Posted by: travelrat | October 12, 2011


Cairns: 22nd August 2010.

Today was going to be a long day; Up to Kuranda … a former mining mountain town where hippies set up a colony in the 60s and 70s, by means of the Skyrail, a cable car that lifts you up the mountains through the rainforest canopy. The return trip was on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, built in the 1870s to supply miners during the Gold Rush.

We had an all-inclusive ticket, with which, while waiting for the Skyrail, we could visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Centre, near its foot.

We saw demonstrations of dancing and didgeree-doo playing. I did make some video, but I think it might be in breach of You Tube’s conditions if I posted it here. However, some years before, I’d visited the Pomberuk Aboriginal Centre at Murray Bridge, and been told

‘I dunno, mate! Can you copyright a bloke blowing into a hollow log?’


We had a chance to try our hand at throwing boomerangs and spears. But, before the show started, we were able to take a wander round, check out the gift shop (of course!) and inspect canoes on the lake, painted in traditional Aboriginal patterns, and made from the bark of the traditional fibreglass tree.

I suppose, though, that some people might take exception these days to bark being stripped from trees for canoes. But, five years before, the First Officer of the ‘Murray Princess’ showed us a 200 year old ‘canoe tree’, which didn’t seem to have come to much harm.

No, my boomerang didn’t come back … nobody’s did, except Ellie’s.. The rest went crashing into the trees, with delighted calls of ‘Koala!’ from the instructors. And, the demonstrator made it look so easy. But, I did better with the spears; after all, I did come second in the under-15s javelin at school!

Photo by Lorraine D. Kellett




  1. Hi Keith,
    A great post, you had me laughing at the fiberglass canoe, that is just classic, and of course “the copyright” on the hollow log. 😆
    I love the photo’s they are really great.

  2. I love the didge. I always listen to the guys playing down at Circular Quay. They are excellent. They let me have a go once and I couldn’t get a sound out of it. They laughed, saying if I was a proper Scot I should be able to play the bagpipes and therefore the didge because of the circular breathing. I’ve got to say – it was much harder than I thought!

  3. Hi Keith,
    Just read your email pc about the end of the trip to Aus and what needs to get on your ‘bucket list’—-what you say is so true. Our bucket list keeps getting longer too, and as fast as we do one thing, a few more get added! Glad you got to see a platypus. We’ve seen a cassowary without a fence, but you have to be careful as they can be really vicious.

    • Hi, Viv!

      Yes, I know … every time something gets crossed off the list, three items are added!

      And, if you want to see it, there’s a short video clip of the platypus at

    • PS: Next trip to Oz (Adelaide & Darwin) starts in March … QANTAS permitting!

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