Small battery, BIG problem….

Car keys with isolator switch


We woke to a light mist cloaking the landscape giving it a soft mystical aura. Fog and mist are almost unknown in this area.

We came down to earth with a bump when the van wouldn’t start. Oh dear, turned the key in the ignition and nothing happened. What to do now?

Finally worked out it was the very small battery in the isolator switch that had died, it was an A27 size. Jack went to the camp shop to see if they had one. It was a very unusual size and of course they didn’t have one. Another customer in the shop overheard the conversation and came over to see if he could help. Well how is this for luck, coincidence or a chance encounter. Mark Norman worked in a battery franchise, “Mr Minute”, in Townsville and had experience with our problem, he knew just what was wrong. The camp shop did have a slightly bigger battery that Mark used to get the isolater going. So patched together with celotape and handling it very carefully we were able to get on the road again…

Mist in the bush

Wattle in full flower

The long straight road to the outback

The road from Sapphire to Longreach is the Capricorn highway and it is long and straight and in good condition. The weather has cleared and the bush sparkles after the recent rain. The wattle is a golden cloud under an azure blue sky, it is a pleasure to be out on the road. The occasional road train roars by and other travellers towing caravans behind big 4 WD vehicles easily pass us by.

At a small township called Alpha we stop for lunch, a pie from the local bakery with our thermos of coffee. A visit to each shop that may have batteries, but with no luck, and a look around the colourful murals this town is renowned for.

Mural on toilet at Alpha

Next stop is Barcaldine, famous for being the birth place of the labour party. The shearers walked out of the shearing sheds and gathered in Barcaldine to protest about conditions and pay. The tree they gathered under was named the tree of knowledge and in 2006 was heritage listed. In that same year someone poisoned the tree and though a great deal of effort was made to save the tree it died. Now a stylized sculpture of the tree stands in its place. It created a lot of controversy when it was first erected and it is certainly different. But I thought it was a beautiful work of art.

Barcaldine tree of knowledge

Artists sculpture of tree of knowledge

Tree of knowledge information

It was 4-30 by the time we reached Barcaldine and still had 120 kilometres to Longreach. Now normally we would stop at this time and find a van park for the night, but because the van parks are difficult to get into at this time of the year I had booked ahead to Longreach. Because we did not leave till 11am this morning, because of the key problem, we were now quite a lot later than I had intended to be on the road. However we pushed on into the setting sun and going west it became quite hard to see as the sun got lower and lower on the horizon. Now, unfortunately we came to road works and lots of pot holes. Then there is the ever-present danger of a kangaroo leaping out in front of you…

Finally we reached Longreach in the dark at 6-30 and gratefully relaxed with a very welcome glass of wine and Jack cracked the bottle of home-brew he was given by Scott. We celebrated our arrival in the great Australian outback…

Categories: australian travel, Barcaldine, caravan park, Longreach, out back, photos, travel, Tree of knowledge | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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