Nothing is set in concrete for this uncertain township
  |  First Published: February 2017

We’ve had a funny month. The heat promises huge storms and rainfall, which will ensure we get barra and muddies in the next two years. Our fingers are crossed. The road into Stanage Bay, which as we all know is 60% unsealed, changes with and like the weather.

When we last travelled it recently, the corrugation was at it best, from the start of the dirt to the end of it. Find your sweet speed and stick to it. Stay aware of the speed limits, cattle, wildlife and big pot holes. These can break your bank and destroy your holiday. The sweet speed is usually around 60km in most heavy 4WD vehicles.

We have had enough rain to green the pastures and fill the rainwater tanks. There still hasn’t been any run off rain, which we need to turn on the sealife. Nice catches of grunter, tuskfish, bream, cod and muddies have been pulled into tinnies.

Well done to all the people who took the time to call in and get some info with their bait and ice before hitting the estuary. Thankyou for calling back in to show me your catches. For me, it makes it all worth being behind the counter, instead of in the boat. It sure is good to know I’m not always bumming my gums for nothing.

For the island skippers, when the weather was great, the usual grassy sweetlip was in good stead. Anglers with big poppers chasing trevally were rewarded with golden, tea-leaf, giant and turrum adorning their ice boxes. Anglers also pulled in nice large-mouth nannygai, small-mouth nannygai, cod, red emperor and large-mouth sea perch, and yummy-sized Spanish mackerel.

These are fish anyone would be proud of, so well done! Gary, Troy, Justin and Tim caught these fish. Most fishers believe there are no fish out here in the summer months – truly! You showed them all differently.


Don’t forget the Australian Defence Force, proposing to buy prime beef grazing properties on the Stanage Bay Road. Shoalwater Bay is not enough for their and their neighbours’ needs. One name I’ve heard mentioned is the Singapore Defence Force. We at the end of the road are not privy to any information, apart from “At this stage we are not interested in your township.”

That’s all fine and dandy, but please tell us why and how. The defence force has already purchased two cattle properties on the western side of the Stanage Bay Road and they already own kilometres on the eastern side of the road. Do the government and defence force think we are silly enough to believe they will leave us and other cattle properties not receiving their probable letters alone in the long term?

Nobody knows for sure – not even the soldiers. It’s best we enjoy what we have while we have it. Stanage Bay offers a wide range of accommodation, from budget to luxury. I have two, Pacific Villa and Pacific Oasis, both purpose-built for fishers. As they say, enjoy it while you can.

The Australian Defence Force has claimed they require lots more land to accommodate our friends in the Singapore Army. The Singapore Army is very cashed up and it’s burning a hole in the Australian Government’s pocket. Quite a few of the large cattle properties along the Stanage Bay Road and surrounding areas have received letters from the government with the proposed intentions to obtain more land for military exercises as part of the Shoal Water Bay Military Area Expansion.

At this stage they claim they have no requirement for the Stanage Bay Township. This all sounds fair enough and we’re told it’s a major financial benefit to our region. How are they going to handle us wanting to tow boats and caravans in amongst major military exercises along the road? Will it be something to brag about at the pub, having been overtaken by a large military tank in a hurry?

They haven’t mentioned it, but common sense must kick in soon. With an expansion, will they require more sea area for military ships, barges and boats and take our favourite fishing spots? There’s nothing like having a ship the size of a city in the way of your drift line. There have been meetings held with many politicians from all parties attending. You end up leaving not much the wiser. They have an incredible ability to talk in circles.

Congratulations to one of the country’s female senators for attending the meeting at Marlborough and taking a stance. There are so many problems with this proposal that have not been thought out, and so many people that are affected with no chance of compensation. It’s very typical of government. Us little people just have to keep trying to make noise.

The ADF have placed nothing in concrete at this stage. You can’t help wonder how this pristine part of our country can co-exist with extremely large military exercises. We have travelled around most of this country and this small part of Australia has some of the most beautiful and untouched areas you will find. Make some plans to come and visit. This paradise may be here for a long time to come, but with the flick of a pen from our high and mighty it may not be here for us to fish, explore and enjoy in the future.

There is more information online on the ADF site and Facebook, with maps, interviews and shows from the ABC available.

Don’t miss out on the amazing fishing and crabbing at Stanage Bay! Call us at Stanage Bay Marine & Accommodation on (07) 4937 3145, check out www.stanagebay.com, email --e-mail address hidden-- or look us up on Facebook.

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