Lockhart River in Cape York in now the 10th Indigenous radio station to join the Black Star radio network. The Indigenous owned and operated remote Queensland network of stations can now be heard in 18 communities and towns.
The Lockhart River service is fed by a wireless connection over the G3 network and we were amazed by the speeds and the capacity of the wireless connection and its uninterrupted solid service. The quality of service is as good as the ADSL and BDSL connections that we have installed in other communities. This successful experiment with wireless technology now allows the service to be rolled out to the remaining station at Aurukun and other locations that have next G wireless.
The radio transmitter at Lockhart is located on a high hill in the centre of town and the 40 watt service can be heard 35 kilometres away at the historic community of Portland Roads and the homeland at Chilli Beach.
Lockhart River community is a beautiful place located on the coast with the magnificent mountains Iron Range National Park, as a backdrop. The road meanders through the Iron Range and the rainforest down through the Lockhart community to the sea.
The Lockhart River region in Cape York is a must visit on your travel itinerary. Situated 118k East from the main Cape York Development Road, it is one of the most scenic drives and out of the way places that you can experience. There are wild river crossings: the Wenlock, and Pascoe were both tame on our trip but become wild and impassable for months during the wet season. These crossings test the nerves and skills of the driver. There is scrub land, peppered with gum, stringy bark and grey box; you will see beautiful mountains, and the awe inspiring Iron Range.
We came in as the sun was going down and the sunlight on the Iron Range was well, breathtaking. The drive through the rainforest and down to the community of Lockhart River watered my eyes, usually a sign that I was going to meet and old mate that I have never seen for a long time.
The next day Gerry and I got the work done and took a break and headed up to see how far the service reached and were presently surprised by the quality and the coverage. The drive through the rainforest to Portland Roads and Chili Beach is worth the drive. We just sat on Chilli Beach and watched the waves crash on to the beach it was a real moment in time, just sitting there relaxing and taking it all in.
Portland Roads is a real wilderness tourism area now. It was not always like that; in the early days it was a stopover place for pearling luggers and beche de mer fishermen from the Torres Strait Island. Some stayed on and married; others were later re located to Lockhart River and Umagico. For further information visit the Lockhart River page here.