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Wilpena Pound

It was late in the afternoon when we left Kanyaka homestead.

Our next destination for our overnight stay was to be Wilpena Pound.

 photo 1382103_10152956987813149_5758433769488754536_n_zpsd16c0d8a.jpgWilpena Pound іs а natural amphitheatre оf mountains located 429km north оf Adelaide, South Australia, Australia іn the heart оf the Flinders Ranges National Park. The Pound іs the mоst northern point wіth access via а sealed road іn thіs part оf the Flinders Ranges. The closest town tо the north іs Blinman аnd tо the south, Hawker. Originally it was considered an ancient volcano crater, but geologists have confirmed it is a natural geophysical structure, it is a phenomenon of nature and has deep spiritual significance for the Indigenous people, who have walked the lands for over 40,000 years.

Attempts аt farming the Pound failed during the early 20th century. Following thіs the tourism potential wаs recognised іn 1945.

The name of the Pound, Wilpena, is reported to be Aboriginal, meaning “place of bent fingers”; this might either be a reference to the mountains resembling the shape of a gently cupped hand, or the freezing cold of the ranges in winter. The traditional owners, the Adnyamathanha, however, have no such word in their language. Their name for the Pound is Ikara which means “meeting place”.

The peaks are very rugged, and thick scrub and timber inside the pound can make navigation difficult; in 1959, a 12 year old boy became lost while walking inside the Pound, and despite search efforts, his skeletal remains were not located until 18 months later. A pass on the upper slopes of St Mary Peak is named after him; his brother John Bannon later became the Premier of South Australia.

The journey to the Pound was primarily for two reasons, the first being, that I wanted to show Ana a beautiful green part of the outback. that is not like the harsh lands of the Coober Pedy regions.

The second reason being that I wanted to renew acquaintance with an old spiritual friend whom I met over forty years ago, an ancient and sacred site revered by the Aboriginals, an old tree that has been standing for hundreds of thousands of years.

I have to go back over forty years to give the story of my first visit to Wilpena Pound.

I was about 22 or 23 years old and back from Vietnam, I was an instructor in the Army, and was seconded to a job teaching and looking after about 30 young school cadets for five days.

We were to camp in the Pound, the training was to take the form of bush craft, survival skills and first aid, the training was to cover a five day period.

I had driven in prior to the arrival, of a bus load of young exuberant potential Crocodile Dundee aspirants.

I selected a site for the next five days, a site in close proximity to a beautiful old Ghost Gum tree, it had to be over a hundred thousand years old and was spellbinding. The land around it was beautiful natural vegetation, I waited for the bus to arrive and contemplated the old tree, it was situated about 200 metres from a dry creek bed.

The tree really gave out a Spiritual aura, my mind wandered as I could imagine the site as a Sacred Aboriginal site or meeting place, the sky was overcast and took on an ominous look as the wind began to shake the leaves with a fervour, In my mind I could hear the sounds of didgeridoo and singing sticks.

The bus duly arrived and unloaded a swarm of arms and legs and laughter.

The 20×30 metre tent was erected in haste as the first drops of rain were starting to fall.

Satisfied that all had sleeping spaces and blankets, meals of individual ration packs were opened.

The night had settled in by now, and sleep was the next introduction to their survival training.

I lay awake listening to the rain, I was fully aware of the vagaries of the weather in the Pound,

and knew of the dangers of flash flooding.

I was beginning to sense that all might not be right, I went out into the night, rain was pelting down and the ground had turned to mud.

The old tree was illuminated by a full moon, it lit up the tree and leaves in a deep spiritual way as it swayed to the sounds of a million winds.

Some of the boys were beginning to complain of the water from the rains soaking their under blankets. As the army radio came to life I decided the exercise was no longer safe and had to abort.

I answered the radio call, it was my fellow instructor, further up the pound with his collection of young school cadets, he said that to be on alert as a flash flood is on its way through, I acknowledged and confirmed we needed to abort the exercise, he concurred and reported back to Adelaide HQ requesting evacuation.

I went down to the creek bed which by this time was turning into mud, then I heard the roar like a thousand trains in the distance, I moved back from the creek and watched a wave of water come rushing down the creek bed, it carried fallen trees and created a raging torrent, as the wind howled in a cyclonic fervour.

That was the beginning of the end to our five days survival training for the young cadets.

Next day the weather never let up, we were stranded and the radio reports stated they cant get in as the roads are all flooded, the day was spent trying to stay warm and trying to calm young boys minds.

The night came early and fear was starting to show, I noticed the onset of a few cases of Hypothermia and had to adjust the blanket rations.

Next day the radio report stated that the buses were through the swollen creek beds, and arrived mid afternoon.

A far different cry to the day of arrival, as 30 wet bedraggled kittens boarded the bus for home, I heard the faint mumblings about mums cooking and warm bedrooms, as the bus drew away on this bright beautiful warm Wilpena Pound day.

And now Ana and I were driving into the Pound, on a sealed road, I saw my tree, I couldn’t miss it, it stood exactly as I recalled those many years ago, but now, instead of a full moon illuminating her beauty, my tree was lit up by artificial lights that gave off an eerie aura, surrounding her once pristine grounds was a tourist resort, swimming pool, bars and restaurants, my heart sank.

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We booked into a room that looked out over the tree, I am sure its the same site I camped under those many years ago.

After 7 hours driving, the next destination was bed.

Somewhere in my dozing state, Ana mentioned that she thought it was raining, I lay there for a while and listened to the sounds, I got up and opened the door, there was no rain but a howling wind, the leaves on the illuminated tree were swaying, there was no moon, my tree took on a eerie dark aura, the wind echoes in the Pound from the Bluffs and Gorges.

The sound of the winds through the branches and leaves, sounded like a melancholic chorus of ancient Souls, did my mind play tricks or did I hear the faint echoes of a didgeridoo and singing sticks ?.

We booked out next morning and headed into the completion of our outback sojourn.

We left for Adelaide, the Capital of South Australia, where we stayed the night before the home leg to Mildura.

I said farewell to my old friend the tree from many years ago, I like to think she gave me a little of her Spirituality as a gift before we left.

I looked back in the rear view mirror as we drove away, she still stood tall and majestic, her Spirituality was still there, but somehow I think her Regal Heart had been tainted.

I leave you with some pictures of the beautiful Spiritual trees of the Flinders Ranges.

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And last but certainly not least, I leave you with a beautiful poem by my Dear friend Sue Dreamwalker.

Sue in her poem, The Winds Dance, has encapsulated in words, a moment in time for a young soldier many years ago.

Thanks Sue

Regards

Aussie Emu

The Winds Dance

From where does the wind gain her mighty strength?

How long is her trail, her width and her length?

From whence does a breeze grow into a gale?

As she shrieks and blusters bringing down hail

~~

And how does her anger in tornadoes twirl

Calm to the silence in the eye of a storm

And when does her shout fall to whispers and calm

That caresses the skin in the light of the dawn

~~

She flirts with the leaves to twist them and prance

Lifting them up to have their last dance

Her friend is the rain as he falls from the sky

Pelting the ground as he matches her sighs

~~

She finds every nook and the cracks to creep in

Howling laments as she shrieks out her din

The trees bow their heads in respect to her might

Those who resist are snapped in their fight

~~

She whips up the oceans creating great swells

And blows in the mountains, valleys and dells

She blows up the snow that drifts on the ground

She’s gentle and silent then violent and loud

~~

Never underestimate Nature with all of her sides

She’s stronger than Man despite all of his strides

Respect ALL the elements, to not is to fall

Because Nature is Mother, Listen to her call

© Sue Dreamwalker 2014 All rights reserved.

 
18 Comments

Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Who am I

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.
Cranky Old Man
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

.

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Kanyaka Homestead South Australia

We left the tiny township of Hawker, the gateway to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, as the afternoon sun was beginning to wane.

We were heading to our overnight destination at Wilpena Pound, a massive geological phenomenon that has become a major tourist attraction.

We settled down for the hundred kilometre journey and were starting to feel the strain of over 700 kilometres of driving.

There was to be one last stop before our destination, I have to digress a little here and explain.

I had travelled this road over forty years ago in an army convoy, driving the road at that time, I saw off in the distance a set of very old crumbling brick buildings, military procedure didn’t allow me time to break convoy and investigate.

This time leisure was in my favour, so we turned off the main road and followed a dusty dirt road down to a dry creek bed, the crumbling remains of what was a piece of Australian history, slowly turning to dust, and silently telling a story of earlier hard days of pioneering in this dry stony arid part of the magnificent Flinders Ranges.

We arrived at Kanyaka homestead, a story that spans more than 150 years.

The area was inhabited by Aborigines for thousands of years before European settlement. The name of the station is taken from the Aboriginal word thought to mean Place of stone.

Kanyaka Station was established as a cattle station in February 1852 by Hugh Proby. He was born on 9 April 1826 at Stamford in Lincolnshire, England, the third son of Admiral Granville Leveson Proby (the third Earl of Carysfort of Ireland) and Isabella Howard. He emigrated on the ship Wellington, which arrived on 30 May 1851 at Port Adelaide, South Australia.

The Flinders Ranges is very dry country, so it is both tragic and ironic that on 30 August 1852, Proby drowned when he was swept from his horse crossing the swollen Willochra Creek while trying to herd a mob of cattle during a thunderstorm. He was buried the following day. Six years later in 1858 his grave was marked with an engraved slab shipped from Britain by his brothers and sisters; it was said to weigh one and a half tons and posed a significant challenge to transport it to the grave site.

Under subsequent owners, the station grew in size until it was one of the largest in the district with 70 families living and working there. Because of the difficulties of transport, the station had to be very self-sufficient and Kanyaka station grew to include a large homestead, cottages for workers, workshops, huts and sheds, mostly built from local stone due to limited supplies of workable local timber. The station switched from cattle to sheep, but had cows, pigs, and vegetable gardens to supply food for the residents. There was also a cemetery. Hugh Proby was not buried in the Kanyaka cemetery, as it had not yet been established at the time of his death.

Severe droughts resulted in massive losses of sheep and eventually the station was abandoned. Due to its stone construction, many of the buildings survive today as ruins.

We lingered amongst the ruins as the sun was starting to loose her shine, the buildings took on an ancient proudness, as if trying to show its former glory, the rooms , the chimneys, the walls all held unspoken secrets.

We left the old homestead and headed for our destination for the night.

Driving away from the Kanyaka homestead left one feeling as though we had actually stepped back in time, a time when man actually took on the harshness of nature and built a rapport, a mutual rapport based on survival and respect.

I leave you with memories of the old Australian Homestead, Kanyaka.

Catch you around the traps

Emu

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39 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Flinders Ranges Outback South Australia Sept 2014

 photo CooberPedytoWilpenaPound_zps9805d8a6.jpgContinuing our Australian outback safari, we left Coober Pedy early in the morning of the 14th September, bidding a fond farewell to our hosts at the Desert View underground motel,The Opal Whisperer and his wife.

I wasn’t looking forward to this part of the trip, as we were actually heading back down the same road we had come up on from Port Augusta, a distance of 540 kilometres, it was the only way to our next destination, the alternative route would have been very complicated through sparse country and outback isolated stations.

So music was again the choice of amusement to break the monotony.

The road back was virtually the same as the road up, long and interminable with the usual display of unfortunate Kangaroos trying to beat the big trucks on the roads at night.

We had the car camera on the widscreen running all the time, in the hope of catching some great pictures, the only thing we captured was a guy standing by his car in the middle of nowhere busily winding his watch, bastard was so engrossed he didnt even wave or look up, which everyone does on our roads outback.

For the next hundred kilometres we discussed this phenomenon, as to why he would stop his car just to wind his watch, his hand never left his wrist to wave, some people can be so rude.

Reminds me to check the onboard car camera now, in case it caught me a couple of times adjusting my watch. No sense clogging up the camera with trivialities.

We made it into Port Augusta late in the Sunday afternoon, the town was very quiet in the late afternoon heat, so we decided to continue on another hundred or so kilometres to our destination Wilpena Pound.

The road was to take us through the beautiful landscape known as the Flinders Ranges.

I had driven this road over forty years ago and am sure it was just a hard dusty red earth track then, now its bituminised all the way through. The last small settlement before the Ranges is a town called Hawker, its commonly known as the gateway to the Flinders Ranges

The beauty of the massive outcrops and unique landscape, bought back memories as to why I have always had an appreciation for this beautiful country

The Flinders Ranges are the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts approximately 366 km (227 mi) north of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km (270 mi) from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna.

I leave you with my collection of landscape pictures, that are a lead into the Beautiful Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound.

Catch you around the traps

Emu

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21 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Umoona Opal Mine and Museum

We left our tour of the underground Catholic church and emerged back into the sunlight, the temperature had risen by now and was just over 40 degrees. The afternoon of our last day in this unique opal mining town , was to be a visit to Umoona opal mine and museum.

Umoona is an original opal mine located in the centre of town, that has been converted into Coober Pedy’s largest single underground tourist attraction. Comprising an original opal mine, an underground home, an aboriginal interpretive centre, heritage museum, showroom and opal retail shop.

This was to prove to be quite an experience, not only for the opal mine itself, but the amount of ancient fossils that had been unearthed, either through the drilling processes for opal, or through archaeological excavations.

The story behind this is that approximately 150 million years ago, the ocean covered the Coober Pedy region.

After the sea water receded, there were climatic changes that caused the lowering of the underground water tables. Silica solutions were carried down to deposit in cavities, faults and fractures in the ground, and now, millions of years later, these Silica solutions have formed opal and are also home to the variety of ancient fossils.

The pictures I share give you an idea of the size of this mine, and the museum display gives a great indication of the diversity and huge creatures that inhabited that piece of Australia over 150 million years ago.

Tomorrow we depart Coober Pedy, and head to a different and beautiful part of the South Australian outback a different climate and a beautiful display of Mother natures might, the volcanic crater in the Flinders ranges, known as Wilpena Pound.

Cheers

Emu

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28 Comments

Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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News to Hand Civil disturbance on Australian Street

 
22 Comments

Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Saint Peter and Pauls Catholic church Coober Pedy

I was not sure of the time when I awoke on the 13th September, on our trip to the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, outback South Australia.

My body alarm told me it was morning time, however after a long sleep in the silent catacomb style motel room, time was easily overlooked.

I made my way to the front of the motel room, aided by the light from the bathroom , which I had left on overnight, this was located at the entrance to the motel, the bathroom was added on to the front of the underground accommodation at a later date well after the mine was bored and turned into accommodation. There is actually a home up there with an inbuilt swimming pool, new rooms are also added by drilling, with the hope of finding opal as you go, guess it would cover the cost of the renovations.

Opening the door I was immediately struck by a very bright and hot Coober Pedy morning, a hot morning with a promise of an even hotter day in the offing.

The only sounds I heard was the rustle of a gentle breeze in the trees of the sparse trees around the motel, a few birds were raising a chorus as they audibly disputed the coolest places beneath the leaves on the trees.

We drove down the street, and the only people we saw at that hour, were a few people getting their early morning shopping at one of the two supermarkets, there were a few people waiting for the bottle shop to open, I had actually purchased beer there the day before, and its the first time I had been asked to produce my driving licence before purchase, appears its a rule in Aboriginal societies up that way, which is a sore point with me, but thats a different political subject which I wont go into here

This was to be our last day in this outback Aussie town, so we had to make the most of it, there was no way we could have experienced it all in three days.

We opted for the underground sites again, the morning visit was to be another underground church, this time it was Saint Peters and Paul’s Catholic church.

It is designed much as the previous church, the Anglican church I wrote about, it is drilled in the form of a cross, it has the Stations of the Cross mounted on the rough walls surrounding the inner church.

The Priest who administers out of Coober Pedy, has a diocese that covers thousands of miles, right up to Uluru, or Ayers Rock as its commonly known, through to Alice Springs in the centre of Australia and even further into the great Northern Territory.

The priest also services all isolated outstations and provides a great service for all occasions, births , deaths and marriages in between.

We spent a cool enjoyable time in the quietness of this underground Catholic church, it was easy to absorb the spiritual ambience of this place of worship.

This afternoon we will be exploring the underground caverns, showing details and relics from the days when this vast tract of land was actually a sea bed, and now, opal mining and archaeological work has bought its history to life.

I leave you with pictures of Coober Pedy, Saint Peter and Paul’s Catholic church.

Cheers

Emu

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19 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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