant block of land adjacent to the motel. 

I formed a motley gang of impulsive, boisterous warriors aka my island staff to compete against the visiting team of softies from Dunk Island! 

Rearing to go, my over-zealous gladiators were in no mood to take prisoners; and none they took!  Some of the methods to which my crew resorted may not have been in the rule book, but, in between cheering them on like a rabid shrew, I turned a blind eye; and looked out to sea with the other.

The incentive for my band of warriors was the persuasive lure of the Lyndoch Motel Bar.  That was a weekend and a half, I can assure you without going into further details here!

As with the rest of Cardwell, Yasi showed no mercy on the Lyndoch. The motel succumbed to its relentless unforgiving angry winds and pelting rain. The Lyndoch became a shattered shell of memories. 

It pleases me to learn that the motel has been restored.

For a period of time in 1996/7, I managed a motel a few metres north along the highway on the opposite side to the Lyncoch. The motel I managed faced the Bruce highway.  It was part of a six-acre property on the ocean-side of the main thoroughfare that runs the length of Queensland..

The property consisted of the motel I managed; and in between it and the ocean side were caravan sites; on-site caravans; small villas and a beachfront motel and restaurant.  Back then, it was known as “The Sunrise Motel-Caravan Park”…Marine Parade, Cardwell.  It, too, suffered major damage at the frenetic will of Yasi.

The Bruce Highway is also the town’s main street. As the highway passes through the town it becomes known as “Victoria Street”.  It separates Cardwell from the beachfront and from the ocean.

Entering Cardwell from the southern end a roadside pie van tempted passing traffic. It was mandatory to break your trip for one or more of its luscious pies…coming and going! Offering the best pies up and down the coast, daily the van set up camp beneath the same shady tree on the waterfront. I was often guilty of succumbing! It was difficult to be weak-willed when it came to those delicious pies.

And what better place was there to have a cold, cold beer than to sit at the bar of the Cardwell’s one and only pub, the Marine Hotel, while looking out across the waters to the majestic Hinchinbrook Island?

A basic no-nonsense pub with a million-dollar view! You can’t beat that, but Yasi did! Yasi tore the pub to shreds.  It wasn't a case of "A Pub with No Beer", per the lyrics of Slim Dusty's old song; it was a "Town with No Pub and No Beer"!

From the mid-Eighties to the late Nineties I spent 13 years living in North Queensland; from Clifton Beach in the north to Mackay in the south; with quite a few other locales in between. 

It was distressing to see what the northern folk had to deal with after Cyclone Yasi’s unwelcome, uninvited visit.  However, they’re a resilient mob up that way. They’re a good mob, too. It would be at your own risk to discount them.  The northerners are a good-humoured lot; and they made out of tough stuff!

Queenslanders everywhere, in small towns, and in areas most of us have never heard of, were hurt badly by Cyclone Yasi. But they licked their wounds; and are gradually making progress again. 

It’s been a long, hard slog; and it’s not over yet; but never takes more than a cyclone to dampen their spirits!

Savoury Mince: Brown 750g mince; add 1 large chopped onion; fry gently; drain off any fat. Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 2tbls tomato paste, 3 chopped carrots, 2 diced celery stalks, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2c beef stock (or 1pkt mushroom soup, 2 beef cubes and 2c water), 30ml Worcestershire sauce, a splash or two of tomato sauce and 2tsp mixed herbs. Simmer 45-50mins. Add 1c frozen peas and 2tsp gravy mix; simmer 6mins.

Greek Lamb Pie: Preheat oven 205C. Grease 8-1/2inch spring-form pan. Fry 500g minced lamb and 1 chopped onion in dry non-stick pan 5mins; add crushed garlic clove, 1 can drained tomatoes, 2tbls chopped mint, 1tsp nutmeg; season. Bring to boil; simmer; stir occasionally until almost all liquid evaporated. Wash 375g spinach; cook leaves in only the water clinging to them for 2 mins; drain well; add to meat; add 125g crumbled Feta. Brush sheets of 1 pkt phyllo with oil; overlap in layers in prepared pan; leave pastry hanging over sides; add meat; wrap pastry over top; scrunch any remaining pastry into balls; place on top; sprinkle with sesame seeds; bake 25-30mins.

Cheesy Pie: Preheat oven 190C. Combine 500g minced beef, 2/3c evaporated milk, 1/4c dry breadcrumbs, crushed garlic evenly in pan; spread 1/3c tomato sauce, 1c sliced mushrooms, 1c shredded cheddar, 2tbls parmesan and 1/4tsp oregano over mixture; bake 25mins


  1. Cyclone Yasi wreaked havoc - but didn't defeat the people. Which is an amazing tribute to their strength.

  2. That is so true, EC...and let's hope that we have a calmer summer this year than we have had over the past couple. Everyone needs a break, I think.

    I do, hope, however that the monsoons come down and bring rain through to our outback areas in Queensland where drought is devastating our cattle properties.

  3. I love the description of the bar with the million dollar view. Sounds like a great place. Terrible that a cyclone got it.

  4. Nothing quite like Mother Nature. She's positively unstoppable. I've been fortunate not to have gone through any natural disaster. Yet.

    Interesting post. As always :)

  5. One of the amusing moments during that particular cyclone was the sign, written in enormous red lettering on the boarded up shop front, defiantly proclaiming, "Kiss My Yasi!".

    During that time and the 2011 Queensland floods showed that us Queenslanders don't let mere disruptions such as those get us down. The laconic sense of humour shown in the news typified the way in which we metaphorically shrugged and got on with the business of cleaning up.

  6. Hey there, Lynn...I'm not sure if it has been rebuilt...if it has, it's not been very long since it has been.

  7. Thanks, Wendy.

    As you say, Mother Nature has a mind of her own and when she chooses to do so, she flexes her muscles and there's nothing we can do to change her mind.

  8. Yep! I remember seeing pictures of that sign, too, that you mention it.

    Having a good sense of the ridiculous sure helps in many. if not all, situations! And it kicks in unconsciously to save the day, I think!

    I need something to kick in today to get me motivated!

    Thanks for calling by! :)

  9. Crab races! Now I am curious.

    Like NY after 9/11, you can't keep good people down.

  10. Yes...RC, you are correct; and we will never forget 9/11...and nor should we. The strength of character and purpose shown by the people of New York City gave us all inspiration.

    I'll tell the crab races story down the track a bit...down the race track! ;)

  11. Great story. They breed them tough up there.

  12. They certainly do...thanks, Cosmo. :)

  13. I hope Cardwell will be fully restored so that others can make their own great memories like you have.

  14. Me, too, Jerry. The people in those small communities usually have a strong bond; and are proud of their little towns. They show their pride by welcoming visitors to their areas.

  15. Cyclones and Hurricanes are bad news. New Orleans and few other places are still rebuilding here.

    I live in California, about all we get is an occasional twister that takes off someone's roof or knocks down an old barn. However, one year I looked out my bathroom window and saw the barn door behind my house lifted up and tumble over the tops of the grapevines like a piece of tissue paper. A few years ago, I snapped several shots of a twister heading right toward our house, but it blew apart even as I watched.


  16. Hello, Janice. Nature has its own will and we humans are mere pawns in its hands.

    Thanks for calling by. :)

  17. You eccentric? Never!

    Sad to have to deal with a cyclone every few years.
    Terrible suffering.

  18. Hi Adullamite...and we're on the verge of another cyclone season that's about to start. The bush fires have already begun with threats of more to come. And, of course, so many are caused by idiots who enjoy starting fires that cause so much misery.

    We're in for a long hot summer, I think.

    Yes...I'm getting a sign made to put out on the front fence: "Line UP! Pay Here to See the Local Eccentric - One Like You've Never Seen Before"! ;)

  19. Yep, that should do it!

  20. I thought you'd approve, Adullamite.

  21. I like the name cyclone better than hurricane. It takes a tough person to live in areas like that.

  22. G'day Dexter...and I think we could be in for another hectic cyclone season this summer...which must cause some concern in the northern areas.