Knockin' Around Timber Creek and the Vic River District.

greysrigging

Well-Known Member
I've recently finished a bridge demolition job out along the Victoria Highway near Timber Creek ( 600klm south west of Darwin ). As usual I point the camera at everything so thought I would put up a few pics.
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A local Darwin roadworks company, ( AKSC ) won a contract to put in high level floodproof bridges and roadworks over the Big Horse and Little Horse creeks. Part of the contract was to demolish the existing bridges, which were built in 1966 as part of the then 'Beef Roads' improvements. Initially they were single lane structures, widened by Steelcon Constructions in 1994. The Feds and NT Govts have been putting up money for 20 odd years to reduce the flooding of the Highway, which is part of Highway 1.
Being dirt diggers, not demo people, they gave me a call to see if could have a squiz and do up a methodology of demolition and site re hab. so a 1200klm day round trip to have a look back in September. I reckoned 6-8 weeks work..... We mobilised to site on the 19th October, leaving it a bit late in the season with an imminent Northern Wet. Mind you, as with the rest of the country, it has been exceptionally dry in the Top End, particularly so out along the Vic Highway west of Katherine.
Big Horse and Little Horse bridges
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Was a very 'çhallenging' job to say the least.... full on gut busting in constant 40c heat, hottest days peaking at 45c at the nearby military base at Bradshaw.
Being 'semi retired' I perhaps was not as work fit as I once was.... tell you what though, I slept well of a night !
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12 hour days and 12 can nights....ahhh not as fit as as I once was....lol ! Only 5 days below 40c for the entirety of the job.... ( sigh )
Oh and no, do not buy takeaway beer at the Timber Creek pub....my poison $82.50 a slab, whereas in Kununurra 220klm away $54 a slab !
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Everything to come out, including foundation piles. And strict enviro stuff ie; no knocking trees down or clearing vegetation.... hard to get this concept through to dirt diggers and demo types....lol !
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Rockbreaker in action.
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Now comes the scary bits.... ( well not for me so much, I'm not in the excavator.... lol ! )
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
There is a certain amount of job satisfaction wrecking things.....
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Once the top deck was removed, we got stuck into the foundations. the concrete base slabs sat on driven RSJ piles, which had to be excavated and cut off way below natural ground level. Trust me, oxy work on rusty old steel at the bottom of a 5m deep trench in 44c heat knocked the bejesus outta me..... extra beer with rum nips inbetween that night after work....haha
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
Logistically a massive job getting rid of the redundant bridge beams and concrete rubble. A
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And spare a thought for the legend in the excavator....no aircon, busted front windscreen, chewing dust, flies and operating in low 40's heat all day.... yeah he gave the rum and beer a bit of a nudge in the evenings too...lol !
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
Well, thats the job pics done and dusted....All work and no play turns Dougie into a bit of a p****, so I liked to get out and about in down town Timber Creek and take in a few sights. The town is surrounded by high escarpments on 3 sides and the mighty Victoria River. There is an access road up on the escarpment to various lookouts and a monument to the Nackeroos, a military unit formed to scout the northern coastlines during WW2.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2/1st_North_Australia_Observer_Unit
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Looking downstream the Vic towards the Bradshaw bridge in the distance.
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And our camp in Timber Creek.
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Of course what District is really renowned for is the magnificent Boab Tree ( Adansonia gregorii ) Native to the Kimberley and extending East into the Territory to about the The Vic River roadhouse ( 200klm west of Katherine. ) You do see some growing in Katherine, planted in local parks, also a few in Darwin too.
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They are deciduous in the dry season and spring to life with the first rains.
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
The most outstanding specimen in the district is the 'Gregory Tree' blazed by the explorer Augustus Gregory in 1858 .
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
Our jobsite was right next door to the Big Horse Creek campgrounds. Toilets/water etc ( which was handy for us....re the beer and rum previously mentioned haha ) and the Big Horse boat ramp. The Vic is a renowned Barra fishery ( for those with local knowledge, sadly I'm not one of 'em )
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Some other good land based fishing to be had on the Vic include Policemans Point ( nice high banks to stand on which at least gives the appearance of 'croc proof'..... ) and the big horse creek itself. My son and i dragged the boat ( complete with its black anchor... that is, a Mercury 2 stroke lol ) down from Darwin last week, trolled up and down the Vic to no avail, but caught fish on my demo site fishing off the bank. well I caught the Barra.... and as I will remind him from now until the day I leave this mortal coil, the score was Dad 4 - Son 0. Ahhh how sweet it is.....
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
The museum at Timber Creek is housed at the old police station. Unfortunately closed for rennos. I like poking around old outback museums etc. The old policemans house is still standing and the horse paddock has a couple of graves down by the creek.
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
Ducked over to Kununurra to do a bit of shopping. Its a 2 hour run and a fairly scenic drive as you get closer to the WA border and the outliers of the Kimberley Ranges. The obligatory stop at the quarrantine checkpoint at the border is always quicker if the question, "where have you come from today ?" is answered with, "Timber Creek". Never get searched with that response.... if you say Darwin or Katherine, they wanna look in the Engel and eskies.
I must have driven past the Lake Argyle turnoff dozens of times over the years and never stopped for a look. This time we detoured that way....what a pretty drive through the hills. And the dam itself is really something. Water levels were very low as to be expected at the end of a loong dry season. The Durack homestead is a museum now, unfortunately closed at this time of the year, I was looking forward to having a wander around. In fact the whole place, caravan park, boat ramp, picnic grounds at the bottom of the dam wall were pretty well deserted. Generally brutally hot at this time of the year, if its not hot its because its raining, so there ain't much tourist traffic around Xmas-New Year.
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greysrigging

Well-Known Member
Definitely gunna come back over here with the boat !
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Then into Kununurra for a bit of shopping and a counter lunch at the Hotel Kununurra. As with all Kimberley towns, Kununurra has full on takeaway liquor restrictions..... only 1x30 pack per person per day. Too bad if you want to stock up on supplies for a fishing or camping trip out bush......
As usual the population as a whole has to suffer for the indiscretions of a few. At least there are 2 pubs in town so you can buy 2 slabs if you are so inclined.
Took the son out to the Kununurra Diversion Dam, and then out to the Ivanhoe Crossing for a bit of a flic for Barra. The Ivanhoeis one of those deadly deceptive and dangerous crossings that regularly claims 4wds. The rule of thumb is do not attempt if the water level is at the top of the guide posts.
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For the Rum aficionados among us, there is a boutique distillery out on Weber Plains Road called the Hoochery. They do tasting sessions and sell all sorts of quality product ( as opposed to the sump oil outta Bundaberg ) Now I'm not a rum head per say, but Ord River Rum is smooth on the palette.....
https://www.hoochery.com.au/australian-made-rum-shop
Unfortunately ( fortunately ? lol ) they were closed so probably a good thing, saved a few dollars and a few headaches.
A 2 hour run back to our camp at Timber Creek, and a fish off the ramp at Big Horse topped off a good day.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
The 2/1 Nackeroos (green and gold double diamonds) were the original Norforce. My great uncle was a double black diamond, there is a similar plaque on the Atherton tablelands for them. The 2/5 commando and later the 2/7 cavalry commando - they spent a lot of time 'observing' and interfering along the black cat track area of Northern PNG and had the battle of the beach heads against the japs at the North end of Kokoda (buna/gona). Their methods formed the basis of the original SAS which sounds great but at the time they where absolutely hated and mistrusted due to being off grid and uncontrollable by the english/american hierarchy. They were actually disarmed before they were allowed to come home.
I enjoyed every bit of that post - love the 'environmental management' that you guys get away with up there. We have to encapsulate (temp under bridge decks) and catch everything before it hits the water down here. Then again we would have access to a crawler on a job like that too - the little franna that could! Blokes down here could learn a lot from the 'get the job done' ethos.
 

greysrigging

Well-Known Member
The 2/1 Nackeroos (green and gold double diamonds) were the original Norforce. My great uncle was a double black diamond, there is a similar plaque on the Atherton tablelands for them. The 2/5 commando and later the 2/7 cavalry commando - they spent a lot of time 'observing' and interfering along the black cat track area of Northern PNG and had the battle of the beach heads against the japs at the North end of Kokoda (buna/gona). Their methods formed the basis of the original SAS which sounds great but at the time they where absolutely hated and mistrusted due to being off grid and uncontrollable by the english/american hierarchy. They were actually disarmed before they were allowed to come home.
I enjoyed every bit of that post - love the 'environmental management' that you guys get away with up there. We have to encapsulate (temp under bridge decks) and catch everything before it hits the water down here. Then again we would have access to a crawler on a job like that too - the little franna that could! Blokes down here could learn a lot from the 'get the job done' ethos.
Reading up on the Nackeroos, there was a fair amount of 'dislike' by the Army brass who regarded them as 'undisciplined'......
Yeah, we got away with a bit on the OH&S and Enviro side of things.... one of the benefits of being 600klm away from the Office..... and 42c every day during the 'build up' means there is some reluctance to make a site visit.
 
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