Travelling the Gulf can take many forms from standard vehicles to bicycle
Travelling the Gulf can take many forms from standard vehicles to bicycle
Anzac Day is the solemn day of remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who have fought and died for their country, and is marked annually on the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War.
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Anzac Day is celebrated on 25 April each year, regardless of on which day it falls. The day is a public holiday, however no replacement holiday is given if Anzac Day falls on a weekend (except in Western Australia).
It was on 25 April 1915 that the armies of Australia and New Zealand entered into their premier battle of the First World War, at Gallipoli, Turkey. At the time, Australia had only been recognised as a federal commonwealth for thirteen years.
Many Australians were sympathetic to the United Kingdom, which they regarded as the motherland. So the volunteer armies of Australian and New Zealand, eager to fight the good fight in the war, bravely landed on the shore of the Gallipoli Peninsula with the intent to capture and secure a safe passage for Allied navies.
At Gallipoli, the Anzacs faced off with one of the fiercest armies history has ever known. Despite landing under the cover of darkness, the Anzacs were met with immediate bombardment and gunfire. On the shores of Gallipoli, the Australian and New Zealand armies fought for eight months forcing a stalemate. Eight thousand Anzac soldiers lost their lives before the Allies called for an evacuation.
While the operation itself was not a success, the valour and determination shown by Anzacs, the “Knights of Gallipoli,” were immediately commemorated in Australia, London, and even at the Allies’ camp in Egypt in 1916. Parades and ceremonies were held in their honour, and even those who were wounded in combat were a part of the parade while they were still recovering.
By the 1920s, the day had become a way to memorialise the sixty thousand Australian soldiers who died in the First World War. By the next decade, all Australian states had a form of celebration for Anzac Day, and many of the traditions we still carry out today had already taken shape. Forevermore, the 25th of April would be known as the day Australia arrived as a force in the world.
Journalist Phillip, F. E. Schuler wrote of this defining moment in his book, “Australia in Arms” (published 1916):
“ANZAC! In April—a name unformed, undetermined; June—and the worth of a Nation and Dominion proved by the five letters—bound together, by the young army’s leader, Lieut.-General Sir W. Birdwood, in the inspired “Anzac”—Australian, New Zealand Army Corps.”
However, for all the gallantry and selfless sacrifice offered by Australians in this war, it must also be remembered that throughout World War 1 there was constant, unnecessary waste of human life. Bryce Courtenay writes about the sacrifice of the Light Horsemen in his introduction to “An Anzac’s Story” by Roy Kyle A.I.F (p. 152),
“Their gallantry will never be forgotten, and the stupidity of the commanding generals must never be forgiven. This was a war where too many of the beautiful young of every nation were sacrificed willy-nilly by old men smelling of whisky, with the brass buttons on their tunics stretched to breaking point over their paunches. Dyspeptic colonels and generals, spluttering and mumbling through their tobacco-stained moustaches, watched men die through the rubber eyepieces of their field glasses and pronounced the battle glorious.”
Why is Anzac Day important?
While Anzac Day is set to coincide with the anniversary of the landing in Gallipoli, the day itself is not meant to be a commemoration of the event, but rather the qualities that Australia established for itself there. On Anzac Day, we recognise the courage, mateship, skill, and perseverance of those who have served, fought, and given their lives in the military. On Anzac Day, we show love, honour and support for those who fought to enable freedom for people all over the world, but were not able to make it home.
Travelling the Gulf can take many forms from standard vehicles, 4 wheel drives, motorbikes, vehicles towing caravans and camp trailers and more.
For specific road condition details – closures, roadworks, flooding and other road network information we suggest the Queensland Government Department of Main Roads link – 131940 – which you can phone or type in as a search. Each of the Gulf regions Council areas also post regular road reports through the ‘wet season’ months – from around November/December through to March/April depending on weather and road conditions. This includes Etheridge, Croydon, Carpentaria, and Burke Shire area.
Karumba has a particular appeal in destinations along the Gulf of Carpentaria coastline – as it’s the only place you can get to the coastline of the Gulf on bitumen road all the way from the east coast on the Savannah Way or through from Cloncurry/Mt Isa direction via the Matilda Way. This means we have cyclists (yes that’s bicycles) and all types of transportation modes which can make the trip to watch a sunset, catch a fish, see how barramundi are bred for release in restocking, learn the history and heritage of the diverse Gulf region, take a river cruise and see croc’s, enjoy mud-crab, prawns, fish and more from the Gulf or just kick back and enjoy the laid back relaxed atmosphere.
In the middle part of the year there is a major fund raising event started back in 1997 which is a cycling ride from Cairns to Karumba – some 7 days…the Coast to Coast Bike Ride raises funds for kids in the bush.
The Savannahlander and Gulflander train rides are a great experience and truly a part of the history of the region which you can enjoy as you head for Karumba.
There is a lot of information available across existing websites to help you travel safely, comfortably and also making sure you don’t miss all the amazing places, people and experiences along the way. Below we have listed several links to help with your planning.
There is a 3 times weekly bus/coach service from Cairns to Karumba, stopping at all towns along the way – plus they carry smaller freight items – preferably 20kg or under however they will try and accommodate larger items where possible. Trans North is the service operator with agents in each town as well as the option to book online. They depart from Cairns on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and return the following day with the trip taking approx. 11 hours. Comfortable air conditioned coach and there are packages for those wanting to ride the Gulflander train and see some other Gulf sites – these are available from a variety of agencies including Qld Travel Train.
For commercial flights you can check with Rex Airlines which fly in and out of Normanton and there are charter operators such as West Wing/Skytrans and Savannah Air you just need to enquire about cost and availability.
Various tourist coach operators bring regular tours through the Gulf country throughout the year so some Google searching will easily help you find these, or your holiday travel agency is bound to have lots of information.
The Gulf Chamber of Commerce has a great tourism website with plenty of regional information as well as their Chamber general website.
Savannah Way Ltd – this is our Local Tourism Organisation and their site has an abundance of information including travelling tips and details.
Gulf Savannah Development – is our regional economic development organisation and their site has lots of links, details and more information on the region.
Department of Transport – Queensland has some great safety and preparation tips for driving in the Outback.
Another great site has further information for visitors from overseas – and also some very important tips for everyone in how to safely react and respond with road trains and semi-trailers – remember they have a lot more wheels to manage than you do.
BOOK NOW! for April, May and June. You may also do advanced booking for July, August, September, and August.
Postal Address: Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park, PO Box 61 Karumba Queensland 4891
Tel: (07) 4745 9277
Fax (07) 4745 9277
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