Ravenswood in Northern Queensland is a quaint little gold mining “ghost town” (says the tourism blarb – but really it just means more of it has disappeared than is still standing). Anyway, it has some fascinating buildings and funny little shops left along with a wealth of interesting history and abandoned mining heritage.

Getting there is quite an adventure too, especially if you ignore the softies’ bitumen road in from Charters Towers and brave the roller coaster gravel Ayr-Ravenswood Road in from the east.

Once you leave the sugar cane fields and start heading into the cattle country, you are met with a sign that warns of a really steep descent towards the end of the road and advises it is unwise to attempt it in a bus or towing a caravan. “Phooey!” said I. Even though my caravan is 25′ long and weighs 3.5tonnes I was still confident that “Gertie”, my trusty Jeep Grand Cherokee wouldn’t have any problems. I reckon it could pull a ship up Mount Everest if it had to! I was right of course as the Jeep sailed up the threatened slope with ease and we were treated to some magnificent sites. The scenery is just spectacular, with convenient lookouts and parking provided along the way.

The second time I came through this road I was sans caravan and wife, just a tent, dog and me out looking for painting subjects. As I explored bushtracks and any opportunity I could find to get closer to the mountains of Leichardt Range I came across a station dam, squeezed between the Ayr-Ravenswood Road and the upper reaches of Barratta Creek as it leaves the hills. The dam had plenty of water and was basically a small lake with lots of water lilies decorating it.

With a backdrop of gorgeous hills and lazy herds of cattle wandering about, the raking afternoon light presented some amazing scenery that was begging to be painted.

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