One of the few remaining parts of the Cloncurry-Phosphate Hill road that is dirt. Photo: Derek Barry
One of the few remaining parts of the Cloncurry-Phosphate Hill road that is dirt. Photo: Derek Barry

Last week I used this page to tell the story of how I got lost north of Middleton on a journey between Boulia and Julia Creek. While I thought it was an amusing story with a moral (“don’t ignore local advice”), a few loudmouths took to social media to hammer me on my “embarrassing” editorials with a strongly worded hint that people, well some keyboard warriors anyway, didn’t care much about me talking about myself.

Well, those people better look away now because I had another adventure on the road this weekend and I’m going to write about it here. This time I didn’t quite get lost though for a while I wasn’t sure where I was going and there is no moral as such other than a bit more planning required and better signposting.

Like the last time Boulia was part of the story, I was heading south firstly beyond Boulia to Bedourie for a couple of pre-Easter days rest with friends then back to Boulia for the races on Saturday.

I’ve done the Mount Isa-Boulia run many times but thiis time I had a detour to Cloncurry to begin with. 

After I was done my business in Cloncurry, I set off south along the Cloncurry-Dajarra Rd, a beautiful road I had never previously had the pleasure of driving.

The road is mostly bitumen now with Cloncurry Shire Council pressing to get rid of the last few kilometres of dirt down to Phosphate Hill. I saw signs telling me the distance to Dajarra and also Duchess, a town I also had never been to.

For some reason I assumed Duchess was a turn-off from the Dajarra Rd and I said to myself if the distance was less than 10km from the turnoff I would check it out.

Sure enough I got to a junction signpost where Dajarra was annoyingly absent but it pointed left to Phosphate Hill along the bitumen while Duchess was 9km away to the right on dirt. Being less than 10km I went into Duchess but the pub was closed so I could not ask for the right direction which was to continue on and then turn left to Dajarra. Instead I turned back to the Phosphate Hill road and travelled on another 50km. I was worried I’d have to head all the way back to Duchess, but right at the plant there was a turn-off to Dajarra via the Monument. It was a very rough track but at least I was back on track. DB