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April 2013 - Moranbah

Well our 6 month stop in Moranbah that turned into 18 has come to an end.

We finished up jobs and first term of school at Easter, then hit the road again with the intention of getting to Perth by about October.

So, the highlights of Moranbah:

Main claim to fame is the red bucket. This is an ex coal mining dragline bucket. Most towns in the area have one, and most of them are red:

This is what the bucket normally hangs off. These things dig big trenches to remove the overburden before the coal is extracted in open cut coal mining. They cost about $300m. This mine (Peak Downs) has about 3 of them:

Open cut coal mine:

Another common sight in the area is caol trains heading to Hay Point (Mackay) to be shipped mostly to China for coking coal in the steel industry. Each train carries about $2m worth of coal depending on the current price.

The reason we ended up in Moranbah was a job at this place. Dyno Nobels Ammonium Nitrate Plant which was commissioned in 2012. This place makes the stuff that goes bang to loosen up coal seams:

My job was to keep all these lights on (I think). Got a bit busy when they went off.

Simone worked a few different jobs in the education department. First as a crossing lady, then as a teachers aide in the specials unit at the high school, then in the main part of the high school.

What isn't coal mines in this area is agriculture. Some cropping and plenty of cattle grazing:

Being a bit inland (200km from the coast) and a bit elevated (250m) and a bit north (200km north of the tropic of capricorn), the climate is generally dry and warm. From October to April the days don't drop below 30, and nights rarely below 20. January has a few weeks of 37s and 38s. Then we get about 4 to 6 weeks of humidity through Febraury, but otherwise the humidity is very low. Spring and Autumn are very pleasant. Then June July has nice days but cool mornings. We got a couple of frosts and a few weeks of 4 degree starts.

Moranbah has most basic services, but the closest big smoke is Mackay (200km away).

An a bit further away is Airlie Beach, which actually has beaches:

There are a few waterholes about, including the local creek:

And Theresa Dam, about a 100km away. Popular camping and Water sports place:

While in the "Bah" we had a company house, which was extra flash:

Being a mining town, the real estate is rediculous. When coal prices are high, the demand for accomodation goes through the roof and mining companies will pay huge money for housing. A place like this (4br house) would have sold for around $900,000 in December 2011 and made about $2800 a week rent.

Anyway, we had a couple of very casual chrismas's in it:

The kids did 18 months of real school and made some lasting freindships. The town has very high proportion of young families so there is lots for kids to do.

Halloween was a big night:

Evan made it to Orange Belt in Karate:

And eventually made it around the BMX track:

We had a few trips over to the Whitsunday Islands:

Rode a bike about a bit:

We had a dog for a while. Looked pretty harmless here:

But soon grew physically much quicker than mentally and became a bit of a handfull. He was only a loaner so he wnet back to his original owner.

After leaving at Easter we went to Rockhampton to put our furniture in storage, before heading West. Weve been on the road now for 2 weeks and currently in Longreach.

Posted by enookway 03:57

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Wow, haven't the kids grown quickly. Everyone looks great. Wonderful to hear from you and looking forward to future bulletins. Love from us.

by Dad & Rosemary

Hi Ian, Great to see you guys back on the road again, The kids have all grown and having a great time, I see you still have the patrol and I assume she's still going strong, Hope your adventures continue and the family is well,

by Greg McBain

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