Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Lake Mungo

On the day we went to Lake Mungo the wind came up, filled the sky with sand. Great day to appreciate the erosion that has formed this place for the last 15,000 years or so. Our guide Graham, then took the opportunity to get even with us invaders and lectured us in the burning sun for about an hour on the origins of thin-skulled homo sapiens found at the lake and dating back 40-60,000 years. But by the time we had lunch in the haven of the National Park compound, all was cordial and we witnessed Graham's virtuosity on the didgeridoo.
That was awesome mate!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Dying Darling

We drove south from Broken Hill to Wentworth (the junction of the Darling and the Murray) crossed into Victoria to Mildura, which looked lush compared to NSW, then crossed back into NSW, never far from the Darling.
Every creek, every river, every dam...bone dry, except for the Darling, which is just a trickle. The Murray is still in reasonable shape.
On the way to Turlee Station where we would be staying, we saw dry land wheat, such a toxic green -- they plant it without water, then this chemical green wheat with desert all around!
After leaving Mungo we drove in a severe dust storm to Pooncarie, crossed the Darling to the west side and followed it all the way to Bindara, the homestead of Old Netley Station, a million acres in the 1850's. (A couple of photos on cam'era ƒ.)
Then on to Menindee Lakes and Kinchega National Park...all the lakes were dry of course. No people, a few lizards and lots of emus.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Turlee Station

Fortunately on our arrival Dione (the mum) was there. Otherwise we would have had to book in via UHF channel 8.
As it turned out we were the only guests and so we had the run of the place and also got to know the family. They go back four generations in the area, uncles and other relatives owning stations all around the lower Darling. Shearers' quarters become guest accommodation, the cookhouse the share kitchen and dining room, outdoor showers and toilets, all very civilised, nothing like a bit of fresh air.
We got to see station life unhindered, all 145,000 acres of it, albeit during a quiet time.

The Schoolhouse
Although you get used to the expanse of the place pretty quickly (Lake Mungo is half an hour away, any shopping is an hour and a dust), it is still astonishing that less than thirty years ago the brothers went to 'primary school' in this little building on the property and they had a governess. A lot of the instruction was by radio...the epitome of distance education. M~

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Mines

The unions dominated life in this town, our friend of the first day told us that by about the mid 70's if Broken Hill went out the rest of the country would go out with them.
Deaths and injury in the mines was obviously the determining factor for early establishment. 

Broken Hill

Exploring residential streets on our first morning in Broken Hill, we very quickly made a friend. He lived in this well-kept corrugated iron home sporting a nice big front window with a big news spread of Obama's election night in faraway Chicago. (Where Frank Lloyd Wright first made a name for himself...) Not only could we enthuse about US politics, but our new friend told us about the unions and that our next stop had to be the Trades Hall a couple of blocks down the street.

The Syndicate Of Seven who claimed the entire 'Line of Lode' and then went on to form Broken Hill Proprietary.

The inescapable Mullock Heap! 
It dominates the view and replaced The Line Of Lode.

Although this city was built with iron, stone was the choice for significance.

The Living Desert and Sculpture Site just out of town.

Where Mad Max lives on.