Ponderings from Cape York

Is this the tail end of the Cape York Wet season or Autumn in Melbourne? Looking out the window at the porch light illuminating the rain falling in front of the grapefruit tree you could be excused for confusion. But no, an arm with sleeve rolled up thrust out the window tells me it’s still 28 degrees at 6 o’clock, and as the kids come inside dripping wet from running through puddles it’s time for a lukewarm bath, dinner then bed. The rain usually stops by Round 3, but it’s been a decent wet season in Weipa this year, and it doesn’t seem to want to stop. A muggy 1700mm for the year so far and we have the wet back in a few months. Bring on the still nights and cool mornings of the dry.

Weipa is on the Western coast of Cape York in Far North Queensland. I know it’s far north as that’s the ABC coverage we get on the radio, but there is further north. The tip and the Torres Strait are up the road, a short 500km away. In the recruitment zone for the Gold Coast Suns, Weipa is actually further away from Carrarra (2091km) than Melbourne is (1342km). In fact, the nearest major centre Cairns (800km) is almost as far away as Sydney is from Melbourne (878km). We’re a long way from anywhere, a long way from football, and it feels like it.

It’s hard to gauge the local interest in the great game. Most of the locals follow Rugby League, the Cape being a backwater for Aussie Rules, and the majority of local residents either endemic to the region or overflow from western Queensland. A small southern contingent exists, and it’s them I write to in my weekly Footy wrap in the the local rag, The Western Cape Bulletin.

This weekend see’s the QClash down in Brisbane. I wonder if anyone reads my article and shares my hope that this will one day be the sort of clash to spark the imaginations of the kids throughout the far corners of Queensland, the kids in the Cape, the Gulf, the Torres Strait. The kids that mostly miss the point, miss the opportunity, and miss the joy of running with the ball.

In a few weeks I’ll head down to Cavill Avenue, meet a bunch of mates coming from the 4 corners of the globe, watch the Cats v Suns and experience the new footy culture, Queensland style. I’ll hopefully have a tale or two to tell, and maybe a story or two in the local rag to keep trying to spark that interest in the locals.

For now, I’ll keep The Footy Almanac on my Favourites and keep myself happy.


  1. Mulcaster says

    Weipa has some redeeming features; I understand the fishing is sensational.
    Watching the sun set over the ocean, is an interesting experience to those who was brought up on the east coast.

  2. Well written mate. You raise some interesting points there. I would like to know the actual $ each code spends in the Cape and Torres Strait. As a regular traveller to both areas all I ever seem to see are AFL Kickstart people doing the rounds. Rugby league may have dropped the ball in this regard, resting on the laurels of the Areas being traditionally strong in their support for the code. One wonders – with the recent AFL TV rights deal and the subsequent $250 mill bonus revenue whether rugby league will ever be able to match the AFL $ in the area. With the NRL being the higher rating sport and being more suited to TV I will follow the next tv rights deal with interest along with many other dyed in the wool league tragics.

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