Well dear readers I thank you all for staying the course of our marathon desert journey. This trip will be shorter and greener. It was the October long weekend so spring was still springing and, as we are all so busy saying these days, the countryside was incredibly green and of course it was raining a lot of the time. Hay Fever was the only downside to a fun weekend with some new discoveries on the way even though I have taken you to these places before so I hope you enjoy this new adventure.
We’re back in little sky country. The trees are tall and it’s still raining, But even little skies can be beautiful. A rainbow welcomes us home and Madam Tom Tom chirps, "You have reached your destination."
It’s yellow yellow all the way. The canola fields we saw at the beginning of this long journey were joined by the beautiful spring flowering wattle. Oh dear, in recent weeks farmers in this west, delighted at their great crop this year after years of drought had them devastated by floods. This beautiful land can be very harsh.
Throughout the outback I noticed drivers wave to each other as they pass. Time to put that hand away, we are heading back to the less civilised world. We are on the long flat drive from Broken Hill to Cobar. More unexpected water in the desert and with the wind blowing strongly it sounded like the seaside.
Broken Hill is known for its desert artists and there was none more colourful than Pro Hart. He made plenty of money from his art and was brash enough to paint his Rolls Royce. I liked Pro but really I think this is just plain tacky.
After our interesting sojourn at Terowie we got back in the car and headed off to Broken Hill where we can add a final piece into the railway puzzle. You may remember Silverton the almost ghost town that we visited early in our trip. When silver was found in Silverton it needed a means to get the ore to market and rail was the answer. Now Silverton, while being in NSW, is much closer to South Australia so it made sense to send it that direction. The South Australian government wanted to extend their railway to Silverton but NSW would not allow it. The solution was to put in place a private railway company to construct the line from Silverton the South Australian border but it could not be called a railway because railways could only be operated by government – it was therefore named the Silverton Tramway company. With the discovery of ore at Broken Hill the line extended to there too. The image is of the old Silverton Tramway station in Broken Hill, now a museum.
Terowie was known as a break-of-gauge town. Remember I wrote about the different railway gauges. Rolling stock on one gauge obviously can’t use the another gauge so where the two different gauges meet every single item -- parcels, livestock, wool bales, wheat, minerals and passengers had to be transshipped from one train to another. It was a huge operation and the town had a thriving population of 2000 supporting this. In 1969 the broad gauge was extended to Peterborough and in 1970 the narrow gauge line was closed. Almost overnight the population fell to a mere 150 people. All the stockyards, loading systems and other paraphernalia were removed and now just a few sad railway buildings remain and the shops of the town are closed but preserved more or less like they were the day they shut their doors.
Another fascinating town ... watch the slideshow. The town of Terowie really captured my interest. It appeared to be a living ghost town, There were lots of shops, some open, but most were closed but not derelict or boarded up. It was as if some day in the 1960s they went to sleep and didn’t wake up again. What is the story behind this snoozing town? I will tell you tomorrow. Yes the cat was alive.
Slidehow of my morning walk in Burra. We visited Burra on the recommendation of my niece. It is an old copper mining town with beautifully preserved buildings and is now a well functioning service centre for the surrounding farming communities. It was a pretty place for an early morning walk and home to the only other Royal hotel I found in South Australia (a royalish one.)
It seems slightly mad but each of the Australian colonies chose different railway gauges narrow in Queensland, standard in NSW, and broad in Victoria. South Australia seems to have been even crazier doing all three! In the south they had the more expensive broad gauge but could not afford to run it into the outback areas so put in narrow gauge up there. Later the narrow gauge lines were replaced by standard gauge. We returned to Peterborough because is the only place in Australia where you can see all three gauges.
Contrary to expectations I didn’t see many birds. The only bird photo I managed was of these Apostle Birds. I don’t know anything about them. It is a mystery to me why the three of them sitting together in the middle of the road, not in the least bit interested in moving or disturbed by my presence.
I was diligently collecting wildflower photos all the way. Here is my final roundup of ones seen since my last wildflower collection. On our way through Port Augusta we called in at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens to learn something more about them but I didn’t cheat, all of my shots were taken in the wild. And thank you to my precious husband who stopped that car time and time again so I could collect all these shots.