2nd July 2013
I am being a good girl, getting plenty of rest and following doctors’ orders.
I still didn’t get to Tully Heads but will endeavour to do so before we leave next Wednesday.
Apart from doing the washing and cleaning up a bit we haven’t done all that much, well I haven’t, Rob has been fishing a couple of times but not having much luck.
3rd July, 2013
On the way home from shopping today we stopped at the old church in the middle of the cane fields.
It was a Catholic Church at one time but it is quite obvious that it hasn’t been used for quite some time. The moss and lichen all over it has been there for years.
How do I know it’s Catholic …… there is a plaque on the front of the church and it’s written in Latin and my very knowledgeable husband translated it for me. Clever little bloke.
The grounds are still kept in good order and there are some lovely flowers and some interesting moss and lichens attached to the trees as well.
There are these pods with big brown seeds in them but I am yet to find out what they are.
Rob broke off a piece of sugar cane for me to have a chew on and as you would expect it tasted like liquid sugar.
I forgot to mention before that when you are driving through the fields and they happen to be harvesting you can actually smell the sweetness.
All our questions will be answered tomorrow as we are going to do the Sugar Mill Tour. Stay tuned.
4th July, 2013
What a great day we had today.
Have you all been hanging out for some more facts, figures and history, well hang no more, here they are:
Sugar cane production in the Tully area dates back to the 1860’s and was based on the labour of the Kanakas (South Sea Islander people). The Kanaka labour was prohibited in 1881.
After the first world war 71 returned soldiers took up farms in El Arish (named after the town of like name on the Sinai Peninsular in Egypt. This town is a few ks North of Tully.
The cane from El Arish was seny to the South Johnstone Mill which began operations in 1916.
In 1922 the Tully Mill was approved under the Sugar Works Act.
The original “crush of 32,075 tones of cane yielded 3.946 tonnes of raw sugar which started on the 5th November, 1925 and ended on the 16th January, 1926. The number of cane growers supplying this cane was 256, 74 of which were from the soldier settlement farms.
Cane is transported to the mill on the cane railway network consisting of 280ks of 610mm gauge track. (that’s little for those of you who aren’t familiar with rail gauge)
Payment to growers is based on the weight of the cane and the CCS value ie: how much sugar is in the cane.
Highest tonnage was in 2005 at 2,415,050 tonne
There are 14 Cane Locomotives
Number of employees during cane harvest, 308. Non harvest time 220.
It was very interesting to watch as the loco’s brought the cane in in mesh carriages, they were inverted and dumped onto conveyor belts, then chopped up smaller and then on to the different “rollers” to extract the juice.
The juice is then purified by boiling and then on through some more processes and finally into raw sugar.
All Tully sugar is exported. They also generate their own power by burning the cane refuse and also put back some 10mw of power into the state grid which we are told is enough to supply approximately 5000 houses.
The other refuse is recycled and becomes mulch or fertilizer which is allocated back to the farms and so the cycle begins again.
Cyclone Yasi did some major damage to the mill but 98% has been repaired.
A very enjoyable morning and the smell of the sugar was rather intoxicating.
After a very nice lunch at the Ulysses Café we returned home via Tully Heads.
I even went for a walk on the beach and I DID NOT GET BITTEN!!! Will wonders never cease (just for the record Blue got one bite).
While we were out at the heads we managed to find some green coconuts so I am anxious to see if there is any “jelly” still in them as I remember from a trip to Fiji many years ago that this was actually the nicest part of the coconut.
There is still some evidence out at the heads from Cyclone Yasi but most of the houses have been or are in the process of being rebuilt.