Page 86: Just a little more on carnarvon.
     
  The gascoyne dash  
  Just before we left Carnarvon there was an outback race for all sorts of off-road vehicles from very sophisticated purpose-built cars . . .  
     
   
     
  . . . with enormous V8 engines and very complex suspensions . . .  
     
 

 

Adjustable springs and very strange-looking shock absorbers.

Pity they can't spell 'tyres'. Australians speak English, not the corrupt nonsense the Yanks see fit to invent.

And apropos of nothing at all, isn't it time the Yanks entered the 21st century and went metric in line with the more advanced countries in this world?

 
     
  . . . to 'quad bikes' . . .  
     
   
  Quad bikes. Precarious.  
     
  . . . and swarms of trail bikes. We used to call them 'scramblers' in the Old Country.  
     
   
     
  They would all drive 125 kilometres to Gascoyne Junction the following morning for the start of the race which was to take them 300 kilometres through the outback ending at Rocky Pool, forty five kilometres east of Carnarvon. Rocky Pool is the only place on the Gascoyne River where surface water can be found. This evening, however, Carnarvon had organised a parade for them around the town centre.

Having watched the parade my eye was caught by a most beautiful Triumph road motorcycle which had nothing to do with the event. Having owned three Triumphs in my younger, foolish - but exciting - days, I will always love Triumphs. This one was as different to the bikes I'd owned as a spacecraft is to a bullock cart.
 
     
   
  A modern 2,300 cc water cooled Triumph with shaft drive, disc brakes, electric starter, fuel injection . . . you name it.
My first motorcycle was a 200 cc Triumph Tiger Cub back around 1960 but I probably got just as much fun out of it.
The owner of this brand new motorcycle had just ridden it to Carnarvon from Melbourne and he was very saddle sore.
 
     
  The Quobba Blowholes  
  Seventy five kilometres north of Carnarvon are the Quobba Blowholes on a desolate but dramatic stretch of W.A.'s coastline. We timed our visit to coincide with a high tide and, not so deliberately, a high wind.  
     
   
  There were several small blowholes and a larger one.  
     
   
  This was not a coastline to trifle with.  
     
  There were two other attractions close by; one was a very pretty lighthouse and the other a cairn erected to commemorate HMAS Sydney's crew.

The lighthouse was on a bluff just back from the coastline.
 
     
   
  A well maintained lighthouse wearing a hard hat. Spot the solar panels? Their shadows are a give-away.
We could see the turntable rotating even though the light itself was off.
 
     
  The memorial cairn to HMAS Sydney was just a few kilometres of dirt road further north. Why all the fuss about one ship amongst thousands which were destroyed during WWII, you might ask. I certainly couldn't understand why Sydney was singled out for all the attention.

The reason, as I now understand it, is that the battle with the Kormoran should have been a walkover for Sydney. For some unknown reason her skipper took her too close to the German raider, allowing Kormoran to dispatch a torpedo and fire her guns at point blank range. Sydney managed to sink Kormoran before she herself went to the bottom but the mystery of why 75% of Kormoran's crew survived while not one man from Sydney lived is still unexplained. And it still rankles 67 years on. Now the wreck has been located maybe answers will be found.
 
     
   
  This image was punched out of the metal not painted on. What you see through the sign is the sky.  
     
  Below is the cairn overlooking the vast Indian Ocean. Along this shoreline, life jackets from HMAS Sydney were washed up. Inset is the wording on the plaque.  
     
   
  The cairn commemorating the sinking of HMAS Sydney and the death of her 645 crew members.  
     
  A Very special clock  
 

This interesting clock was given to us by our dear friends, Sergeant Greg and his lovely wife Janet from near Adelaide.

Isn't is great? We'd like to dedicate it to all Grey Nomads. It is just so appropriate. When you engage in the nomad lifestyle, the days all merge together so we often forget what day is is. It would never do to miss The Bill on a Saturday evening on the ABC.

Goodbye Carnarvon
And that is all from Carnarvon. Like other places, we heard indifferent reports about the town but we found it a pleasant and interesting place and would return without hesitation.

Our next stop will be at Denham in the Shire of Shark Bay. See you on page 87.