About 80 km south-west of Bowen in Queensland is the historic mining town of Collinsville. They’re proud of their strong coalmining and union past here — as the saga of underground strikes and fatal accidents and protest convoys to Brisbane attests. I know this from the coal museum and their interesting online history site.
But the old underground mining methods and the mateship ways ended in the 1990s; now the Collinsville mine is a vast opencut and most of the workers come from outside the area, do their 12-hour shifts for four days, then go home to their families on the coast.
Just west of Collinsville is the tiny village of Scottsville. Here I am to stay with Carol and Vince Cosentino at Wurra Yumba — Kangaroo House — who have a very pleasant accommodation building in their garden, which really belongs to a menagerie of rescued wildlife on the mend.
It is often used by backpackers, whom I imagine would be fascinated by Carol’s varying ages and breeds of wallaby joeys, all with large and thoughtfully planned play areas and with their own night-time racks of colourful sling bag/pouches.
Before I leave in the morning I watch Carol give the morning feed to this appealing group of young Pretty-face Wallabies who had slept — slung — just outside my door. As you can see, she can always use an extra pair of hands! When the slower ones emerge for breakfast, she has to use her knees as well as hands to hold the bottles.
This is merely one of many groups. Carol gets no funding for her rescue and rehabilitation work, which includes birds as well as other mammals. Feed and formula bills are huge, let alone all the incidentals, and the constant restructuring of the space to better cater for her charges’ needs. Husband Vince helps with the latter work, while donations for the occasional accommodation might cover the tonnes of tissues Carol must use, from what I saw!
You can reach Carol at Wurra Yumba on 07 4785 5497 or visit her website.
But it is actually Carol’s village of Scottsville that is closest to the Collinsville opencut mine.
At night, a drive along a hilltop road revealed how huge this mine is, or so I thought; but satellite maps show me it is far bigger.
And the newer Sonoma mine is far too close as well. There has been a coal-fired power station here since 1976, and with what I know from the Hunter, the combination does not augur well for the health of Scottsville and Collinsville residents.