Week 48 – Australian history, a track, a bore and more history

We left Eromanga after a windy and rainy night and headed for South Australia and the famous Innamincka Pub. On the way we drove through an interesting sight of heaps of pumps in the area of Australia’s largest onshore oil field. It was cool to see these donkey pumps just churning away in the middle of the outback.

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After a very long day driving we crested a hill and saw some signs of civilisation…a house, a pub, a store/petrol station and a government building (Parks office). We found a fabulous spot to camp right under a Coolabah tree next to a billabong, and made a song about it.

“Once a travelling family camped by a billabong,

under the shade of a Coolabah tree.

And they sang as they watched as dad cracked a cold one

So you’ll come a-travelling Big Blue Yonder with me.”

IMG_6481After that little fun we walked over to the Parks office to see what was going on. Apparently nothing as it only had an interpretation room and no actual staff to talk to. Nothing to do then but to have a drink at the pub.

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The pub…obviously
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A strange canoe, hope it never sailed or they would have been up the creek in a barbed wire canoe – if it wasn’t already obvious.

Given that it was the off-season we weren’t surprised to be the only ones in the pub, although a couple of motorcyclists came in for a quick drink and left again.

Unfortunately I have to say the pub wasn’t all that engaging, nor was the barman. But I suppose that you need to have a few more than one family to make a pub interesting. We did have a quiet laugh when we asked about whether there was food on for dinner. The barman looked at us funny and then ummed and ahhed before suggesting that he and the cook were going to make pizza for dinner for themselves and that they could make some for us too. Turned out to be a fantastic suggestion because the pizza was very good.

The next day was time for some history lessons. We visited the famous Bourke and Wills Dig tree and Bourke’s Memorial at Cooper Creek, where he died. It is pretty sad to read the story and know that the expedition missed the remaining party by hours and there could have been a different outcome for this story.

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Dig Tree

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The actual inscription on the dig tree blaze
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Bourke’s story and where he died
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Bourke’s memorial

From Innamincka we drove south along the Strzelecki Track towards Cameron Corner. We loved the terrain along this road, it was hill after hill of corrugated road. We had fun driving them and taking video footage.

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Mud after the rain.

Cameron Corner was a little slice of interesting. We got the obligatory photos with the post depicting the three states, then went for a beer at the Corner Store. The two guys there were a bit cheeky. I had gone to make lunch at the camper within sight of the bar, and Campbell came out with a slip of paper. I had to laugh when I read it, as the blokes had written up a food order form asking for me to make them a bacon sandwich. Pretty funny! I would have but I was running low of food supplies. We were told of a lovely place to camp for the night at Montecollina Bore.

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Driving into Cameron Corner
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The border post
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a beer at Cameron Corner Store

There’s nothing like being in a place completely on your own, especially when there is a thermal bore at your fingertips or toes. The only company we had were the cockatoos. Craig took good advantage of the solitude to have a wash and a soak. We also had a wonderful sunset despite the kids mucking around so we put them to bed so that Craig and I shared a naughty cigar while sitting on a sand dune contemplating life.

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Even the birds were seeking the shade
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After a soak in the bore
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Sunset over the desert

From the quiet of Montecollina Bore we drove to Leigh Creek for lunch. This place is purpose build for the coal mining industry. Needless to say it had all the personality of a purpose built mining town, which was a shame because it’s kind of a stop needed for travellers in this area. So we moved on and found ourselves in Quorn.

This little town is beautiful, with old heritage architecture and interesting town buildings. We decided to do the Pichi Richi railway train trip in an old train out through the Pichi Richi Gap and to Woolshed Flat. Whilst we didn’t get the steam train, due to the heat, we were pulled by a SAR 1928 diesel railcar. It was a lovely trip with fantastic views and we enjoyed the click-clack of the wheel on the track.

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An unwelcome visitor in camp
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SAR Railcar
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Travelling through awesome countryside
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We got to explore the train
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And they said don’t put your head out the window…
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Exploring the front of the train
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Quorn Rail Station

After two days to relax and re-energise, we headed off to the big smoke of Adelaide for a big city adventure.

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