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Palmer River Goldfield. The trip in. (14 September 2009)
contributed by DerrickJessop
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Any venture into the Palmer River gold fields requires a sturdy 4WD vehicle. The best access is from a track off the Northern Development Road 12 Kms South of the Palmer River Roadhouse.
This track leads West and had been recently graded for 35 Kms when I visited in September 2009. It was a pleasant though dry and dusty over ridge after ridge.
A pleasant surprise was to suddenly come across a clear water-filled lagoon. These and the river waterholes never dry up, although the river itself has two characteristics, either a raging flood or dry river bed.
After 35 Kms the track crosses the Palmer River at Dog Leg Crossing. This is 200m wide and on one side the river sand collects to an unknown depth, but is graded after every wet season to make crossing easier. On the other side the current washes away all the river sand leaving piles of large river stones. Fortunately the graded sand is used to cover what would otherwise be a very difficult crossing.
Beyond Dog Leg Crossing the track deteriorates. The ridges become steeper and as each wet season washes gravel from the rocky sides, the track up and down is very rough. A steep dip leads across a rock filled dam wall which is also the overflow, another bumpy exercise, but the track as it folows each ridge is much smoother going, although at one place as the track tips sideways some heavy old winding gear, probably being scavanged during the 1940s, appears to have been dislodges and now lies in the bush.
Along a ridge where the dry grass has been burnt off, presumably to safeguard against bush fires or to assist in metal detecting, a survey marker shows a private claim. There are still a number of gold operations in the reserve.
This last ridge leads into the abandoned Maytown, that is just outside the reserve area and was once the main centre of the Palmer gold rush of 1873 - 1892.
My story continues under 'Maytown'.
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Nature Conservation Reserve 'Palmer Goldfield Resources Reserve'.
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