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