My History Lessons Begin

Boulder CreekOn a recent visit to Boulder Creek during a  mapping adventure, I struck up a conversation with three very interesting people.

A Mum and Dad, and their son who was about my age I think, so just a young fella.

They had been around our area for along time, and had heaps of stories of hidden gems that seem to be being lost.

I wanted the son who did most of the talking, to take me for a drive one day and show me some of these places he was talking about. A little hesitant, he instead told me he would talk to another guy who shared stories on every road they had traveled. He reckons that’s the guy I should go for a drive with. Perhaps he was a little intimidated by me? Or is a very busy man.

I am hoping my mapping skills will have improved, and I can plot, record and comment, assuming his mate isn’t scared of me too!

As we sat and chatted around an old cement table that was covered with a check table cloth, cups of tea and biscuits, the stories began to unfold.

I heard about the father who lives around Boulder Creek and volunteers his time to clean up the picnic area and toilets. His son died near there, and a plaque is on the table nearest the creek, right where we were sitting. Once the picnic was packed up and table cloth removed I took a photo of said plaque.

Memorial Plaque Boulder Creek-1

We noted there are no rubbish bins. I guess the council does not pick them up? I hope most people take their rubbish home? It has always seems clean when I head up there, perhaps Warren’s Dad had just been for a visit.

There is also no sign on the road in,  announcing “Boulder Creek.”  This fascinates me because every other obscure creek crossing on the way has a sign. Perhaps the locals and regular visitors keep removing the signs to keep this fantastic little oasis quiet?

As our conversation evolved, I shared with them a little of my story and my passion for the area.” promoting our Tropical North Qld lifestyle, through new technology.”

They actually said “Don’t tell too many people about it.” Oops, better get all those postcards back.

When my postcards were first given the light of day in our community I had a phone call from a local lady who very politely informed me I had made a mistake. I was horrified to learn that Boulder Creek in fact is in the Mt. Charlton area, not Cameron’s Pocket as stated on the back of the postcard. I humbly apologised and take every opportunity to rectify this mistake, such as now, and also on the QR Code “Interactive Postcard” page on the web site. When re-ordering the next batch of Boulder Creek postcards I will make the correction.

I know I get annoyed when people have never heard of Kolijo, but know where Calen is. My little pet peeve, hence my passion to put Kolijo, and surrounds, on the map.

The free camping area at Boulder is a poplular spot among the Grey Nomads. On this day there were only about 3 there as it is starting to heat up a little now, October. They tend to head back down South before the wet season starts.

There was still some water in the creek, and it was flowing nicely. The sounds of the cool, fresh water trickling over rocks and all the different birds chatting away, are very calming. Watching the bright blue butterflys among the rain forest backdrop is truly stunning.

We remembered that last year a car washed away over the bridge and headed down stream. Swift water rescue teams were needed to save the stranded couple. Daily Mercury Pics & Video here.
Its amazing to look at creeks that are relatively calm and peaceful, like our very own kolijo creek, and realise how much water flows through them in the wet season!!

For more on Boulder Creek please check out: Boulder Creek Interactive Postcard

But I digress…

Back to my stories from a new found source of info!

They had just come from a site about 20km further inland where there is an old steam train turn around. I think it was the council that were going to dig it up or slash, and came across a heap of steel. On further investigation they discovered a massive turntable.

I am picturing a huge lazy susan that goes in the middle of your table?

The steam train loco, not a sugar cane train, the proper big trains would pull in and the school kids from the local school would come running out and turn them around. The driver didn’t even have to get out of the cab.

My info filled friends thought they heard someone was looking at doing it up as a point of interest for tourists and locals alike. The historical society perhaps, or council? I do hope so!

I will definitely be heading out that way soon with my trusty map app , and my grandson….to walk through the long grass ahead of me!! Of course my camera and microphone will be along for the trek too, watch this space.

Kolijo train1-2 Kolijo train2-2


This story reminded me of some old local train photos I found when I first started my site. 


Thanks to Weston Langford for giving me permission to use his photos here. There is a little debate which station this is? Calen has the double tracks, Kolijo does not. Do you know?

Now to a  story from some local ghost hunters was also shared. Yep, regular ol ghostbusters!!

They say there is a band of energy that strectches from The Leap to Kuttabul and Mt Jukes with lots of spirits from people who passed through suicide. That doesn’t sound too exciting, perhaps a little creepy. But with the legend of The Leap, and of 3 china men who were never found at Mt Jukes whilst looking for gold, you never know.

“According to folklore a local aboriginal woman with her baby in her arms leapt from the western escarpment of Mt. Mandurana to her death, trying to escape the pursuing NMP, however the baby survived. ” Read more of this story  on the Mackay History Website:

All 3 of these areas certainly do feel a little special in their own way, perhaps that’s why?

Apparently the ghosthunters feel the temperature drop when they drive through. Might be another place to head on a hot steamy day?

Many stories were told to me that day. I felt like a total stranger to the area, in awe of what I was hearing. Sadly I have forgotten some of them already! I knew I should have taken my microphone out and just stuck it on the table, I’m sure they wouldn’t have noticed!

You can rest assured when his mate contacts me to share all his stories of the back roads and ridges, it will be saved to a few devices so I can’t forget, and can share them right here with you.

The history of this area is rich and full of tough times, struggles and triumphs, and old technology left to rust away in the long grass!

Let’s dust it off, plot it on the map, record the story so it is remembered for generations to come.

My other Mum, Lynda, has been researching the area’s history for me on and off since I began the Kolijo River House journey. With stories of :

  • A working coal mine on the way to Cameron’s Pocket.
  • Girls taken by crocodiles.
  • Woman shot dead at the local hotel.
  • Council camp along St Helens creek at Kolijo.
  • The Liechardt Tree (my logo!) on the highway and why it was kept.
  • Kolijo being the bustling side of the creek with a railway station and cafe.
  • Dances held in the old Kuttabul pub hall.
  • Tennis behind the newsagency in Calen.
  • The picture theater antics in Calen.

History of course continues to be made. The Calen Hotel Fire in 2012 will surely become a legend of this area.

My history lessons are just beginning. Let’s share them together.

If you have any pictures or stories that you would like to share, please contact me or leave a comment. I can come to you with my trusty devices, as we add the old photos and stories,  to the new technology I am so obsessed with.

Put the check table cloth out, the kettle on, and let’s settle in for a chat. Of course I am also open to happy hour versions of this!!Leanne Profile PicCheers,


4 Responses to My History Lessons Begin

  1. Lyn Olsen says:

    Hi Leanne, what a great story, I and I am sure many others, enjoyed hearing a little of the history of the area. I loved the video and can’t believe I haven’t been there yet! I can just imagine a few bird calls in the background wold have enhanced it even more. I eagerly await your next article. 🙂

    • Leanne says:

      Thanks so much Lyn. Yes the birds had been making noises but didn’t come out in the video. Will use a microphone next time and record some, they really are lovely. I can see you painting up there. The blue butterflys, I said monarch but they are Ulysses, were awesome too.

  2. Mary Wallace says:

    The railway station would have to be Kolijo as Calen’s station was on the highway side of the road. Many years ago Kolijo was the main station where the trains would pass and there was even tea rooms there.

    • Leanne says:

      Thanks so much Mary. Yes I have heard of the tea rooms there, and nearly met a relation of one of the people who ran it last year. Unfortunately she had to cancel her visit at the last minute. Kolijo only has one set of tracks now, Calen has two. I wonder when they were removed, do you know? Again thanks so much for your input.

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