Daily Archives: 03/07/2013

Sunrise over Cadelga Homestead RuinsThis is how the morning sun looked at Cadelga Homestead ruins.  I cannot lie, it was a wee bit chilly, but leaving the warm bed to see this light was irresistible.

Morning light at Cadelga Ruins

Old car - morning at Cadelga Ruins

As I was photographing the structures and the amazing old abandoned car, for a brief moment I thought I heard an engine start up. Except it wasn’t an engine. It was a large flock of galahs leaving their night’s roost and tearing up the river with only their wings making sound through the cold air.

Morning galahs - Cadelga Homestead

On the road again and in just over 2 hours we were in Birdsville, home of the Birdsville Races, the Birdsville Hotel and the Birdsville Bakery, prize winning baker of fine pastries such as Camel Curry, and Kangaroo and Claret pie.  They also tend a blooming garden of Sturt’s Desert Peas.

Approaching Birdsville

Birdsville - Google Map

Birdsville panorama

786466a6e3b211e293ab22000a9f1919_7Sturt's Desert PeaBefore heading for the pub, we walked along the billabong and found this dart sunning itself.  Across the river a feral cat was on the prowl for birds in the river grasses.

The beer is good and cold at the hotel in case you were wondering.

Dart on the Birdsville billabong

Tuesday 2 July (posted in Birdsville on 3 July)

The prologue

As I write this, my traveling companion is in the front line managing an influx of insects attracted by the light.

To begin

Another beautiful day in Innamincka that began with a decision to head towards Birdsville after a visit to King’s site.  By King, I mean John King.  By John King, I mean (IMHO) the only sensible one in the Burke and Wills expedition. The one who was discovered by the search party sent off to discover the whereabouts of them all.  King was looked after by the Yandruwandha aboriginal people after the death of Wills and then Burke.

It was such a peaceful place with so many bird varieties on this sleepy bend on Coopers Creek.

Finch at King's siteBudgies - King's site

unknown bird - King's sitePelican at King's site

Six hours on the road and the dust is settling, so to speak.  Everywhere.

red sand - Innamincka to Birdsville

Corillo Downs Station has the largest shearing shed in Australia, and a few gates on the road. We were the grateful recipients of what I will now call “etiquette of the gate” when others saw our dust coming and waited for us to go through.

Shut the gate!

on the road to Birdsville Tues

Road to Birdsville - afternoon

Birdsville is a long stretch from Innamincka on these roads, so we looked out for Cadelga Homestead Ruins as a possible free overnight camp. At 4 pm, voila!

Ruins panorama

Callega Ruins

Ruins 4

 Ruins 3

 Sepia vehicle and ruins

The watercourse was teeming with galahs with wild ducks, smaller birds and darts adding to the sounds.

As the sun disappeared on the day thus did the temperature drop.

galahs - Cadelga Ruins

Sunset - Callega Ruins

I’ve been reflecting on the welcome to Cunnamulla road sign as we approached that town late last week.  “Settled in the Dreamtime”.  

Cunnumulla welcome sign

There is so much European history represented in museums, monuments and memorials in Australia. We lose so much if we don’t appreciate and acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land over which we travel and pay respects to Elders, past, present and future.

Nice one Cunnamulla!

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.

 Morning at the fuel stop - Innamincka

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.

Corellas at Burke's gravesite

Burke's gravesite landscape

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.

Pelican - Cooper Creek

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.

The Dig Tree

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.

frozen eggs