I’m back in North West Queensland after almost three weeks away.
My break had two highlights, firstly a trip to Brisbane to see my daughters and also the singer David Byrne who performed at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Byrne was the singer in the 1980s band Talking Heads and it was a bucket list item to see him live and he and his amazing 12-piece band did not disappoint in a concert never to be forgotten.
Then I had over a week to get home and drove up the coast to Cairns to get out on the Reef before it disappears.
Along the way I had plenty of reminders about the power of Mother Nature.
It was hot as you’d expect Queensland to be hot in November.
But you don’t expect bushfires this far north at this time of year and they were everywhere.
I remember spending a lovely time at Baffle Creek ten years ago north of Bundaberg but now it, nearby Deepwater National Park, and all the way to Agnes Water were under severe fire threat and I could it see it in the distance from Miriam Vale.
There were more fires west of Rockhampton and again west of Mackay where beautiful Eungella and Finch Hatton suffered badly and also east with evacuations at Sarina Beach and Campwin Beach.
So it went again north Townsville where at a stop at Cardwell jetty I could see clearly over to Hinchinbrook Island which seemed to have dozens of fires burning simultaneously while behind me there were many more fires in the ranges.
In fact all the way to Cairns,everywhere you looked there were tell tale signs of fires in the heat haze fanned by unseasonally dry conditions and high winds.
Most of those fires were still burning as I write these words several days later though in typical Queensland style residents now have to worry about heavy rains and possible floods.
And just to add to the Dorothy Mackellar sunburnt country of droughts and flooding plains mix Cyclone Owen has formed off the coast.
Perfect one day, bloody unpredictable the next.
But good to be home, regardless – Derek Barry