|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 fear...it 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