Saturday, August 31, 2019

Safari 2019 August 31st

Saturday, August 21st 2019

Late yesterday and last night  several vans arrived to fill the vacant nearby camping sites. There were lots of little kids about, all having a wonderful time especially as there was a small kangaroo keen to be near the campers, no doubt in the hope of being fed.
We left the Wilpena Resort about 9.00am and only had to drive a little way before we took the turn to Arkaroo Rock.  The track to the artwork was 3kms in length and the notice board said it would take 2hours....I needed all that time to walk up, down and over the large and small rocks which made up the path. John waited patiently for me. The actual Arkaroo Rock was quite large and had some great drawings on it which were either painted with ochre or drawn with a sharp stone. There were two layers of drawings and maybe three layers in places. We have known that the Rock Art Artists of old often drew over earlier artwork with their own work. Some symbols and drawings were much clearer than others. It was difficult to photograph because of the light. Around the whole site of the artwork there was a very strong wire and piping 'fence' to guard this special old work from modern day graffiti artists of our own race. We felt the fence was rather artificial when we first arrived at the site but soon realised its necessity. I will post  a few of my photos, but they are not really clear.

After our walk we continued on to Hawker where we had lunch at the 'Flinders Food Co'. We were both a little weary, especially me. To night we have continued south to Oororoo where we are camped on a private property just south of the town. It is opposite the town reservoir. We are finally leaving the famous Flinders Ranges after 9 days in the area enjoying the views and wonderful walks and scenic drives. Sadly we did not see as many wild flowers as we saw on an earlier visit.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Safari 2019 August 30th

Friday August 30th 2019

The new invention of wire about 1860

 Another cold morning with a delightful day to follow. Washing was foremost in my mind! Once this was done we drove out to visit the old Wilpena Homestead site. It was most interesting. Buildings have all been renovated with care for the style in which they were built. The sign boards were very creative in their wording. I took particular interest in the blacksmith shop, mainly because I clearly remember being with my father and using some of his blacksmith equipment. Blacksmithing is unheard of in today's modern life except when an artist develops the skill of making sculptures.

Some comments about blacksmiths and their tools were very pertinent to farming and life in the 1800s 

 Old nails and horseshoes preserve the vanished Smithy's story. As souvenirs, these items lose their voice and the story fades'

Blacksmiths put shoes on horsed and slippers on working bullocks. They repaired the wagons and drays that hauled stores & produce between the runs and distant trade centres.

As an artist and craftsman, the Smithy understood the language of fire and hammer. He worked with colour and sound, shaping gates, tools and nails, shepherd's crooks and hoes, well buckets, horseshoes and knives. 

 Carefully restored old Wipena Homestead
One last comment on the story boards, which made me smile...
Hymn Books and Prayers....Religion on the early runs was lean, like settlers and the lives they lived. Ministerial journeys began as early as the 1860s to remote & isolated settlements.

Lonely Wilpena Station Cemetery
In the bush in a far away corner of the Home Paddock was a very small cemetery. There were only 2 tombstones visible but no doubt there have been more folk buried there, some of whom did not have a memorial tombstone - some whose lives have been forgotten.

We had a quick 'take-away' lunch, did a rather large shop at the IGA store (in readiness for leaving tomorrow) John walked again this afternoon along the rod and up to Hills Homestead again and up to the Lookout. He was weary on his arrival back at the van. I walked part of the way with him and read the notice boards and counted the bird nesting boxes..of which there were 4. Maybe used by Lincoln Ringneck Parrots, Galahs or Corellas

Photo of tiny Dunart taken from the information board

 Tiny Dunarts live along Wilpena the many holes among the logs and in the root spaces. 

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Safari 2019 August 29th

'The White Trees'--a painting by Hans Heyson
 Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Last night we bid Cynthia & David farewell as they planned to leave Wilpena  very early this morning.Then this morning we walked across the park to say farewell to Helen & Neil. The six of us had.enjoyed nearly a week together around this area.

John & I set off on a long drive to visit a few areas that we had missed. We drove through both Bunyeroo and Brachina Gorges. Both gorges are beautiful with Red Gum trees with huge trunks. These red gums are a little different from those which grow near our home. They grow in the inland areas of Australia.. Eucalyptus Cameldulosis Obtusa.

Red Hop Bush
We ate our lunch at the Cambrian Camping Ground. In 2007 we camped here  with the ZigZag Art group. It has lovely redgum trees and causerina trees along the banks of the dry creek bed.
 Eventually we returned to Wilpena via Moralana Scenic Drive. This was very pretty as well. It took us through Private Property so we did not see so many campers. However the paddocks and trees looked much greener than we had seen. We saw many more wild flowers today including the beautiful Hop bushes which were showing their very bright blooms from red through to yellow.

Yellow/orange hope bush
We were pleased to visit the Aroona Hut which is actually on the Heyson Trail. This pug and pine hut outstation was also a base for the artist Sir Hans Heyson, on many of his painting trips to this area. The ruins now provide a place of quiet, but in the 1850s the noise of 10,000 sheep rang through the valley. Traces of the early pastoralists who tried to tame Aroora can be still seen today. The Aroona Homestead relics are still visable and the wonderful brick work, which is being kept in reasonable condition, can be appreciated by those who visit today.
Aroona Hut where Hans Heyson took shelter duirng painting trips.

Birds were part of our day once again. Firstly, the Lincoln ringneck parrots were seen flashing green through the bushes. While in Wilpena we  saw the very bright Red Capped Robin..he is such a plump and lively little bird. When coming into the Wilpena Resort this evening there was a large flock of corellas feeding alongside the road. Keeping them company was the ever present Galahs.  Hawks also 'float' above and today we saw the Black Kite.   

Safari 2019 August 28th

 Wednesday August 28th 2019

Solar Panel Station

Cold morning  below zero but lovely sunny day which I spent mostly reading and stitching. Everyone else went walking. I did go out to see the Solar Farm which was installed in 1998. It was well hidden behind some lower hills. Many many kangaroos were enjoying the early morning across the low hills.

John, Neil, David and Cynthia took a half hour flight over Wilpena Pound and surrounding areas. John's only comment was...'it is very dry'  The drought is showing its face everywhere. 

All members of our party went off walking for a couple of hours. I joined them later for a drive out to beautiful Sacred Canyon to see some small examples of Aboriginal Rock Art.

We all enjoyed our last meal together at the Wilpena Pound Resort 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Safari 2019 August 27th

Tuesday August 27th 2019

Rolling hills typical of the Southern Flinders, Cassia in bloom is a foreground feature
 We began our trip south to Hawker, soon after 9.00am. The road was bitumen all the way. This was an enjoyable change from gravel and rocks. In Hawker we soon found a new tyre replacement. We enjoyed lunch near the large old water tank used when the first Ghan train was operating. The round trip took us 2.5 hours from Wilpena and now we have settled in the Camping ground for a couple of nights. The area is planted with a variety of natives and there are many camps, caravans, tents, swags and trailers scattered throughout. It is a very busy complex with lots of people walking and exploring.The country is not so dry here much more interesting.
Wilpena has very much better Internet connection so now I am up to date with this series of blogs.

Elder Range south of Wilpena

Safari 2019 August 26th

Monday August 26th 2019

 Another tyre!! Yes, just to finish off the lovely day we have had.
We departed Arkaroola after 9.00am. It had been a great couple of days in this very arid complex. Drought is ‘rife’..trees and animals are dying. The roads are excessively dusty so everything is dusty too- our rig, our shoes & clothes, my hair- yes there is a fine layer of dust over the world of Arkaroola. John and I visited the area over 40 years ago. The season was green as rain had fallen, plants were in full bloom and there was water in some streams. What a contrast.

Fresh and well watered Curly Mallee tree

 Mid-morning we called at the Headquarters of the Balconoona National Park. It looked to be much brighter but only because plants were being watered by a dripper system of hoses. Volunteer workers were busy with upkeep of the many hoses as well as making some new plantings of local trees such as Mulgas (acacia aneura), Curly Mallee (eucalypt gillii) and Salt bush were being planted with new watering systems to support their growth. I was lucky to speak to a young trainee Ranger whose name was Jouely Coulthard. She had grown up in this area and was delighted to be back working in the National Park. This small enthusiastic young lady was part aboriginal and spoke very clearly to me. She was very familiar with the area.
Beautiful muted colours of the stones of Chambers Gorge
Lunch time found us sitting along the creek bed of Chambers Creek. A great spot for lunch but would be even better with a little water flowing like it had been in 2007 when we were here with the ZigZag Art Group…What a difference a little water makes to the scenery, the trees, birds, animals and the general country! It must be very hard living in these dry conditions.
We explored the Gorge and again viewed the many examples of Aboriginal art on the massive rock wall of the gorge.
Tonight we are staying at Blinman but will move further south tomorrow to Wilpena. John and I will probably go further to Hawker investigate the tyre problem. 

NB..Hopefully this is the last overview Post. We will be camped at Wilpena tomorrow night.

Safari 2019 August 25th

Sunday August 25th 2019  

What a day we have had. We walked here in Arkaroola this morning. John went with Neil and I walked with Helen. I do have to be very careful on these rocky paths. It is easy for me to fall..shudder. This afternoon the six of us went for a drive. David & Cynthia in David’s vehicle with Helen and Neil in the back seat. John and I went in our own vehicle. We chose to go on An Arkaroola Self-Guided 4WD Tour which was called the Echo Camp Backtrack tour. The day was fabulously interesting with the huge steep rocky hills predominant at every turn. This area is experiencing several extremely dry years, it is so dry I cannot describe the scenery. Trees are dying, bushes are dying, animals are dying all this because of the severe lack of water, consequently for the animals a severe lack of food.

Cynthia with the wallabies
The waterholes are dry even those which are termed ‘permanent’ water hole. Consequently with these conditions kangaroos and wallabies die alongside these water-less holes. The Arkaroola owners and staff are feeding the Yellow Footed Wallabies with special pellets formulated to suit native animals. They are also doing their best to fill troughs with water at specific points. We watched as John turned a tap to fill water into one of these troughs and Cynthia sat quite close to the trough to guide this water in so there was not waste happening. It was fascinating to see so many animals come quite close to her to drink. They were so very thirsty. Even these remote animals are fed on pellets and probably some kitchen vegetable waste similar to what we saw happen at ‘feeding time’ near the main reception and information areas.
It was a really wonderful day but I think it would be one of the most difficult or even the most difficult 4WD track in Australia. It took us over 4 hours to complete the 37 km of rough, steep and very rocky road. I am exhausted from hanging on through all twists, turns and rough terrain. John & David are to be congratulated on their driving ability.

Wide dry creek bed showing flood rubbish

NB..the posting of this blog is a couple of days late due to a lack of Internet Service.

Safari 2019 August 24th

Saturday August 24th 2019

It has been quite a long drive from Blinman here to Archaroola. We walked around Blinman revisiting our last visit in 2007. The complete village seems to have had a make-over. There are several places offering accommodation, a cafĂ©, the hotel where we camped last night and an Information cottage. The track was closed so we were unable to go on the tour of the  Copper mine. We left Blinman about 10.00am with quite some apprehension in our thoughts because we thought that the gravel road would be very rocky. Luckily about 2/3 of the 150 kms of it had been graded. Unfortunately there was still one very rocky & rough patch which I am sure was the cause of the caravan cutlery drawer being shaken to the floor. It could have been the contents of our refrigerator on the floor and broken open!!
A bunch of Curly Mallee leaves and flowers
Apart from the rough road to Archaroola the trip showed us some spectacular range country which was both colourful and very striking in appearance. We have settled in the camp ground for 2 nights.
John was able to find and identify the tree known as Eucalyptus  Gillii commonly known as the Curly Mallee. He collected some nuts with the hope of striking some seeds at home.
Yes, we did enjoy wedges of Pizza for lunch today.
Dunny at Blinman

NB This post is 3 days late because of lack of Interent connection at Blinman.