After visiting the Beautiful Betsy Liberator plane crash site (see previous blog) I continued around the Kroombit Tops National Park loop road to The Wall campground, a great little clearing at base of a near vertical stratified cliff face. The rain had set in so first step in making camp was to set up the Darche awning under which I unrolled my Crashpad swag on its matching stretcher, before trying to find some dry firewood.
At this point I discovered my biggest blunder of the trip so far – in my haste to leave home I threw my swag bedding loosely into the swag’s carry bag, rather than unrolling the swag and fitting it inside. The rain I had been driving through had wicked through the canvas, making everything damp. Luckily I had the sleeping bag rolled up in the car to fall back on, I thought a mid-summer trip would be too hot for it but the cool damp air at this elevation made it a welcome addition to the swag.
Over dinner and laying the in swag that night my thoughts retraced the words of the story boards at the crash site, making me wonder about the many other undiscovered plane crashes around the country. The ozatwar.com.au website lists hundred of WW2 plane crashes in Queensland, many of which remain unaccounted for, so they’re still out there somewhere waiting for a hiker or adventurer to stumble across some wreckage in a gorge or mountain top.
I had already decided to take a less well travelled route back home, by exiting the park to the east on Clewleys Gap Road and cutting through Cedarvale Station to explore the old Monal township site and gold mine. This involved taking what is affectionately known as the Sumpbuster Road across a rocky ridgeline and decent.
Gold was found and mined in several areas across Central Queensland through the 1800s with some of the world’s largest mines including Mount Morgan and those in the Cracow area, and nearby Cania. Gold was found at Monal in 1891 and a township soon sprung up around the creek diggings area. The town’s two pubs, a store and a school must have brought life to the area, but unfortunately mining and tough living conditions also meant that a cemetery was soon added to the town’s infrastructure.
Today there is very little left of the town, just stumps and cleared house pads, however there are some beautiful old remains of the steam driven stamper and crusher used to process the ore for grading.
The cemetery site is still well marked about 550m from the town. Many of the graves are unmarked and unidentified however two still retain their timber picket fences and others have simple ardornments. Names are listed for those known to be buried at the site, embossed onto a plaque set against an old wheeled axle.
From Monal I headed toward Mungungo then Monto on the barely existing Raspberry Creek Road, which for most part was two wheel ruts through paddocks and hills.
Monto is a town that I’ve wanted to visit but never had the need until today, though the weather was not great for exploration. After grabbing a very tasty foccacia and hot mocha I pointed the Cruiser’s bow toward home, stopping only to admire some festive artwork, the 3 Moons silo art and checking to see if Kinbombi Falls was flowing after the rain (but it wasn’t).
(for more of the Beautiful Betsy story see our previous blog)