Every time you turn in the Flinders there is another totally different view whether it’s a change in the mountain shapes, the vegetation, the colour of the soil or the play of sunlight on the land. I have selected just 10 images taken from the dozens that delight me. I’ll show you two each day.
Hill Homestead, Wilpeana PoundThe pound is enclosed with high ridges forming a circle with just one entrance point.(Here’s an image from the air) It had permanent water and formed a natural enclosure for sheep. Inside the pound is the old homestead from when it was farming property rather than National Park.We returned by the high track which took us a little way up the pound walls.
Track into Wilpeana Pound I had planned on this being a walking day. Nothing strenuous just a 7kms return circuit stroll into Wilpeana Pound – nearly all flat, such a change from steep climbs on the tracks back home. One of the characteristics of the Flinders Ranges is the diversity of landforms and vegetation. For those who are interested the slideshow is a summary of the vegetation we saw on the way. There were wildflowers too which I will include in another post.
Approaching Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges With mountains climbing up to meet the sky, it’s not so big today. The day is closing in and we are rushing to get to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges before nightfall. Our plan is to soujourn here for 3 nights and we are excited at what we will see over the next few days.
Landscape from Cockburn to near Hawker The day began through semi-arid land, blue green salt-bush on bare earth. However, there is interest added by surrounding mountains. Eventually we begin to see trees again and the clumpy grasses gave way to green pastureland before we head northwards again to Hawker.
Now regular readers know I am always photographing abandoned dwellings but I’d could go mad here. There are places not so much abandoned but rather ruins all over the place. I think the reason is that the more durable building material (stone and bricks) lives on much longer. In NSW you will often see a brick fire place and a few footings and no evidence of the rest of the home, while here there are gaping roofless buildings or piles of rubble.
This particular ruin was not chosen for is photographic beauty. We had to pull up because the wind was playing havoc with our roofrack and it just happened to be over the road.
Our initial destination is Peterborough (Pe-‘terb-row according to our tireless guest), passing through a couple of small outback wayside spots on the way – not really big enough to call towns. Peterborough has many colonial homes. I show you one below because there is an important difference in heritage housing in South Australia -- they are built from stone with brick around the windows. This is quite different from NSW. In Silverton which I showed the other day the buildings are similar because even though it is in NSW is it close to the border and is culturally more connected with South Australia.
Tumbleweed It was August (known to be a windy month of the year) and it was blowing a gale. Tumbleweeds hurtled across our path, pressed forward by the busy wind. While I was photographing the tumbleweed, I braved the icy blast to find a few more tiny flowers and fruits by the roadside.
The Border between New South Wales and South Australia at Cockburn
Bright and early today we cross the border into South Australia. It’s over 30 years since we drove into South Australia and we haven’t travelled on this route before so it’s an all new adventure for us … I like it that way.
The Pinnacles, Broken Hill Clear blue sky is very dull! But there is something of interest in the image. These odd shaped mountains appear on the skyline just outside the city. I had planned otherwise for my closing sky today. On a hill outside town there are wonderful sandstone sculptures which I saw the last time I was here. I planned to photograph them against the setting sun but we left our run too late, so you don’t get to see them until our return journey.
Watch the slide show first. Silverton, NSW (slide show) About 25kms outside Broken Hill is the ghost town of Silverton. It’s an old mining town that fell into rack and ruin but today it is home to many artists (there is strong tradition of desert art out this way) and a booming tourist trade such that new buildings are being constructed and the decay on old buildings halted – so not entirely a ghost town any more. The story of the railway to this town becomes important later in this trip but I will leave that until then. Silverton has been used in movies and is the scene of a million images. It’s photogenic and I’m sure there is not one angle that has not already been explored. Mad Max 4 is to be filmed here but is held up because the desert is too green!
Heritage house, Broken Hill I don’t normally photograph normal housing but I make an exception here because it’s not normal to my eyes. Many of the older houses are clad in corrugated iron. While corrugated iron roofs are common throughout Australia and I’ve often shown corrugated iron buildings on farms it’s unusual in a city. I understand that it’s light weight and easy to construct, a good thing when far from the sea or a navigable river and there’s no decent timber for miles and miles.
Old Royal Hotel, Corner of Oxide and Mica Streets, Broken Hill There are plenty of pubs in this town. I'm told a mere 20 pubs and 5 clubs down from 47 pubs and 15 clubs when the mine had 7000 employees rather than the 700 today. I found three Royalish ones. Rather quaintly, many of the streets have names of minerals and chemicals associated with mining – names like Oxide, Silver, Argent, Chloride, Iodide, Sulphide, Mica, Mercury, Tin and Calcite.
For a wealthy inland city it is not surprising to find elegant civic buildings, but perhaps it is surprising to see pretty gardens and green lawn in this semi-desert landscape. Water is piped from the Darling River, hundreds of kilometers away. Until the 1950s tankers of water were brought in by train.
Argent Street, Broken Hill Broken Hill is an excellent example of a city that has retained its heritage character with beautifully restored buildings and its wide verandahs intact. The shade is welcome in summer – more than 90 days a year are above 30C.