Monday 1 July (posted in Birdsville 3 July)
The walk back beneath the night sky to the sandy camp from the pub last night brought to mind The Church’s Under the Milky Way. So many stars were visible as most of the campers had already called lights out. And we were SO late home – must have been at least 8pm!
This morning, the fuel station was busier than a morning coffee cart in Sydney’s CBD. We picked up some essentials from the Trading Post which may have included chocolate.
On the road again, this time without the van in tow, we headed back into country surrounded by mesas on the way to explorer Robert O’Hara Burke’s grave on the banks of Coopers Creek. It’s not really his grave as he was buried in Melbourne a few months after his death at the first State funeral ever held in Australia.
The corellas and pelicans were basking in the morning sunshine oblivious to visitors trekking up the sand banks to the site of this man’s demise.
I can’t generate much admiration for the man. His superior attitude and lack of respect for the Aboriginal people and their knowledge ultimately cost him and others their lives in a season that was a particularly fruitful one for bush tucker.
Of the four men who crossed the continent to the Gulf, only John King survived, due largely to his acceptance of the hospitality and traditional wisdom of the local people.
Further on at Cullymurra Water Hole, pelicans were flying in and out using the river as a landing strip.
You can’t visit Innamincka without heading out to the Dig Tree where, if the men left here had waited but a few more hours, all four members of the expedition who reached the Gulf may well have survived.
I put the camera down momentarily and drew for the first time on this trip. Conditions weren’t perfect as most of the time my hands were being used to shoo away the flies.
Tomorrow is an unknown. The question is do we stay another day or get started on the road to Birdsville. Either way, it will be free camping which means being powered by gas and battery and backing up posts ready to go when the net-waves are working.
If last night is anything to go by, sleeping time will be punctuated by the sounds of B-Double trucks on the gravel and the howl of dingos.
Camp cooking – an occasional feature
As an afterword to yesterday’s post, last night’s dinner incorporated the unplanned inclusion of eggs with cracked shells, no doubt caused by countless corrugations on the road. We’re still trying to find the right temperature for the fridges, so I’m here to tell you that you can peel frozen eggs.