birding-aus re nefarious activities

Subject: birding-aus re nefarious activities
From: Alexandra Appleman <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 10:06:03 +1000
Just got back from a trip in inland North Queensland and picked up the
thread on the marajuana plant / plantations.  I'm not going to add anything
to that but follow Max's posting with a cautionary tale of my own.

My partner Norm and I were camped by the Clarke River, just off the Kennedy
Development Road in North Queensland, 140 km north of Charters Towers and
60km south-east of Greenvale.  This road is a narrow bitumen strip which
B-triple road trains hunt along at great speed, usually travelling in threes.

At 11pm on Thursday night I was awoken by the dog barking.  Thinking he was
barking at cattle I told him to be quiet, then heard the engine of a truck
and saw a pair of headlights bearing down on us along the track and woke
Norm in a hurry.  He grabbed the dog and we scuttled out from under the
tarp as the truck veered at the last moment to avoid plowing through our
camp.  The truck never slowed or stopped but continued on down to the
Clarke River and under the bridge where it stopped.  

For the next hour or so we were treated to loud 'Megadeath' type music,
yahooing and the firing of .22 rifles at beer cans. 

Norm is a former pig-shooter, a member of the Sporting Shooters Association
and a crack shot.  He carries a 300 magnum rifle with a 3 bullet chamber
and telescopic sights on our outback trips but knowing my dislike of
firearms keeps it in the 4WD.  I was scared that these clowns would come
back through our camp so when he asked me if he should get his rifle out I
decided it was a good idea.  

I might add that we both enjoy a drink but are not drunks, but Norm was
adamant that guns and alcohol don't mix, these blokes should not be
shooting at night, near to people and to cattle and could lose their gun
licence (if they had one). 
Eventually all went quiet and we passed an uneasy night.  In the morning
the truck packed up and left and we decided to break camp.  

The nearest homestead to the Clarke River is Mt Fullstop station, founded
and run by the Core family for several generations.  Norm scribbled a note
describing what had happened, wrote down his phone/fax number and left it
in the mail box. Shortly after we arrived back into Townsville late in the
afternoon the phone rang and it was Matt Core himself, wanting a
description of the vehicle.  Matt Core is a man of few words and asked very
specific questions and Norm sensed he knew who was responsible. We both
know enough about country Queenslanders to know that bush justice would be

I am not advocating that birders carry guns and I for one have no intention
of using a firearm; but it could be a useful practice when camping in bush
areas to contact the nearest homestead to let them know who you are and why
you are there. 

Alex Appleman

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