As we started to drive out of Cooktown we realised that we were now beginning to head home. The idea was to get back to Perth for Christmas of 2018 but now we will be heading back for this Christmas instead. (Why? My youngest son decided to get married in January 2018.) We will have been away for just over two years. It will take us about six months to get back to Perth and we will be stopping at my older brother’s place again to wish him a happy birthday as it is his big 6 oh and we are having a family reunion. My younger brother is flying in from America and my mother with both of my sisters will be flying from Perth. It is a big surprise for him to have everyone coming. If it is a surprise then why am I adding it to my blog? I am still behind. I did catch up some to be only about 2 weeks behind but we have had several stops at some places for just a night. As it takes me two to three days to write a blog, the one-day stops push me further behind. Then being in places where there is no Internet coverage just adds to the time. It’s ok as I take a lot of notes and I keep all the pamphlets we pick up at the tourist information centres much to Adrian dislike as it adds a lot of extra weight we don’t need.
Anyway we took a detour as we headed away from Cooktown. I didn’t know anything about the Lions Den Hotel but Adrian assured me it was a must see.
The name for the hotel came about when a young stowaway called Daniel, left the ship that brought him to Australia and started to work in a tin mine. (The mine was located where the hotel now sits.) The mine didn’t have a name at the time Daniel started working at it, anyway one day the owner of the mine saw Daniel standing in the opening of the tunnel and he characterized him as “Daniel in the Lions Den.” The name took hold and the mine was known as the “Lions Den” and became one of the most famous in the area. Later when the hotel was built in 1875 it was named after the mine. The hotel stayed in the same hands for almost a hundred years. Not bad.
The pub is an icon of the area with things hanging from the walls and the ceiling.
Like a lot of outback pubs there is writing on the walls and ceiling. The writing on the wall at the Lions Den isn’t something new. Miners would frequent the hotel in the early days. Most of the miners had very little education and security of personal belongings was almost non-existent. It became the practice for miners to leave their pay packet at the public house (Lions Den.) The amount would be written on the wall with how much money they had spent and how much was left. The amount was updated every time money was passed over or was spent for all to see. Each time the amount changed the publican and the miner would sign the amount for security. All those tallies have long gone. Now the oldest signature at the hotel dates back thirty years and most are from tourist.
There is a little museum in one of the rooms, packed with reminders of the past, something different. I think that would have to be the first museum I have visited in a pub.
After leaving the Lions Den we travelled back along the Cooktown road. It gave an amazing view, we had seen it as we drove there but it seemed to be more spectacular on the way back.
It was as if we were high enough to fly with the birds.