I decided to stay a week at our next stop and have a break. I know it hard to believe, but it’s exhausting being on holidays.
When we left home after Alec’s birthday, I had approximately 7 weeks to get to Cairns. At this stage we are 3 weeks in, so a perfect time for a break.
Emerald was our next stop, camping out of town at Fairbairn dam. I found some daycare for Alec, giving me a much needed break and allowing Alec some contact with other children his own age.
In all it was not that much of a exciting week. We went for a couple of bike rides, a swim in the caravans swimming pool and spent some time in town at the botanic gardens. We didn’t spend any time around lake Maraboon, the lake that was formed when the Nogoe river was damed. It was just to hot with very little shade.
Alec had great time at day care. He did take a little bit to warm up and was upset when dropping him off. I can’t blame him. It’s been mostly just him and me together since we left home. It’s kinder nice being wanted and I did find it hard to leaving him at daycare.
Emerald does have a little bit of history with Peta and I. We visited twice together. First time was on our holidays together that was mention in the last blog post and it was a lunch stop on our Cape York trip in 2011.
Unless you have been living under a rock over the last couple of years, you would know that the resource boom is over.
Blackwater might be know as the coal capital Queensland. However Emerald is actually the major town in the area and is home to all the industries associated with the mining operations. Most of the major equipment dealers and workshops are all based in the town.
Emerald like many towns within close proximity to mining have thrived with the money flowing from the mines into the town. Now with the down turn in the mining sector this has stopped. I was interested to see first hand how this had affected the town.
At first glance the town seems to be thriving. With plenty of traffic and activity. But when you take a closer look, you start seeing all the empty shops and the closing down sales. In the industrial areas you can see a few empty yards but a more telling sign, is yards that are still being used but you can tell that a serious down sizing has occurred.
Talking to a couple of locals. Blackwater has suffered worse. With massive staff cuts by local mines and contractors. At least Emerald has other industrials such as the agriculture, centred around the water from Fairbairn Dam.
In all honesty I think it will be years till things improve and it wouldn’t surprise me if we don’t see another boom like the last one for a long time to come if ever again.
Life in a caravan park
We spent 8 days in Emerald. In that time we got to know the rhythm of a large caravan park. The lake Marboon caravan park would have to be the largest and busiest park that we have stayed at. Mostly filled with older couples, often with grey hair, towing a large caravan and nomadic.
The park would slowly wake up with the noise of boat trailers leaving the park for the dam. As the morning progresses a small number of travels would hitch up they caravans and leave the safety of the park for the open road. The ones that are left go about their daily choirs of doing washing and wiping the morning dew off the car. Often interrupted by a good old fashion chat with a fellow resident. As the day heats up, finding a cool shady spot for a nap is the done thing.
Once the afternoon commences so does the activity. New residents start arriving to replace the ones that left in the morning. This making for some exciting times for the rest of the guests. The backing in of the caravan and set up is always good entrainment. You may get to meet some new neighbours.
As the new arrivals settle in, happy hour starts. With snacks and a cold beverage the couples retire to the annex to relax after a tiring day of relaxing. With the sun slowly dropping , everyone starts heading in doors to the air condition comfort of the caravan for dinner and bed. Often a group will partake in this afternoon ritual together. Sitting around swapping info on the caravan sites, road conditions and how driving at 80km/h on the highways is the best way to annoy interstate truck drivers.
Rules of caravans parks.
If you see a Alec during happy hour then food will be offered to him.
When walking your dog you must always offer Alec a pat.
When talking with these nomadic people always start the conversation with which way your heading, progressing to where your from and then how long are you are travelling for. After this important ground work is completed the conversation can progress to other topics.