The Billabong

Trilby Station

 Situated on the Darling River not too far from the small township of Louth, Trilby Station is a working sheep station and home to Gary and Liz Murray.

The Billabong is a prominent feature of the property.

Situated a short stroll from the family homestead the billabong requires a flood event on the Darling River to fill with water.

In recent times this has occurred in 2000, 2011, and 2012, and when it does the homestead is isolated and at times has required the family to be airlifted to the safety of higher ground.

Mind you it has not always flooded so regularly.

Gary’s father, Dermie Murray, who was born in 1929 at Dunlop Station on the Darling River, was 21 years of age before he saw the mighty Darling break its banks in flood.

Dermie and his lifelong partner now live further downstream and nearer to the township of Tilpa.

We have been fortunate to visit at times when it has been full, but as is often the case in Australia’s semi-arid regions the billabong is now dry once again.

Gary and Liz are wonderful hosts and you can camp down by the river, or by the billabong, and if camping is not to your liking you can stay in one of the stockman’s cottages, or the shearer’s quarters.

If you are ever visiting the region, be sure to take the time to visit Trilby Station, where you can just sit back and relax as the Darling River gently flows by…

Photo: Baz – The Landy

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The Nindigully Pub (In the Aussie Bush)

Outback PubsDon’t ever have one beer here, have at least half a dozen ;)

Photo: Baz – The Landy
ps: I do promote responsible drinking, mostly…
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The Local (Outback Australia)

Outback PubsA cold one, thanks mate…

Photo: Baz – The Landy
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Postcard from the Outback

Outback Australia At times it is difficult to find the right words to describe the majestic beauty of the Australian Outback.

The landscapes, the vibrancy of the colours that stretch from one horizon to the other, the patchwork of flora that knits this parched and ancient land together.

The Sandy Blight Junction Track in central Australia is certainly one place that will leave visitors struggling to find the right adjectives to describe its beauty.

The track, which was surveyed and built by the legendary adventurer Len Beadell in 1960, starts approximately 70-kilometres east of the remote Giles Weather Station on the Great Central Road, and winds its way to the Kintore Range some 300-kilometres to the north.

Central Australia

Despite seeing himself as simply a man of the bush with a love of the Australian Outback, Len and his bush craftsmanship are revered around campfires in the outback where tales of his exploits are frequently recounted.

Of course earlier explorers had passed this way and evidence can be seen towards the northern parts where a tree blazed by the somewhat controversial explorer William Tietkens can be viewed.

The Sandy Blight, which takes its name from the eye disease more commonly known as Trachoma, a disease that Len suffered whilst making the track, will take around three days to complete and adventurers’ who make the journey will be rewarded with an ever changing landscape.

Australian Outback

Travelling east along the Great Central Road from Giles, the Scherwin Mural Crescent will come into view signaling that the track north is not too far away. The explorer Ernst Giles named this remarkable rock outcrop after the Princess of Scherwin and it is quite spectacular when viewed in the early morning sunlight.

Making your way onto the track you can expect your senses to be piqued by a visually invigorating landscape of a deep red coloured soil contrasting against a vibrant blue sky and framed by magnificent Desert Oak trees.

Not long after turning off the Great Central Road a rocky track will take you to the Bungabiddy Rock Hole where you will be tempted to laze in the coolness of the rocky gorge, or the more energetic might take a walk to the top of the ridge that overlooks the waterhole.

Continuing north the countryside changes from stands of Desert Oaks and rocky outcrops, to numerous sand dunes that will put your driving skills to the test.

A highlight of the Sandy Blight is a drive to the top of the Sir Frederick Range where you will be rewarded with a 360-degree vista of the surrounding country.

Outback Australia

I have vowed to return to the summit of the range to enjoy a full moon rising over this sunburnt land and to marvel as it slides gently below the western horizon the morning after.

And not to be missed are the sun’s rays caressing the eastern face of Mt Leisler at the northern end of the track as it rises to signal the dawn of another day in the Australian Outback…

Whilst the Sandy Blight Junction Track is remote by any measure, it is not necessarily a difficult trip.

Preparation is the key to a successful trip and shouldn’t be taken lightly when travelling in a remote environment. Ensure your vehicle is well prepared for the rigours that it will face on the corrugated roads, that you are self-sufficient for food and water, and have a comprehensive first aid kit.

You’ll also need to have the appropriate permits for travelling through aboriginal land, and importantly, be sure to observe the requirements they place on travel through the area, especially on the carriage and consumption of alcohol.

Permits can be obtained from the Central Lands Council and the Ngaanyatjarra Lands Trust.

And crikey, don’t forget to take your camera – the folks back home will not believe just how spectacular the Australian Outback is!

 Photos: Baz – The Landy

 

 

 

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A Writer’s Retreat

 Kylie TennantKylie’s Hut, Crowdy Bay, Coastal Australia.

It is here that Australian fiction writer Kylie Tennant penned the novel Man on the Headland, a wonderful story in which she portrays Crowdy Bay and the man who built her the hut, Ernie Metcalfe.

Many of Kylie’s novels bordered on documentaries and she wrote in a way that sought to bring attention to her readers about poverty and disadvantage.

She died in 1988.

 Photo: Baz – The Landy

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Deserted…

Country Australia

 

Photo: Baz – The Landy

 

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War in the Australian Outback

Broken HillBroken Hill is one Australian destination that needs very little introduction. Growing from a small mining township in the 1880s it has developed into a large mining and tourism centre.

 The town has been described as a living, breathing time-capsule with its many Art-Deco shop fronts from an era long-gone and many monuments that pay tribute to the men and women who forged an existence in the red-parched landscape making it what it is today.

Typical of many outback towns if you scratch a little beneath the surface it often reveals an underbelly that is interesting, unique, and important to the mosaic that makes up modern Australian history…

Many battles were fought at “The Hill” between miners and the management of the mining companies, but there was another battle that took place that laid a tragic mark on Australian history.

Many visitors to “The Hill” will be familiar with the caravan park on the town’s western boundary, and I have stayed at it on a number of occasions as we head to and from central Australia. However, many are unaware that within about half-a-kilometre of the park a significant event occurred on New Year’s Day 1915.

On this day the Great War visited Broken Hill when two camel drivers loyal to the Ottoman Empire opened fire with their rifles on a picnic train that was heading to Silverton, killing five men, women, and children.

The assailants were killed in a gun battle that went for a number of hours and this event is reported as being the only act of war to be committed on Australia soil.

A rail carriage similar to the one that was involved on this fateful day is positioned were the attack took place, little more than about a 15-minute walk from the caravan park.

So next time you visit Broken Hill be sure to scratch the surface a little, you’ll be sure to find something as precious as the metals they have mined there for well over a century.

 Photo: Baz – The Landy

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