Let’s visit another “Place you May Never Get to See”. One of those out-of-the-way locations that I find irresistible.
Graeme and Alicia decided to treat us to a remote park. That they certainly did.
According to my local travel friend, Flinders Ranges is a place very few foreigners truly get to experience. It is off the beaten trail, far north of the wine and cheese crowd. There is very little pavement, so rental cars are not normally allowed. And, the roads in the interior of the park are rough and only marginally improved. Well, they are improved to some extent. When the road washes out a bit a bulldozer is sent in to push the river cobbles out of the way. A grader comes in to level it. SUVs, and Land Cruisers, and pickups tamp the rocks down into some semblance of a road bed. Similar to a cobblestone road. Not a good place for novice back country drivers.
The park crossing reminded me of the dirt tracks I travel in Idaho, Washington, Arizona, and Death Valley, California. My kind of country.
About the best map I could easily find. It’s located in northern part of the state of South Australia.
Before I start, everyone should realize that Australia is huge. It takes a long time to get anywhere. About the time you get out of small towns with low speed limits, you run out of bitumen (pavement). And the corrugations (washboards) can get horrible. Yep, both of us get to deal with them damn things.
We got out of Adelaide around 9:30 in the morning. Looked like a quick drive up to Flinders. Nope. By lunch time we were still a long ways away. Just after lunch, the first interesting stop. Gladstone.
At the old train station lay this little bit of artistic whimsy.
Made from old spikes and other hardware gleaned from a nearby abandon railway line, this sleepy lizard and spider were quite a collection. The lizard takes a hoist to lift it.
Across the street, an old hotel. Now a residence, it’s for sale. Love the name Booyoolee.
Then across town to the old gaol.
The guard tower overlooks an amazing array of antiques. This was once the largest jail in the southern hemisphere.
An old washing machine.
The blue thing is a steam powered extractor. Similar to the spin cycle on your washer. I’ll bet that thing was noisy when it operated!
My readers know what a modern mangle looks like from the laundry room of the cruise ship Rhydam. This is an oldie, probably from the 1930’s or so.
Once the exercise yard.
The view from the guard tower.
One of the cell blocks. For $20AUD, you can bring your bedding and spend the night. Yes, you really can. Can’t imagine doing that myself but…
There was a women’s section as well complete with a birthing room. Records show 6 births in the prison. An infirmary complete with dentist chair and exam table. A large recently built (maybe 50’s) multipurpose room that can be rented for concerts or (ulp) weddings. I can’t imagine a wedding in a prison either, but maybe Aussies can. They have a different outlook on life. Very humorous.
We made a few other unremarkable stops. One had some old cars. A Land Rover beside a Plymouth Valiant. Odd combo. The local cat came out and rubbied on our shins as we looked around. Figured it was a member of the local “Welcome Wagon”.
The Hotel Peterborough. Rather rustic, just like the rest of the town. Just like the rest of the country once we left Adelaide.
Graeme had found out there was a Christmas celebration with a parade and fireworks. We arrived and got situated about half way through. No worries, they turned around at the end of Main street and came back. I ran across the road between floats to shoot a picture of our vantage point. The old man in the wheelchair appreciated all the candy Praxy collected for him.
Quite entertaining. I drank a couple of beers from the bar and enjoyed the fun. It looked like people turned out from many miles around.
Later, while eating dinner, we noticed this thing sitting across the street. An inspection was in order.
A German hand cranked music machine from the 1800d’s. All we could see from the restaurant was the cardboard feeding in while the crank was turned. None of us guessed correctly.
Afterwards, we walked about 10 blocks down to the local soccer pitch for fireworks. They were great, closest I’ve ever been to a display. Maybe thirty yards to the mortars. Noisy and fun.
Quite the party night around town. Three bars in town, and all of them full of noisy revelers. They made as much racket as the fireworks. This particular Friday was the last day of work before the annual two week holiday for many Australian workers. Everyone was making the most of it. Beer was disappearing at an amazing rate!
I finally turned on the air conditioner fan to help drown out the din. We all got a decent night’s sleep.