Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gone in a Flash (car)

Tieri's a mining town, created to house the workforce for Oaky Creek Mine. There's serious money in town - lots of flash fast cars roaring past our house, many only a year or so off the showroom floor. Last night one of them had a spectacular crash three doors down from our house - and it was our next-door neighbours.

We were watching TV about 8, when there was a series of crunching bangs outside, the sort produced only by a car running into other cars or an immovable object. It sounded like about three crashes at once, and I thought it was a car going out of control in the pub carpark accross the street. We went outside, and could see a huge cloud of dust rising not from the pub, but from down the road. When we got closer, it was a late model, bright green V8 Ford Falcon, sitting astride the remains of a fence. Tracing back the crash later, it had apparently lost control on a gradual right hand bend, over-corrected and spun, hit the left kerb with the right front wheel, and then rolled or flipped for more than fifty metres across a grassy area before landing on the fence.

The fire engine arrived within minutes - apparently they'd been having an exercise nearby, and an ambulance was close behind. The roof was cut off almost immediately and the passenger removed, but freeing the driver took far longer - I didn't stay to watch. A helicopter from Rockhampton landed around 10, but didn't leave again until after 11, presumably when the patient was stabilised. The driver was taken away by ambulance.

It's tempting to think "what a terrible accident". But an accident is, by definition, something that couldn't be avoided or foreseen. To have travelled so far, that Falcon must have been doing something like 100km/h, down the main street, with pedestrians and dog-walkers out for an evening stroll. What it was, instead, was a tragedy. Two people are hurt, one seriously, and they might not be able to work again for months, if ever. All the houses in town are for company employees, and even if our neighbours recover from their injuries sufficiently to return to work, the company might not wait to see if they'll be coming back before reallocating the house, as there's a shortage of accommodation in town.

A good job, great money, house supplied, all gone in a few seconds.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


The latest trip was north to Bowen, via an inland road through Collinsville, and old coal-mining town. The first night was spent at the Bogie River Bush House, a wildlife sanctuary between Collinsville and Bowen. It's a brilliant place, the first where I've found a wallaby in my bedroom (honest). They also have an emu named Eddy, who thinks he's a 'roo too.

Then out to Bowen, one of the oldest towns in Queensland, on the coast between Mackay and Townsville. It's famous for Mangoes (not in season yet) , and, when I was there, rain.