Karin and I arrived in Cairns in 1974
A small country town on the mud-banks with a population of about 30 thousand people and it's only claim to fame was that Lee Marvin and Bob and Dolly Dyer had Marlin Fishing game boats based up here. Tourism was a day trip to Green Island on Hales Cruises and a trip up the mountain to Kuranda on the Silver Bullet Train Wednesdays and Sundays only to visit some hippies folk markets just newly established. It took a while for us to get used to speaking slowly and ending our sentences in " Ay". And of course Sugar Cane which is what kept the place alive.
some time later we decided to move to Cape Tribulation...to a friends property called the Beach House estate...14 acres of Paradise right on the beach with established but neglected gardens. In those days it was an 8 hour drive to get there from Cairns and that was when the weather was fine.
I wasnt that into photography in those days and the following are what I salvaged mostly from slides I scanned.Below is part of our move , building material and " Matilda" our cement mixer.
Below is what the house looked like when I first went up there, two stories high and completely covered by litchi and Tamarind Trees. We jacked the place up another level so ended up with undercover parking.
By the time we moved in the trees had overgrown the house again making it damp and dark so we cut and trimmed the trees again to let in extra light.
Willem Rijker identified the fruit trees his father had planted there and we cut out 7 years of regrowth. Fires burned for 3 months.
A number of people helped us clear the rubbish out of the place...old cars...engines etc.
This is not a complete list but I would like to thank Hans Nuwehuizen, Mick Hassett, Steve and Cass Bloomfield, Dougie Jensen,Wayne Hansby, Billy O,Steve and Debbie, The Refugee camp people...and many others fortheir help in restoring the property back to Old man Hendrick Rijkers vision of the place.
Below is Hans and Moss on the Wild Cat excavator digging a new soak trench for our septic toilet system...for quite a few years we had the only flush toilet system north of the Daintree River.
This was the path through the Coconut grove to the Beach...the rainforest had taken over again. We did not have a ride on and mostly depended on relays of mowing and slashing with a push mower.
In time the lawns were re established, note the new coconuts replanted between the existing trees to ensure nuts for the future.
This is what the place looks like nowadays June 2016
An early shot of the house cleared of vegetation. The small red gate in the doorway was to stop Daniel from crawling out.
There was a bathroom in the house and we used a kerosene heater to warm the water for the bath and shower. We used gas for cooking and had a small kerosene fridge and freezer. Had kerosene lights and a kerosene heater for winters and drying clothes in the wet season. As you can see we also had an outside bath and shower with a copper suspended in a 44 gallon drum to supply hot water to both bath and shower.
View from the bath tub over the garden and up the creek which ran through the property. Water was supplied by a gravity feed hose for the house and irrigation.
With the help of others a vegetable garden was established in front of the house where there was a large sunny spot. We grew granadillas, passion fruit,eggplant,lettuce, silver beet,tomatoes, spring onions,chives, oregano, paw paws,basil,mint, cucumbers, zucchinis and flowers for the house.
A small nursery was established as well growing epiphytes on hollow coconuts and native trees and palms in bags surrounding the mango Trees.
Jungle Joy has planted our xmas tree on top of three ducklings that were killed by a snake .
Mango Tree Grove sheltering nursery bags.
One of a number of small sheds on the place notice the recycled plastic containers used to raise seedlings.
Below is a pic of Port Douglas in 1974 ...covered in grass with goats
Living in Cape Tribulation gave me a deep appreciation of our rainforests and the opportunity to vist the Hinterland areas of Pietre Botte, Duncans Flats and the Roaring Megs Falls/China Camp area. Below is a view back to Cape Trib from Mt Sorrow on our way west for a eight day expedition
it was during one of these expeditions I decided that I should like to make a living taking visitors on trips and treks through our wonderful part of the world