Ghost town

The outback goes on forever

Barkly Highway, the outback way

As we drive along this Outback way I look out across the plains that stretch to the horizon. I look ahead at the bitumen strip and look in the rear vision mirror as the road unfurls behind us. For many of the miles we are on our own. Mile after mile with no other vehicle in sight. Then a small dot appears on the horizon. It seems to float as though it is a mirage till it flashes passed then disappears in a heat haze behind us. A quick wave of acknowledgement then gone.

I think about the explorers, those brave and driven men, that had a passion to find out what was in the centre of this huge and forbidding land. No track to follow, not knowing what lay ahead, where the next water-hole was. They blazed a trail, then went back to tell of the vast grassland plains they had seen.

I think of the pioneers, full of hope and ambition to carve a living from this alien land. The struggle to bring their stock and possessions into this wilderness of unknown plants and animals and indigenous people who lived such a different lifestyle. How brave they were.

Information boards put up at rest areas tell the stories of the pioneers struggle to survive. We are following the drovers way and do a detour into Newcastle Waters. This was a major meeting point of 3 main droving routes during this period of Australian history. The sweet waters of this place never dried up and a bustling settlement developed.

The large watering hole at Newcastle Waters

The drovers could relax for a day, visit the pubs, meet up with buddies, before moving on with the stock, well watered and ready for the next stage of the perilous journey..

Now it is almost a ghost town. The pub, Junction Hotel, is an empty, dusty barn of a place, but something is happening here. There are signs of work going on around it. The power is on. A fridge is standing in a corner, in the kitchen remnants of a meal lie around. Last time we came through in 2010, it was derelict. No signs of life. We look around to find some one we can question about the changes. But no one is here, just tents behind in the dusty back yard. We can only speculate. Are they changing it into a camp-ground? Are they going to “do-up” the hotel? We wander over to Jones’ Store. It is a museum but not your pristine state of the art place, this has been left as it was. Dust has settled every where, saddle bags with the stuffing hanging out are placed around the walls, and old wood burning stove has rusty saucepans sitting on it. Old, disintegrating lace curtains flutter at the open windows. It has character and a sadness about it. Information boards are around the walls telling the history of the building and stories of the people who owned and operated it. It is heritage listed. Amazingly it seemed exactly the same as 2 years ago. Although it is open and no one lives around it all the old artifacts still seem to be there and no destruction or graffiti apart from the ravages of time.

Jones store now a museum

Living area back of Jones Store

Jones store

Old saddle bags

It is lunchtime and across from the small school-house (that seems to be in use, there is a working cattle station along the road so we assume they will be the children from those workers and managers of the station) is a grassed area with an eight foot tall bronze sculpture of a horse-tailer. We were told at the Drovers shed in Camooweal that he is depicted with the saddle bags that are to be put on a pack-horse and they must be both even weight with 50 pound in each and that is an essential part of the drovers life to take care of the horses.

So we make a sandwich, have a cuppa from the thermos and travel on, with my head full of stories from the droving days…

8 foot tall sculpture, monument to the drovers

 

 

Categories: australian travel, droving, Ghost town, old derelict buildings, out back, outback, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Freedom camping in a ghost town among the ghost gums…

Ghost gums at Mary Kathleen, ghost town

Tonight we are freedom camping in an old uranium mining town of Mary Kathleen.

The town was built in 1958 to support the Mary Kathleen mine. A bustling community of 400 lived here until the mine closed in 1982. Two years later all the buildings were auctioned, the biggest property auction ever conducted in Australia, the buildings removed and all that remains are the bitumen roads and concrete pads that once had houses standing on them. It is quite eerie to see the large area stripped of all life and imagine the community that once lived, laughed, cried, worked and played here. Tonight there are 4 vans of various types spread around the town. As I look over I can see on one of the distant roads a couple of the campers have camp fires going, glowing in the dark. There are no facilities of any sort, no water, no showers, no power, no loos. This is camping stripped to the basics, but I was amazed to find there is internet connection here. So we can still connect to the world in cyberspace….

It is half way between Conclurry and Mt Isa on the Barkly Highway. We have just spent 3 nights in a lovely caravan park in Cloncurry. The Oasis was peaceful, grassed sites with clean amenities so decided to stay and catch up with laundry, e-mails, blogs etc.

We have now left the Matilda Highway and onto the Barkly Highway which is known as the centre of the outback country. The scenery has changed dramatically, no more sweeping plains. The road undulates along between mineral rich, rocky outcrops. This is now mining country. Long bridges span winter dry creek beds, waiting for the onslaught of summer rain. Gum trees line the road covered in glorious creamy yellow blossom. The wedge tail eagles, kites and crows cluster around road-kill and as each vehicle passes they leave the feast to soar and wheel above till the road is clear and then descend again to continue with the meal.

Mineral rich rocky outcrops

Jack exploring dry creek bed

We wandered along the dry creek beds and as the sun catches the sandy soil it glistens with a million mineral particles. I try to catch the sparkle with a photograph but it does not show it.

These are our neighbours

Apart from the few other campers these are our cute neighbours for the night…

Jack exploring dry creek bed

 

Categories: australian travel, camping australia, freedom camping, Ghost town, gum trees, outback, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Margaret Hall Fine Art

A WORLD OF COLOUR

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

A wonderful sheep

Navigating the creative seas

Curls n Skirls

del's sewing stuff

anotherdayinparadise

Travels in Paradise

poppytump@no4

Photography and Sketching ... Observations ...

wordsandimages

here, there and other places

Brizzy Mays Books and Bruschetta

Predominately Books But Other Stuff Too

The Eternal Traveller

Remembering past journeys, recording current trips and planning for the next one!

Womanseyeview's Blog

Nothing profound and a few of my photos

P.A. Moed

Creative Exploration in Words and Pictures

snippetsandsnaps

Potato Point and beyond

priorhouse blog

Photos, art - and a little bit of LIT.

Life is great

Despite its troubles

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world

%d bloggers like this: