In 2010, Maxine and I we fortunate enough to spend two fantastic weeks Queensland, in the general area of Cairns. We used the conventional Australian check-list, from “I-Spy Australia”.
- Shark (small friendly 6 ft one) – tick!
- Snake (harmless 4 ft one) – tick!
- Crocodile (medium sized and also in burger) – tick!
- Kookaburra (lots including one almost on our balcony) – tick!
- Duck billed platypus (three of them) – tick!
- Kangaroos (and wallabies) – tick!
- Leeches (3 made unsuccessful attack on legs) – tick!
- Drongo (the bird species) – tick!
- Cassowary (father plus chick) – very, very, big tick!!!!
This list reveals my other time-consuming hobby – bird watching (mostly of the feathered kind). Similar to train spotting, really, as I have a big database of worldwide sightings. Just the objects of interest are more difficult to find, as they don’t run on rails to a timetable.
But we also saw a few trains…. Best of all were the sugar-cane lines. Around 2 foot gauge, these are laid out like a big train set around a sugar refining works, with loops here and there to load the cane, and random turnouts and branches following the field edges. Our first train, about 50 trucks long, was crossing the road as we approached Mossman.
And finally, just to show that there are short cane trains around, we came across this one, with only a dozen trucks, running crossing the prosaically named ‘Bruce Highway’ on the way back to Cairns.
Of course, my thoughts turned to modelling potential! Not a great variety in stock, but very interesting tropical locations. For those interested, this site for Queensland is excellent, as is this one worldwide. Backwoods Minatures make OO9 kits of Fiji sugar cane railways, that might be near enough for a small diorama or model.
I’ll blog about the sugar cane works another time.