Kata Tjuta means “many heads” in the local indigenous language and the area is sacred under Tjukurpa and Anangu men’s law.
Photo: Baz – The Landy
Footnote: The “T” in Tjuta is silent…pronounced Kata (T)~juta
I am, slowly, with great emphasis on slowly, making my way home, after my journey across Australia and into country with the Birriliburu People, traditional owners of much of the Gibson and Little Sandy Desert region of Australia…
My time on country with the Birriliburu Mob has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to sharing the experience with you, but for now, let me share some photographs of our magnificent Sunburnt Land – our island continent that time forgot!
Photos: Baz – The Landy
Footnote: My travel into the Birriliburu Indigenous Protected Area was at the invitation of the Elders and Traditional Owners; access is not generally granted.
Now I know some of you have been wondering how do I pass the time following the white line along the blacktop for these sort of distances, especially as Janet-Planet, the wonderful Mrs Landy, hasn’t joined the trip yet…
Yes, her presence in “The Landy” is always engaging and enlightening…
Well I’ve got quite a comprehensive music library consisting of around 10,000 songs so I’ve plenty to choose from, but oddly, I have listened to very little music on this trip and have spent most of my time tuned into ABC Country.
Yes, the Australian National Radio Broadcaster…
Now before you go knocking it, give it a go I say, there is plenty of topical stuff they talk about, and yes I had to endure a couple of business reports giving a read on the value of the Australian dollar. I suppose the boss will be pleased to know that I tuned in but crikey, thought I had left the trading desk behind!
But anyway, the topics are far-reaching, some serious, others amusing. One I listened to was a standout though. It was an interview with a bloke who works for the Department of Agriculture and his speciality is bee keeping.
We all love honey right?
Hey, before I get on with this yarn, don’t windmills transport you to the Australian Outback in a nano-second…
Anyway, predictably the interviewer had to get a Winnie-the-Pooh joke in early, it was an oldie, but still an oldie, if you know what I mean. But this bloke wasn’t going to be detracted from the topic…
Besides, I’m sure he has heard them all.
Actually, lets not call him “he”, but as I can’t remember his name let’s call him Cyril, ok?
Well Cyril gave a fascinating account of bee keeping to the point I’m sure he had people running out ordering a hive. Did you know they post Queen bees around in the mail, yep, postage stamp attached.
It kinda puts a new spin on airmail, I guess..
Anyway, Cyril recounted how he first became interested in bee keeping at the young age of 10 years and was encouraged whole-heartedly by his parents. He eventually went on to do some agriculture studies that were the pathway to a life-long career and passion.
And clearly, Cyril was passionate about this, let there be no mistake about that!
But the clincher for me in this whole interview, and it had me in sticthes, was his account of how, as a teenager, he had a beehive in his bedroom.
Yes, that’s right, a beehive in his bedroom.
Cyril had a hole cut out in the window for the bees to come and go and glass panels in the hive so he could observe the behaviour of the bees. Oh, don’t worry, there wasn’t a dark side to this story, no sting in the tale, so to speak…
Seriously, I tried to sneak all kinds of things into my bedroom as a teenager and let me say I was stung on more than one occasion by an ever-watchful mother – but a beehive in your bedroom?
Okay, I get it, some of you might like a bit of honey in the struggling paddock, just to sweeten things up a bit, but I’m betting you scooped it out of a jar, not straight from a beehive at the bottom of the bed!
But Cyril’s story is just so far out there I think he gets away with it…
Well thanks Cyril, odd as it may seem, your interview was a highlight for me as I stared down that endless white-line and it helped me pass the time away as I travelled through the Australian Outback; the Bush…
Anyway, as I mentioned, I’m at “The Rock” which is a first for me despite extensive outback travel and interestingly, it is mostly referred to as Ayers Rock in much of the signage around the Yulara Resort, rather than Uluru as it is now known. I find some comfort in that as I grew up knowing it as Ayers Rock.
Not that I can’t respect change, but I will take the liberty of referring to it in the way I have always been accustomed…
But there will be no climbing for me, I will be content to get some great photos of it as the sun sets on another outback day…
Photos: Baz – The Landy
Rest assured I was eager, departing before the kookaburras’ were stirring, the neighbours no doubt awoken by the familiar sound of “The Landy” edging down the driveway..
Mind you there is the mundane of actually getting out of the city, but before long “The Landy” was pulling the TVAN up and over the Blue Mountains, along the Bells Line of Road and through the small apple growing community of Bilpin, on what was a cold start to the day.
I elected to take the TVAN Camper Trailer on part of this trip to give some comfort on the journey to Central Australia and back again, especially as Mrs Landy will be joining me when it is time to point “The Landy” homewards. Otherwise it will be a swag roll to sleep under the stars whilst in the desert…
Similar to recent trips to Australia’s centre I headed west on the roads less travelled visiting the small rural towns of Tullamore and Tottenham, in the New South Wales central west. And central it is, as the route passes close by to the geo-graphical centre of New South Wales not too far from Tottenham.
At the risk of being called anti-social, it is quite pleasant driving along by yourself and it is something I greatly appreciate from time-to-time as it provides a welcome escape from the close working quarters on the currency trading floor of a major Australian bank – my usual haunt in between the weekends.
I even got to argue and debate with myself, and win a few of those exchanges during the day!
The sun was starting to head towards the western horizon as I reached the outskirts of Nyngan and a camp, the first of the trip, by the Bogan River. Before long I had the camp established, pulled out a chair, sat back, and relaxed!
Here I was, finally released from the shackles of urban living in Australia’s largest city, Sydney and the phone rang!
No way, it couldn’t be work, surely?
Although a call on a Saturday is not unheard of, it was Mrs Landy and the Crown Prince ringing to see how the first day Out and About was!
Baz – The Landy
It will be a journey that will take us across our sunburnt land towards Uluru and beyond to the Central Deserts of Western Australia…
We’ll travel to a place where time has forgotten, where the hot scorching sun parches a landscape that is as beautiful as it is rugged. A country inhabited over the millennia by Australian Aborigines and crossed in more contemporary times by explorers’ who challenged themselves to discover what was in the Australian interior.
You will get a camp fire view of the setting sun as it slips gently below an orange tainted horizon, and if you are an early bird, watch a rising sun cast its first rays of light over the windswept land, a mug of piping hot tea in hand.
But for sure, you’ll get to experience the teeth shattering corrugations of the Great Central Road as “The Landy” makes its way westward, and at day’s end, quietly slip into a deep slumber under “The Milky Way”.
During the next few weeks “The Landy” will cover over 10,000-kilometres across a landscape that will transport me from the urban living of Australia’s largest city, Sydney, across the Australian Bush and into the vibrant and colourful Australian Outback.
Now perhaps there will be some who are thinking, is this city slicker meets the outback?
Crikey, who knows…
Mind you, I’m as comfortable in the outback as I am crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the daily commute to the office, having travelled to many remote parts over the years flying light aircraft or driving “The Landy” – our mode of transport that has morphed as time advanced.
Okay, I do agree, the good old ‘Fender hasn’t changed much in the past 50 years, seemingly, so we’ll just say I use the term “morphed” sparingly.
And despite the opportunity to view the magnificent Sydney Harbour each day, I won’t miss that daily dodgem car run!
But I am digressing…
Along the way I will be travelling with a group of like-minded people, sharing a few laughs around the camp fire and I’m sure, fixing almost as many punctured tyres as there are flies buzzing around. Importantly, I will be spending time with the Traditional Owners and Elders of the Birriliburu Country to assist them in building some “back to country” infrastructure.
Our travel will be along remote tracks that are covered in spinifex grass and frequently travelling where no tracks exist, where a never ending blue sky caresses the ochre-red earth on a faraway horizon.
And don’t go worrying if you haven’t heard from me for a while, rest assured, I’ll be around the camp fire at day’s end, recounting, laughing, and dreaming!
Whilst we live in a modern society with plenty of gadgets to keep us all in contact, sometimes they just don’t work in the Australian Outback – well that is what I told my boss anyway, so best I continue to run with that story…
I’ll welcome your company in the front seat of “The Landy” as the journey unfolds and don’t worry about long lapses of silence, it’s okay – the sounds of the Australian Outback will more than compensate for the lack of chatter!
And if you are stuck at home in-the-armchair, be sure to drop by every so often, I’ll be updating the blog as the journey unfolds and you can check out where I am as “The Landy” rolls along the bulldust by simply clicking on the “Map – Where is The Landy” tab at the top of the page.
Anyway it is almost time to get under way, so buckle yourself in and give Mrs Landy and the Crown Prince, TomO, a wave good-bye…
Photos: Baz – The Landy