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All Alone - 17. Alo Chapter 17

“Lloyd, what are you doing back here, in this neck of the woods?” the Roadhouse owner said, as soon as she saw me enter.

“You might as well know, I am the new owner of Coral Coast Station” I replied, which caught the attention of the police officers.

“Mr Templeton, we were not expecting you so early” the officer with Sergeant stripes said to me.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t drive no - stop, I had a 5-hour sleep in my swag, at the rest stop south of Carnarvon” I said to the officer.

“That is good to hear, now just by chance, we had a Parks and Wildlife Officer doing his monthly coastal patrol, and he was at the Lagoon camp site last night, when we called him.

He packed up and headed north right away, and arrived at the main Coral Coast house, with the party still in full swing. They had a camp fire party going on the beach down below, and there was rubbish everywhere in the house, with some damage, when the Department of P & W arrived, and he arrested all twenty-three of the offenders on the spot, and he had zip ties to restrain them till we arrived.

We have collected all of their belongings and recorded all the damage they have down on the beach and in and around the house, including graffiti on the house and the power shed just below it, and impounded 4 vehicles, that are currently down near your machinery shed, until we can organise for them to be collected.

We had to charter a small bus to transport the 23 men and women back to Carnarvon, where they have been charged with trespassing, criminal damage, breaking and entering, and assaulting a public officer” the police officer informed me.

“I see, well thank you all for what you have done to catch these intruders, I want them fully prosecuted, and I will be making an application to the courts for compensation for the damage they have done” I said.

Once the officers had left to drive back to Carnarvon, I grabbed a drink and a snack for myself and Angus, before giving Angus a chance to walk around a little, and to take a toilet break, before we headed towards the station, with the set of gate keys that the officer had handed over to me.

When I was just fifteen minutes away from the homestead compound, I picked up the radio mike, Coral Coast Mobile to Base, Lloyd to Matt or Greg, over” I said, and repeated the call again two minutes later.

“Coral Coast base, receiving you, where are you, boss? over” I heard Greg respond.

“I am about 5 minutes from the homestead over” I responded.

“Oh wow. Ok we are at the machinery shed, see you soon, over and out” Greg answered.

“Hey guys, I leave you for just one day, and already you have trouble” I said to the lads, who looked a little shocked and downhearted by my comment, thinking they were in trouble, and I laughed.

“It is ok guys, I’ve had a chat with the local boys in Blue at the roadhouse, so I know what’s happened” I said to them and they blushed a little at being tricked by me.

“We have just been doing a clean-up of the mess from the beach and house party, they left a hell of a lot of damage. So far, we have cleaned up all the rubbish off the beach and surrounding area and cleaned up the rubbish in and around the house, we were just having a break before we start cleaning up the graffiti and cleaning the house” Matt said to me.

“Sounds like you have everything under control, maybe I should have stayed at home” I commented.

An extra pair of hands wouldn’t go astray” Greg commented with a cheeky grin on his face and I just laughed.

“Let’s go and have some morning tea, and Angus can settle down to his favourite spot in the middle of the lounge. I have my swag with me, so Angus and I will camp out in the patio while I am here” I added.

“So, how have you settled in back here on the station?” I asked the lads as we sat down with our cuppa’s.

“All good so far, apart from the little hiccup last night” Matt replied.

“Good, so after this, I would like to suggest that we try and find where these intruders entered the station and fix it, and while we are at it, we can install those new signs that you picked up yesterday” I commented.

“Oops” Matt said, “We kind of forgot to collect them sorry” Greg added, I frowned, then smiled.

”That is ok, one of you can make a special trip to town to collect them, tomorrow” I responded.

“My responsibility, so I will do it” Matt said, and I just nodded my head.

After morning tea, we loaded up two station vehicles with fencing gear, water, and plenty of wire, and we headed north, along the mains station track to check on the northern gate, and 1 ¼ hours later we arrived at the Northern gate, and found that part of a fence had been knocked down.

An hour later, the fence was tight and standing straight once more, and we checked on the gate, which was still locked. I decided that we needed to check on the most northern campsite at 14 Mile, to see if these intruders had done any damage, and we were not too pleased, when we found rubbish everywhere, vehicles had been tearing around damaging the tracks and dunes, and at one point they appeared to have been bogged near the water line.

Pulling out my satellite phone, I searched the directory and found the number I wanted, and pressed dial. “Hello Chris, this is Lloyd Templeton, the new owner of Coral Coast, are you and Anne, interested in returning to the station as the Northern Caretakers?”... “We will be building a separate area for you, with a private gazebo, shower and toilet, and concrete pad for your van” I asked after Chris said that they have missed the station and will be interested. He mentioned that they were currently in Broome, so it would be about 4 days before they arrive.

I asked them to call into the homestead when they arrive, to pick up a generator and fuel, before they head out to the 14 Mile Camp Ground, and they said they were very happy to be returning. After that call, I made another call, this time to the building company in Carnarvon.

“Hello, this is Coral Coast Station, have you started building the shelter gazebos yet? And do you have any cyclone coded ablution units available for sale?” I said when the call was answered.

“Yes sir, we have 4 metre by 4 metre bathrooms, that are cyclone code built, and we have two gazebos built and ready” came the reply.

“Good, can you have the two gazebos partly dismantled, keep the roof sections all in one piece, and one of the station staff, by the name of Matt Price, will be in Carnarvon tomorrow to collect them all” I replied, and I gave my credit card details to pay for them all, before ending the call.

“I think you will both need to go for this trip, and bring back plenty of bags of cement, and some wood, and pegs for the edging of the slabs and screening the top of the slabs. I will probably call you tomorrow to collect more things, but that is all for now. Let’s start cleaning up this mess, then we can head back to the homestead” said to the lads.

After an enjoyable BBQ dinner, the lads headed to bed early since they would be leaving at dawn, to get to Carnarvon as businesses start opening for the day. They arrived back at the homestead compound shortly after 1pm, with a trailer and back of the ute full of supplies.

I had called the hardware store and ordered and paid for a 5000-litre poly water tank and all the required fittings, to connect it to the bathroom, which has an instant hot water heater attached. The bathroom and the two gazebos have had solar panels quickly installed before the lads arrived, to provide all the electricity required to power the bathroom, and the caretakers caravan.

While the lads were busy shopping and coming back from Carnarvon, I had grabbed the chainsaw, and went looking for suitable trees to use for post and rail fencing, and with that done, I loaded them into the bucket of the tractor front end loader, with the new post hole digger attached to the back, and I drove out to the 14-mile campground.

Once there I did some searching around, and after some looking around, I selected a spot near just east of the track junction, that goes west to the beach, and south west to Telstra Hill, which has a magnificent view of the coast, and where a water tank and small desalination plant is located, along with the Chemical toilet dump site nearby.

After dumping the logs that I had cut and trimmed, I began digging post holes on either side of the main track, about 60 metres before the junction, so must build a basic post and rail fence, to mark the entry point for the 14-mile campground. I dug a total of 8 holes on each side of the track, with each hole being ten metres apart.

By the time that the lads called me over the radio, to announce that they had returned, I had placed all 16 posts in the ground and filled in the holes, ramming the dirt to stop each post from moving. Just 5 metres east of the new fence, is a small clump of medium sized trees, and this would be the location for the caretakers, as it provided some shade and wind shelter.

I had stopped for lunch just before the lads called, and Angus and I were enjoying the share from the trees as we ate. “Come straight out to 14 -mile campsite please, and Greg, can you follow in the other station ute, with the wheel burrow, wide shovels, and fil up a 200-litre blue drum with some water, as we will be laying concrete all afternoon” I said to the lads.

“Right boss, we will be there in 45 minutes” Matt replied and signed off from the radio. Once we had finished eating, Angus stayed in the shade, while I went back to work, installing the first of the single rails that will be on this fence, with a strand of wire above and below it.

By the time that Matt arrived, towing the heavily loaded trailer behind him, I had completed two railings on each side of the track. “Wow, you have been very busy today boss” Matt said as he stepped out and assessed my work.

“Yes, it has been slow going being on my own, but I am getting there” I replied, and I lead the way back to my vehicle under the trees to get a drink of water.

I would like to put the caretakers camp here, on this side of the trees, so they get afternoon shade and wind protection from the beach, and I would like to have the gazebos on either side of the caravan slab, with the one closest to the road being raised by about ¾’s of a metre, with a wood decking, so as to get a better view of the camping grounds, and approaching vehicles” I suggested, and Matt was nodding his head in agreement.

We began to unpack the trailer first, and once we had the skirting boards for the concrete slab out, we began to lay it out to how I want it, with extra length at the back, to make room for the bathroom, and pegged them into place, once that was done and with no sign of Greg yet, we began to put the first gazebo together, and completed it just as Greg arrived.

Straight away, we began to mix the first batch of concrete, with a pile of sand that I dug up with the loader, and the lads kept mixing and delivering the mix in the wheelbarrow, while I did the screening, till we had the caravan pad, and the gazebo pad completed, with the brackets included, that would fix the gazebo to, once the concrete has set enough, and the tie down anchors for the caravan, so it won’t blow away in a storm.

As the sun was beginning to set, we packed up, and leaving the loader, building supplies and water tank behind, we headed back to the homestead, after a rewarding day of hard work.

Two days later, in the late afternoon, we had completed the post and rail fence, and attached the brand-new sign to it, which read – “Welcome to Coral Coast Station, 14 Mile Beach Camp. Please report to the caretaker for campsite allocation, and payment of fees. Please ensure you have a Chemical toilet or hire one from the caretaker.

The Caretaker camp now has a caravan slab, a bathroom, water tank, and two gazebos, with one raised ¾’s of a metre off the ground, with a deck floor and steps yet to be built. Both Gazebos are built on either side of the concrete slab, with just enough room for the caravan to squeeze past, the ground floor gazebo, has half walls all around with a side doorway, and on the side facing the entry track, there is a bench, that is used as an office work space, and it has a two way radio attached to the bench, also in the roof space in the middle is a light, at the bottom of a ceiling fan.

On the rear wall, is another bench space, is a laundry sink and an outdoor BBQ, plus two bar fridges on either side and below the bench. I had made sure that storm proof shutters had been made, to provide wind and rain protection, when there are storms around.

Once the caravan is in place, the tow hitch will actually sit underneath the raised gazebo, so it won’t be a hazard to anyone, and there was enough concrete slab space for the awning of the caravan, so it is raised off the sand, when stepping out of the caravan.

Included in everything that the lads had brought up from Carnarvon, was a biodegradable toilet tank, and I dug a deep hole, with the loader, directly behind the bathroom, to install the tank, and connected it up to the bathroom, before filling the hole in, with the tank being about ¼ of a metre underground.

Once we were happy with the toilet being operational, and with the water tank situated next to the bathroom, and filled with fresh water, from the water trailer that I brought over with me yesterday, the caretake camp was almost completed. I had ordered some decking timber, and some solid timber for joists and support beams, along with some decking oil for weather protection, which would be delivered to the Minilya Roadhouse, by the supply truck.

The solar panels on the roofs of the two gazebos and the bathroom, were already producing a good supply of power, with the lights and fans in the gazebos providing plenty of light and a cool breeze from the fan. That evening, I received a call from Chris and Anne, to let me know that they are delayed by about a week, due to some mechanical problems with the caravan.

I ensured them that it was not a problem, and to let us know when they are in Coral Bay, so we can unlock the boundary gate for them, and I explained to them that there is currently no stock on the property, and that we are concentrating on upgrades to camping sites, and tidying up after the cyclone, so no guests are permitted for now.

Copyright April 2019 Preston Wigglesworth All Rights Reserved
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Awesome chapter as usual. I feel bad for Lloyd as it seems like if it wasn’t for bad luck he would be doing good. Right after taking control of the station and sending Matt & Greg back down there to be the caretakers with Matt being the main one and Greg is his assistant, the night they arrived they reported that there was a party in the main house. Lloyd told them not to go over there and to call the police about it, they informed him that they had already called them and they said they would have someone come out. After Lloyd got off the phone he called the police himself and then called the neighbor who had been leasing the old family farm and asked him to keep an eye on the property again as he has to go to the station to deal with trespassers. Once that was done he packed a small bag and he & Angus were on the road again. I’m glad that the police were able to get an officer from the Parks and Wildlife close to the station and he was able to detain 23 men and women by using flex cuffs he had with him, all of the damage has been documented along with the vehicles that belongs to them as well as their personal belongings. Lloyd told them that he would file papers with the court for the damages, I wonder if he contacted the police again for the damages that were found out at the 14 mile campground. I think it’s great that he thought of the former caretaker of the campground to see if he would be interested in coming back to do the job again. I hope that he gets everything done that he needs to be able to open up again for customers so they can start bringing in some money instead of it all going out to make the repairs and rebuilding that was needed after the cyclone tore through the station.

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I am embarrassed by the bad habits of the Australians about whom you are writing, Quorra, I thought Aussies were better mannered and law-abiding than us Yankees, it seems they are acting just as badly as a group of 18-20-year-olds on Spring Break from the US. But I guess you are more familiar with the bad habits of your peers than am I. Maybe it is only Canuks from whom we can expect good camping manners! I would advise your employees to watch very carefully where they step -- it is not only bears that poop in the woods!

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