Wattle Hills Station
My friend Karrie in Mundubbera suggested I visit her Dad, Ken Whitehead, who lives on remote Wattle Hills Station. After I reached the end of the road at Portland Roads, he and his son Brad picked me up in their boat for an amazing two weeks exploration.
Boating 20km up the coast, we headed into the huge mouth of the mighty
Ken is a bush hermit, living on the pension in an open walled shed (called a donga) in the bush. It’s a rough life, but he is one tough cookie, having survived exotic mosquito borne brain fevers, broken tie rods, mangled props (“It took us 3 days to float home…”) and having to go downriver every 2 weeks to collect supplies and fuel from the barge from Cairns. Thanks Ken and Brad for showing me round!
We went fishing at the mouth. While Ken starts the outboard motor, Brad throws the finger-thick rope fishing line and lure back onto the beach. “We’ll start fishing from here…” and as we putter off the lure rattles into the water. “Should be any minute now…” cackles Ken, and sure enough, with a mighty bang Brad is hanging on for dear life and slowly winding in the rope onto his handline. Great sport, soon a monster Queenfish is caught and released. Catfish, trevally, Barracudas, barramundi, Mangrove Jack abound. Soon we tire and head closer to the mangroves for “A spot of light fishing”.
A huge pile of granite boulders provides a landmark for miles. I investigate inside, despite knowing that it is a sacred Aboriginal women’s site! Sure enough, inside the vaginal passage two branches split, fallopian tubes, and giant eggs lie inside! The
Ken drove me to 240-volt creek, which runs year-round, through incredible heath country stretching up valley. Run by a commune of 50 people, Wattle Hill Station has its own fire brigade to deal with the inevitable fires. Many collapsed shacks speak of the dreams of those who came to live in paradise, but couldn’t hack the hardship. As Kens says, “People who’ve been here a while know to camp as far from the river as you can!”
Ken and Brad dropped me off at the station’s airstrip, and I struggled off cycling through the sand once more. I passed heath country and bush, finally meeting Wattle Hill’s front gate a good 40km later. I stopped there for an age, contemplating my time as guest in a place to treasure and love. Wattle Hills is THE most amazing wilderness spot I have ever visited.