Tag Archives: Mt. Elizabeth Station

Trip 3:Thursday, August 31 Part 1

A bit of a sleep-in this morning. We awoke with the birds, but we didn’t have to get up right away, since breakfast was set for 7:30.

The Lacy home is a wonderful, airy place, so perfectly designed for this climate, with a high, pitched, corrugated iron roof, a wide veranda, and stone walls that do not actually reach the roof, which permits air to circulate. There is a manicured lawn bordered with hibiscus, frangipani, and palm trees. It’s a lovely spot.

Inside Lacy home

Inside Lacy home

We learned at breakfast that where we are staying is the new homestead. The old homestead is, we were told, about 20 kilometers down the track.

Because Peter Lacy is off mustering, we’re not getting a tour of the station, so John is taking us to a swimming hole, to make it up to us. On the “road” again by 8:30. Huge clouds of black cockatoos and smaller flocks of white cockatoos rose into the air around us and swirled about.

We stopped at Barnett River Gorge, another wonderful spot carved out of the red rock, lined with greenery. It is always a strange but delightful thing to come upon these hidden oases in the midst of the hot, dry land, splashes of tropic splendor amid the arid savanna and barren rocks.
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We hiked to a lookout and then climbed down to a spot where we had easy access to the water, where we enjoyed a brief, refreshing splash. However, this was just a short stop, since it was in lieu of the tour of the station.

On the road again—and the road was truly awful. Probably not the worst place, but it’s endlessly amazing that any vehicle survives this.
Stopped at the Barnett River Roadhouse, where I was able to get a cold drink and buy a good map of the area. (Cold drinks—generally lemonade or iced coffee—or frozen fruit juice on a stick became minor addictions as the hot weather continued.)

On the road again, and on to Manning River Gorge. We actually didn’t drive to the gorge, but rather headed for a campsite that was within hiking distance of the gorge. Here, we set up camp and had lunch before heading off on a hike. The site was surprisingly lovely, with a serene stream and abundant trees. Several of us had gotten “hooked” on sleeping outside—that is, without even using tents—and we decided we would continue to do so. This made setting up camp much easier, since putting up tents has always been the major endeavor involved in creating camp.

Our evening campsite

Our evening campsite


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August 30, Part 2

The sky filled with clouds as the afternoon wore on, and then (as has been true every day) began to clear again. There were just enough clouds left to make a spectacular display as we drove into Mt. Elizabeth Station at sunset. Mt. Elizabeth is a working cattle station, but it also has facilities for visitors. This station has been in the Lacy family for two generations. Frank Lacy, subject of the book The Rivers of Home: Frank Lacy–Kimberley Pioneer, was born in New Zealand in 1899 and came to this region in 1923. He took up the lease on this station in 1945. He is the father of the current owner. Both Frank Lacy and his wife, Theresa, are buried nearby.

Frank’s son, Peter, now owns the station, but he is out with the stockmen, mustering the cattle, so we didn’t get to meet him. We were met by Peter’s wife, Pat Lacy, and her niece, Kim. We actually get to sleep in beds here, and Pat showed us to our rooms. After I dashed off to photograph the sunset and the gravestones of the first Lacys, I enjoyed a cold shower and then dressed for dinner.
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We were introduced to another “family member”—a pet wallaby. Pat explained that the wallaby had been hut by a car, and the Lacys nursed it back to health. This actually happens with some regularity, so Pat knows what to do—and what to expect. As soon as the mating season is on, the wallaby will return to the wild.

I was surprised to meet another American there: Will Chaffey from Boston, who is up here doing a story for Australian Geographic. He has had some remarkable adventures up here, getting stranded in the wilderness and being reduced to the point of eating grasshoppers–“going feral” as he put it.

Pat Lacy served us a lovely, civilized dinner, with tablecloth and china, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

We chatted after dinner, sharing tales of our own adventures around Australia (some of ours more amusing than Will’s, but he won for hardship). Then we returned to our rooms before the generator was shut down for the night at 9:30.

Nights get surprisingly cool, now, though not until about 2 a.m. It’s amazing that is still gets so brutally hot during the day.

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