Next morning we left early and drove down to Bourke¹. We we spent our last $20 on gas. We only had about $5 in change left to get us to Narromine where was an ANZ. We got there at about 12 and withdrew some money and got lunch and gas at a truck stop. Drove on down to Dubbo. Mooched round shopping for a couple of hours then booked into a a caravan at the camping ground. Went for a swim and had tea as a Chinese restaurant.
¹Bourke is an isolated town in the northern part of New South Wales. The Australaian phrase “Back ‘o Bourke” refers to any isolated place far from the main centres.
V.V. HOT We got up at 5 and packed up the rest of our gear and had brekkie. Tom gave us a tank of gas tank of gas and Christine gave us some sammies and 6 cans of Tab and 4 bottles of lemon and bitters. We said goodbye then drove out to the main road near Manor Park. Linda drove for the first 3 to 4 hours which got us to Augathella then I drove for the rest of the day. The heat was appalling and we sweated like anything all day. Went through Charlieville (Charlie wasn’t there) then down to Cunnamulla which is an abo shanty town. Stayed in a grotty motel with a shower that ran hot water from both taps which smelled like rotten eggs¹. The food in the fridge was stale and the mattress was buggered. But it had air conditioning YAY!!
¹The water supply for many Outback towns comes from deep artesian wells. The water is hot when it reaches the surface and is often tainted with hydrogen sulphide, giving it a slight whiff of rotten eggs.
V.V HOT We woke up at about 7:30 and got up. After brekky I went out and put the bomb into the shed and gave it a good vacuum out. Listened to Jethro Tull on the Walkman while I was doing it. Went in at about 11:30 after I had finished and read until lunchtime. After lunch we watched John Cleese in Clockwise which didn’t seem as funny as the last time I saw it in Wellington in 1986. Mrs La Dee Da left about 3:30 along with Tom and Christine. They were off to church and we just relaxed for the afternoon and packed some of our gear up. T & C brought home chicken and chips for tea and a video, The Macintosh Man.
VV HOT Woke up at 6:30 feeling much better after a good night’s sleep and the swelling of my on my jaw was much less. Got up and showered and had our brekkie and settled down to read for an hour or so.
After lunch Linda and I cranked up the old bomb and went over to Mena Park¹. We went out with Tim² to the back of the place to fix a burst pipe. Man it was hot, and when we got back to the house after looking at the woolshed it was like a furnace. We had 350 mils of Fosters³ and lost 450 mils of sweat in there! Drove home and photographed a group of nosy emus.
¹Mena Park station is another large sheep and cattle station which, at that time, was owned by my relations, the Vail family.
²Tim Vail, my cousin from Mena Park was manager at Evora.
³Fosters larger is an iconic (but not very nice) Australian beer.
V. HOT I woke up at 6:30 after a very restless night to find it the boil on my neck and blown up into a huge lump on my jaw. It was very painful and so I got Christine to ring the doctor for me to get an appointment. I lay on my bed and listened to Jethro Tull and read my book till 12:30 when Linda and I took the Mitsubishi truck in to Blackall. We waited for about half an hour before the Herr Doktor saw me. He gave me two shots of local anaesthetic then proceeded to squeeze out about a dessert spoon full of blood and pus. He also gave me a blood sugar test to make sure that the boils weren’t a symptom of diabetes but the test was normal. Watched a video of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
V. HOT We had a 5 o’clock brekkie in order to get an early start for Longreach¹. I went out to try and get a shot of sunrise or moonset but nothing very spectacular happened with either. We left at about 6:30 and called in at Mena Park² for a cup of tea. Drove to Barcaldine and looked at the “Tree of Knowledge”³ (un-interesting) where Australia’s first trade union was formed. Got to the “Stockman’s Hall of Fame”† at 10:00 & spent 4 hours there (not bad). Then we went into Longreach for a look at the shops (boring) then drove to a place called Ilfracombe to a wee museum (very boring). I drove home from there which was the high point of the day.
The caption on the back of this photograph reads: “It doesn’t go, Ferg. Somewhere in Queensland.”
²Mena Park was owned by another of my relatives, Paul Vail. See the BACKSTORY Part 5: Australia post from September 28th.
We got up fairly early then had brekkie etc. There wasn’t much going on and it was quite hot so Linda & I just sat round reading all morning. I am reading “The Bourne Supremacy” by Robert Ludlum. It is the sequel to “The Bourne Identity” and is excellent.
After lunch we had a rest to relax after a hard morning’s relaxation.
In the late afternoon Christine, Mrs Lar-de-dar**, Linda and I went out to a bore to have a swim. The water was hot & stagnant & there was NO fucking way Linda & I were going to swim in it! So we spent 2 boring hours pretending we were interested in roos.
**Christine’s mother who was rather snooty and spoke with a fake posh accent.
V HOT We treated ourselves to a sleep in this morning and didn’t get up till 8:00. After breakfast we fed the chooks and talked to the horses then spent the rest of the morning reading & I cleaned the cameras. After and early lunch, Tom, Linda and I went into Blackall¹. Storm clouds were hanging in the Eastern sky and there was a possibility of drought-breaking rain. Linda and I wandered up & down the hot Main Street being stared at by the locals then we came home again. Linda and I went out in the late afternoon and took some photos. Good light effects.
¹Blackall is a town in Central Queensland which supports the surrounding sheep and cattle country. It is situated on the Barcoo River (an iconic Outback river often mentioned in bush songs and poems. A “Barcoo Poley” is a type of Australian stock saddle without a saddle horn. Blackall was the site of the original Black Stump from which the phrase “beyond the black stump” meaning a place far away, originates. Surveyors in the early 1800s named a black stump on the then Astro Station as the farthest limit of their survey work to date. Beyond the black stump, the land was un-surveyed and unexplored.
Got up at about 7:30 and showered then had brekkie. Everyone flapped around getting stuff ready then we headed off to the Yalleroi¹ Tennis Club. It was something that has to be seen to be believed. It is out in the middle of nowhere, 50 miles from the nearest town. The courts are made from crushed ant-hills & the Pavillion is just a roof over a concrete floor. Linda & I played 3 games in appalling heat and both agreed it is the craziest thing we have come across yet!!
Tennis anyone? Forty-two degrees in the shade, playing tennis on crushed anthills!
Christine took us to see some Aboriginal cave paintings which, while interesting, weren’t spectacular. Got back to Evora at 9:00 & showered off the layer of red dust we had accumulated.
Aboriginal rock art near Yalleroi. The snake depicted is a Rainbow Serpent, whom the Aboriginals believe created the world.
¹Yalleroi is just a locality. There’s nothing there. The name comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “stoney.” A town was surveyed in the area but was never settled. A cattle station called Yalleroi existed in the late 1800s but it was subsumed by a neighbouring property. Members of the Yalleroi Tennis Club wear whites as if they are playing at Wimbledon.
V.V. Hot. We got up at 5:30 and showered and packed up. Drove out of Emerald and headed for Blackall. The trip to Alpha was pretty boring & we stopped for petrol and a bit of brekkie there. Carried on to Jericho with a stop to photograph anthills and turned off at Jericho onto the road (TRACK!) to Blackall.
Back to the Track. Outback road between Jericho and Blackall, Quensland.
It was a long, very dusty road and we turned off at Yalleroi & headed across country to Darraquart, where we asked directions on to Evora. Unloaded our stuff and crashed out for the rest of the afternoon as it was about 40°- 42°.
Kiwi kids on a red dirt road, Outback Queensland.