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Cattle station dreaming

Guest author Richard McSephney

We’re heading for the Northern Territory boarder. This part of the journey becomes a little tedious. We’re slow to start but full of wild plans to buy a cattle station after our wonderful experience. We plan, without their knowledge to involve all our friends despite not even considering their views.  Everyone must have a role though. Each role is carefully discussed and the relative merits of each character matched to a key role. There’s a great debate for some and an easy choice for others. I’m sure the entire population on the Stuart Highway are listening and voting regardless of their knowledge of the individuals so powerful are the arguments put forward for each candidate. By the time we reach Coober Pedy we’ve settled on a few things. Our new cattle station must be within about 100 km of a supply town, I want it to named something Downs and we know there will be many further discussions as we’ve roped in all our friends to take roles and most importantly provide the $6 m funding we require and the $200,000 working capital we will need to finance the venture. When we return home we will be talking with everyone about their roles!

The time passes quickly and we arrive at CP, fuel is expensive but don’t let that put you off because we’ve found an award winning bakery. 

Its chunky meat pie has been awarded best in world and the apple turnover is declared in the top 3 in Australia. Well that’s Howard’s view. I wonder if James Halliday utilises this scoring style?

There is little doubt that CP isn’t for everyone with its biting wind in winter to its 50C temps in the summer. It looks like a harsh life mining for opals but as we found in Lightening ridge a few years ago the miners are truly passionate about the ventures.
We press on and are surprised about how light the traffic is.

We see eagles devouring the roadkill but these are nowhere near the size of our Wedgetails at home. They are truly giants.

It’s surprising, we take for granted the road we travel has been in place for ever but we are reminded that’s not the case when we realise our night stop is situated between the road that was historically used and the one we’ve just left. For miles the two run side by side less than 150 m apart. Presumably moved because the location was less prone to flood.

To our benefit we find a lovely camp spot. Surprisingly the Stuart Highway is extremely quiet through the night but I’m sure the road train drivers would be able to see the glow of our magnificent fire.

The Mulga tree branches we use have clearly been dead for some time but the timber is dense with a dark heart and burns beautifully. So complete is the burn that when we extinguish it for the night there is only powder ash.

The night Is so cold icicles form on the camper roof but soon end up melting as the morning sun hits the canvas.

A beautiful clear South Australia Day…..40 km further we cross the Northern Territory border and not surprisingly it’s still beautiful and clear. 

Today is the eve of Territory day, pageants ,parties and fireworks are the order for Tomorrow but today we have the Truck Hall Of Fame at Alice Springs in sight.

I love trucks so for me this is excellent and we wander round marvelling at all the equipment old and new.

The Kenworth Pavillon has new kenworth and immaculately restored examples on display.

Why a new one? Well the reason is As Mr Hurley points out( patron of the pavilion) that in 20 years these will be the history of the day and at the present rate of restoration costs it’s cheaper than restoring an old one! Now that’s forward thinking.

The overnight temperature is forecast to be -2C so we, like all sensible adventures plan for a good fire, warming food and heavy blankets.
We totally ignore all that and head for a hotel…this is an holiday not purgatory.
Tomorrow we head for the Airport to collect Deb and continue our journey by turning left just outside AS and heading out over the Tanamai Desert. How exciting!

The Wide Brown Land for Me?

I thought I’d share this powerful article with you. Anyone who has been into the red centre will understand what Bobby is saying here. The outback is like nowhere else on earth. It inspires awe and wonder, and for Australians – both indigenous and more recent settlers – a fierce pride.

Bobby Dazzler's Blog

Uluru climbers

(This article was first published in Eremos magazine in February 2001.)

It is not uncommon to hear the comment from Australians who have visited the Outback – even from those of no particular religious bent – that it was in some way a spiritual experience. In particular, being in the vicinity of Uluru is often characterised as engendering a special feeling of a more or less religious kind. Having travelled extensively in Central Australia over the past thirty years, I can attest to having had these feelings frequently. Every time I see Uluru, I find it hard not to become tearful.

What should we make of these reactions?

I write this as a non-indigenous Australian. I use the words “we” and “us” to refer to me and my kind.

It could be dismissed as nothing more than Australians, particularly those who live in the cities, getting a bit emotional about…

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Parting of the Ways

The sad day has come.  It’s time for the convoy to go its separate ways.  We say our goodbyes and look forward to meeting again to share tales of our adventures.

Blog readers, you are welcome to join me as I make my journey back to the Marsh via Katherine, Alice, Kings Canyon and Uluru. If you decide to leave me here, farewell and thank you for travelling with us.


“Tracks” is now a movie

The book Tracks has been made into a movie.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I will try to before we go.

Here’s a link to an interview in The Guardian with Mia Wasikowska who plays the lead role as Robyn Davidson.   Robyn comes across as a formidable young woman in the book, so it must have been daunting for Mia to meet her when making the film.  It sounds as if Robyn has mellowed a little with age as she admits Mia does a reasonable job at acting as her twenty four year old self – despite having her doubts when they first met.

The photography in the movie is said to be stunning, so if you’re interested in what the big red bit looks like, it could be for you.  I suspect the desert is the real star in this one.

Have you seen it?  What did you think?