Hi there….

So, it’s been a while since I posted. Let me tell you why:

  1. The pandemic and shift to working from home (which began properly the day after my last post) has meant what I do with my days off has shifted and I have less energy for writing & posting;
  2. What energy I have for writing things is getting funnelled either into my Twitter interactions, or other projects that I don’t want to lose steam on (fic writing, for example);
  3. And – the big one – I have this tendency to avoid stuff if I’m already late with it…the ‘pressure’ of coming back after I miss self-set deadlines is annoying, so I avoid and continue to do so, by letting 1 & 2 distract me.

Going forward: I’m going to try to aim for one to two posts a month. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

picture of a manmade creek and big bridge. There is water flowing in the creek. The creek has sloped concrete sides, with a concrete path running along each side at the top. There are trees with branches overhanging the path.  The bridge is big because it's a road bridge. It has tall sides to prevent noise from the road travelling to the creek.
The creek at the bottom of the street near where I live. These paths have been lovely to walk on during this time.

So, what have I been up to since April? Lots of things. Let’s start with work.

I was in a hands-on role prior to the lockdown, which has changed to a mostly admin/ support from afar role during this time. For nearly seven weeks (not counting the extended school holidays) myself and the team have been supporting staff, students and families by offering programs to assist regulation, ideas for things to do with household items, and most recently, info sheets about different body skills and senses. It’s been a lot of fun at times, but also a bit of a drag at others – I get my energy from working with the kids, so not being able to be with them has been hard at times.

In that sense, I’m glad that I’ll be going back to work onsite next week – the Victorian government has told all special schools to go back this coming Tuesday. Mainstream have different arrangements depending on year level. Returning to work onsite means a number of other good things – like having regular driving time again, as I work towards my licence by driving to and from school on my work days. It means a return to the physical separation of work and home, with my routines around that.

But we’ll go back to a changed environment. It’s not going to be “straight back to usual”. The rest of term – four weeks of it – will be spent re-adjusting and taking things as they come, with specific health and safety measures in place. After all, by Tuesday, we’ll have had ten weeks off – students were last onsite on Monday March 23, while staff switched to WFH from Tuesday March 24. This has been the longest that students have had off, ever. Longer than the usual summer holidays. Add that to the new health and safety measures and it makes for an interesting few weeks ahead.

A colleague reminded me that the best thing is to focus on the positives, while keeping our expectations low. Be kind to ourselves and the students while supporting our and their wellbeing. We’ll get there.

Also, big ghost/ Jedi/ virtual hugs to everyone else out there who’s worried about all the things, especially if you’re in a country overseas which is struggling more with this thing.

Picture of drawing of head and arms of person. Person's arms are open and they have a love heart in the middle of them. Person has two dots for eyes and a small smile. Text above the person reads: sending vritual hug. Underneath the person the word 'loading' is written, with a half-full bar line underneath that.
You can’t feel it physically, but it’s there!

What else have I been doing? Hmm. A few things.

This lockdown time has reinforced for me how my neurodivergent brain works and what it needs to be happy. Many, many routines were lost and disrupted with lockdown – like choir being cancelled (and possibly remaining so for longer than other things, due to the way the virus spreads). Also, work (naturally), church and not being able to go to gym/ BodyPump. I’ve had to find new ways to do things and acknowledge my hidden supports.

Like, working at a school means, in usual circumstances, I work in a really structured environment – three sessions a day, specific windows of time for morning tea and lunch, and so on. Then I’d added further routines on top of that – for example, driving the same route to and from work every day and only wearing my name-badge and visuals lanyard on school grounds. My work days were my biggest step days as I walked between office, classrooms and staff areas.

Losing all of that meant I had to create my own structure and find my own ways of getting that movement into my day. I’ve used Google Calendar and reminders on my laptop as my own visual schedule. I kept my morning wake-up routine, albeit a little later than usual. I did things like have a specific Chrome window for work-related internet stuff, only using/ opening work-related apps like Outlook and Webex during work hours. Regular walks became a thing, with plenty of pictures taken to mark the things I saw (two of which have featured in today’s post).

Picture of water in a creek. The water is almost at the height of the creek banks, where green grass is growing on both sides. There are also some trees on the creek bank and a gravel path visible to the right side of the image. The sun is shining brightly in the top left of the image, reflecting in the water. There are a few fluffy thick white and grey clouds in the sky.
Another image of the creek at the bottom of my street. Taken a day or two ago after all the rain Melbourne had this week.

I ordered some gym weights so I could keep up with that, because I find it grounding. I joined in on a couple of virtual choir events, have been to regular virtual church services and video-called people or chatted over Discord to feel connected. LaTUCS has maintained a regular Wednesday social time on Discord since we had to stop meeting in person, which has been lovely. I’ve also found lovely online things to provide good feels (though sometimes sad, too). Like this cat-cam YouTube channel, advocating for a Trap-Neuter/Spay-Adopt-or-Release approach for feral cats. There are so many kittens on the two channels right now, with the promise of even more joining them in a few weeks. I love watching them and definitely have my favourites.

Health stuff like psych appointments became virtual, too, with telehealth.

This will continue for me for some time yet – I’ve decided that how i’m going to handle the anxiety of work going back is to recognise that this acknowledges schools as essential workplaces, with staff as essential workers. I am going to still keep physically distancing myself from most things except shops and work, at least until the end of Term 2. We’ll see how it goes. But I am proud of how I’ve managed myself during this time and want to continue that.

The other thing that’s been occupying my time is fandom. In times of stress, fandom is one of the big things that give me joy and make me feel safe and happy – though it can still be its own mess, at least I can carve out my own corner and defend/ fix it. It’d be nice if there was more to claim for my corner and less to fix, but still. Taking part in fandom in a critical way makes me happy.

That’s meant that I’ve been reading and writing fic, retweeting pertinent views on Twitter and engaging with people. I also did a few nice things for Star Wars day. I wore my hair in Rey buns (I tried Leia buns but that was too tricky *sadface*), wore my BB-8 earrings and edited some photos from Supanovas past into little flipbook movies with accompanying music. Thread here. Fun!

I think photos from this year’s Supanova count as my “last normal photos”, which is a thing that went around social media last week…people posting photos from the last “normal” thing that they did before the lockdowns. It’s rather fitting that my photo is related to fandom:

A photo of Clare standing in front of a background painted to look like a Star Wars Rebel or Resistance base. She is wearing her silver headphones and her glasses, in a cosplay for Rey Skywalker - white tank top and shorts, cream scarf hood and brown belts. She is holding a lit yellow lightsabre in salute. Next to her is the droid BB-8, who is taller than her knee. BB-8 is looking at the camera, while Clare looks off-centre to the left of the image. Clare is smiling.
One of several photos from this year’s Supanova, where I cosplayed as Rey Skywalker. I wish I had a BB-8 of my own….

Stay safe, everyone. Until next time!

Seasons in Melbourne & surrounds

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about how I was interested in the idea of a local seasonal calendar and how I’d found something like that (changing seasons). It wasn’t quite right though – a Gariwerd calendar, not one for the Kulin Nation. I kept my ears and eyes open for one that was, because it is on the lands of the Kulin nation peoples that I was born, grew up and work (Wathaurong) and live now (Wurundjeri).

Recently, my local church, Brunswick Uniting, did a presentation on the “seven seasons of the Kulin Nation” as part of our “Season of Creation” liturgies over September/ October. So I’ve finally found a proper seasonal calendar that the peoples of the Kulin Nation would likely have followed. Apparently it was right under my nose the whole time at the Melbourne Museum. I think I’ll have to make a trip there soon.

The calendar of seasons for the Kulin Nation peoples, with approximate months, is below.

  1. Biderap: Dry season; roughly Jan-Feb
  2. Luk: eel season; March
  3. Waring: Wombat season; April to July
  4. Guling: Orchid season; August
  5. Poorneet: Tadpole season; September-October
  6. Buath Gurru: Grass-flowering season; November
  7. Kangaroo apple season; December.

For all of these, the corresponding months are approximate, varying year to year. For example, I think Buath Gurru started a week or two ago, judging by the sudden uptick in mine and others’ hayfever symptoms.

For further details and other interesting information, see the following links:

Sunsets and nice things

I like watching the year change, through the seasons and through the daylight hours.

Having to rely on public transport means my journey between home and work takes a while. It’s tough some mornings when I’d rather be a sleeping a bit longer. However, there are some compensations…. I get to see the changing daylight firsthand. There are beautiful sunsets and sunrises, as the dark slowly moves forward toward the winter solstice. I notice the changes week-to-week, and after the solstice I’ll get to see the daylight slowly push back the dark again.

Below, there are pictures I took of a beautiful sunset a few weeks ago, from a train station that’s a changeover on my commute.

Some things may truly suck right now (and ooh, I have words about that after Saturday), but at least there are sunsets, homegrown veggies and other nice things.

Just Random Things

The simple things in life make me happy.

Like having new adulting experiences that are somewhat anxiety-producing, but overall largely harmless, or positive.

Like learning more about myself as I go further in my job, gaining understanding.

Like establishing and keeping new routines that work for me, so I can do what I need to do. (Pack my bag the night before and get to bed by ‘this’ time*; get up with the alarm at ‘that’ time; leave the house by ‘this’ time aiming for that tram…
* = not always successful, but it’s the thought that counts. Also, specific bedtime routines like journaling and meditation apps are useful.)

Like morning sunrises and evening sunsets, and being able to physically see the former change time (getting up at a certain time means I notice that!).

Like the neighbourhood pets – my place has a lot of cats around.

As well as the unexpected wildlife encounters.

Yesterday morning, as I walked up the platform steps at my last changeover, I heard a little bird-call. It was very distinctive. I turned and found the bird, perched on a branch near the railing. Not wanting to scare it off, I didn’t photograph it, but instead memorised its features. Today, I dug around online for an internet equivalent of The Australian Field Guide to Birds, a highly useful book in my family’s house growing up. The “find a bird” section of the Australian Bird Life website was useful, though they organise their ID collection alphabetically rather than by bird species.

After some searching, I found the bird (or at least, I think I did). See below for a picture of the Hooded Robin, taken from their page on the website. He (the bird pictured and that I saw yesterday are male) has a black head, neck and back, with white underbelly. The females of the species are less distinctive. Their call, that the male sang so sweetly yesterday, can be heard in recordings via this link.

Image result for hooded robin

Life Update

I wrote this over the weekend, listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack. I kept getting snippets in my head after hearing songs from it the other week, so played the soundtrack to hear them fully. That led me to think about timelines and such, which led me to this interesting blog post, “Enjoy Les Mis, but please get your history straight“.

Anyway. The day you read this, I’ll be back on placement, ready for the next seven weeks. My last weeks of university for my Occupational Therapy course. The first week was good; may the rest be even better.

Below are some nice nature shots I’ve taken lately. The other weekend, I saw a camellia bush that had been bred to have two different colours of flowers on it (red and white with red stripes). Other highlights from that day out photographed included lots of wattle trees and other plants, as well as a koala in a gum tree that was a bit too far off to photograph properly.

 

 

 

Spring dawns anew – once the cold blows through

Around me, the signs of spring gently creep in. The trees that I call “early-budders” – often fruit trees whose leaves start as budding flowers in August. When I lived in my hometown, there were a few of these in the back garden, and my spring-and-sunshine heart would eagerly await their coming after the long dreary weather of winter.

In Melbourne, the First Australians consider this time of year to be “pre-Spring” (see my calendar post). I love this time of year and its heralding of new growth and sunshine after dark dreary days – it’s no wonder I’ve posted about it a few times before.

There are other signs of spring beyond the early-budders near my current home. The wattle trees are in full bloom, all yellows and golds with green leaves. The wattle took pride of place in a local event that happens annually a few suburbs over from me – the Wattle Festival occurred on Sunday. It was fun, with steam trains, live music, market stalls, plenty of food, and glorious sunshine. Here’s a picture of some wattle close to home!

Wattle tree illuminated by a street light, next to a cement footpath and road with zebra crossing. Silhouetted gum trees are in the background.

That’s not to say we aren’t still getting cold days. The temperature in my area wobbled below zero, then above, then to zero, then above again between 06:00 and 08:00 this morning. At 09:00, it was still only 4*C!

Another sign of spring are the lengthening days. We’re very close to being able to say that daylight lasts beyond 18:00 – and you can tell. It feels brighter of an evening, and of a morning too, where the sun rises before 07:00. It’s lovely! I’m going to enjoy travelling to and from placement in a couple of weeks because of that, despite the early hour I’ll have to wake up.

As you might have gathered from my absence last week, it was a busy week. I am so close to finishing the project. Huzzah! Once that’s finished, I have a few little side quests that I will do between now and the start of my final subject. As usual, the year speeds along. I will enjoy the chance to slow down next week, when I’m off on a holiday for a few days (more on that in another post!).

Tbh, the project work was useful in other ways last week, as it meant I was too busy to be wrapped up in watching the farce that took place in Canberra. They can swap PMs all they like, the fruit is still rotten at the core. Same policies, similar slogans, different salesman. Boo. As for our new PM, well – a “moderate” conservative wanker is still a conservative wanker, and a hypocrite to boot (worships the Prosperity Gospel, bleurgh). I wish that we could just have a Federal election already, to toss them out! (Dare we hope that the by-election Turnbull indicated will happen in his seat in the near future will speed that up?)

There’s better news in state politics. The RentFair bill has passed the lower house (yay!). This morning there was an announcement that the Victorian government will create a suburban Metro rail link. I’ve been saying there should be one for five years! (There used to be one, that Sr John Monash built, but lack of patronage closed it in the 50s.) It’s a massive long-term project, not a quick fix – starting in 2022, completed by 2050! Wow. Read more here. It’s a great idea – but the timing of the announcement is no coincidence, with a state election just under three months away. (Might be a good time to check if you need to update your details, Victorians.)

 

Let’s see, what else have I been up to?

On Thursday, I went to an event at uni. It was very swish! Yummy food, a few drinks, dancing… I love a good night out.

Table decorations - on a black table cloth sit large black paper roses in a black and white dish and a bottle of 3i "black water". A table number card is behind the roses, with white writing "29" on a black card. In the right-hand top corner of the picture there are wine and water bottles visible, and in the left-hand top corner is a plate of butter and bread.

On Sunday, after the festival, my partner and I went to the cinema and watched MEG. It was a good movie, scary with some silliness to lighten things up as needed. It had a good cast, with competent women who took no bull from the men, and heroes with personal quests and failings, as well as a Rich White Dude as the human antagonist. They made the megalodon of the title appropriately scary, as well – not overblown, as I feared they would.

Oh yeah, and on Saturday I went to an AFL match for the first time in ages. That was a bit more tense than I’d expected, but as I was with people going for both teams, it was still fun. Quite the game, too!

A selfie of a young white woman. She is grinning at the camera, wearing glasses, a Richmond Tigers cap and yellow-and-black scarf. The rest of her clothing is also black with hints of yellow writing. Behind her is part of a big screen scoreboard, as well as lots of Tigers fans in team colours.

What have you been up to?

 

Btw, as I mentioned in an earlier post, on August 1, Facebook stopped allowing automatic syncing and sharing of posts. I’m sharing this one on my personal profile, as I’m not sure if I want to get a public page. If you’ve come from Facebook, please sign up via email or WordPress in order to keep in the loop!

What a couple of weeks…

Hi all.

Whew.

Things are a bit tough right now, aren’t they?

Ugly stuff is happening. The treatment of refugees in America (and, more quietly, in and offshore from Australia) is one issue. The latest blow-up has occurred during Refugee Week, which is a sick irony – especially when refugee rights matter all the time, as all human rights do. Another issue – especially if you’re a young city woman like me – is the recent murders of young women who were just living life. Earlier in the week (and last week), I’d wanted to write more about that, but plenty of people, especially women, have said lots already. Also, my emotional bandwidth is occupied by those very issues and other life ones.

There are so many good things happening, too. The uproar of resistance, quiet and loud, of people saying, “enough”, is a good sign. A reminder that there are more good people working for “equality, diversity, justice and love” (as I saw it mentioned online) than there are opposing that. I’ll quote him because it lifted me when I needed it yesterday:

“There are hundreds of millions of people in this world who (just like you) wake up every day trying to be the kind of person the world needs; lavish with compassion, overflowing with generosity, relentless with love. You are, even when you’re not aware of it, surrounded on all sides by like-hearted people who are not okay with the suffering around them either.”
source here

So, while getting annoyed at world things and thinking about how to change them, prioritising life things, and keeping on keeping on, I’ll take time for me where I can, to be with good people and do fun things. Like this, today – a mob called the Roo Keepers came to my uni campus and I got to hold some different Australian wildlife.

Keep on doing your thing, people. Be your own superhero, including being brave enough to reach out to people if things aren’t going well.

Time flies

Well, I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks. But maybe I’ll get back into a rhythm now.

I had a nice Easter weekend which was a blend of old and new traditions. Including family, food, drink, and nature. Oh and some solid driving practice.

Placement finished last Friday. I’m truly thankful for the experience.

Now I have no uni for two weeks, to refresh and reflect.

Here are some of the things I’ve been getting up to lately:

A chestnut horse (brown body, black mane and tail) leans its head over a wire fence. It is surrounded by yellow grass and green tree foliage. A bright teal-aqua fern contrasted against brown leaf litter

Description board telling readers about the Domino TrailAn old rail bridge in the woods, with a fallen log in the foregroundThe same rail bridge but with sunlight shining through from aboveDucks on the bank of a lake. The lake, with shadowed water and greenery surroundingFood on a plate: chicken drumsticks, boiled potato with skin on, and steamed veg like carrots, kale, bok choi. Flowering shrubs with lorikeets in them. Tuna and veggies in a sauce, with bread around the outside of the plate. A cafe menu booklet. It’s red with black circles and writing reads “Abbey Road”Beach foreshore with pale yellow sand and blue waves with white foam. A jetty is off to the left. View of Melbourne CBD from a bridge on a major road. The skyscrapers are distant, the rails of the bridge are sturdy iron. The sky is blue. Colourful salad of couscous, carrot, capsicum, cooked kale sits in a white bowl. Beside it to the left is a big knife, beside it to the right is a silver fork.A large crimson rosella sits in teal-silver ferns and nibbles.Shot of construction work over a road, laying rail tracks, a bridge, and concrete structures for a station. A crane is in the image.Trees and grass in a nature preserve.A bird rests on the window and is silhouetted by the sun. Another bird is swooping at it.

Chicken schnitzel, noodles and veggies like capsicum, kale, zucchini and carrot.

Captioning these images doesn’t appear to be working on my mobile, so here are some descriptions:

A horse and ferns spotted on a bushwalk; the board describing of the trail we used; a disused rail bridge with and without a makeshift light filter (person’s hand sufficed). The over-bright shot made me think of the idea of a “voice from the heavens”.

Next are ducks and their lake; then a dinner – chicken drumsticks, boiled potato and veggies; followed by a shot of birds (lorikeets I think) in the flowering shrubs.

A menu from the Abbey Road café in St Kilda; a shot of the water there; and a view of Melbourne city as we went back over a bridge on Punt Road.

A salad I made for a lunch get together yesterday (cherry tomatoes, carrot, capsicum, cooked kale, with couscous); two crimson rosellas in ferns munching; a shot of some level crossing removal works happening near me; followed by indigenous flora in a nature preserve.

Finally, two birds having an argument on my window; before chicken schnitzel, noodles and steamed veggies for dinner.

Have a pleasant evening, all.

Central Australia trip report #7 & 8

Wow. I didn’t realise I’d forgotten to upload the last two days of these.

 

Day 7

The next morning we were up and going early. We soon arrived in Alice Springs.

View out the front of a car windscreen from the passenger side, showing two red stones with "Welcome to ALICE SPRINGS" written on them. Sky is blue and everything else outside is red.

We saw the sights and had a drive around. Including Charles Darwin University:

Foreground has red dirt and yellowing grass. Then the black sign with white words stands in front of some buildings with blue sky behind.

And a place called “Anzac Hill”, a memorial to those who’d died and served in war.

At the top, I realised that I’d been up Anzac Hill before – when I went to Central Australia with school, some seven (!) years ago now.

Then:

I'm standing in front of a steel fence two bars across. Behind me is Alice Springs town. It's a close-up photo and I'm wearing a black t-shirt with "Hong Kong" and a gold dragon on it, with tan/grey shorts. My hair is out and long and I'm wearing my "jillaroo" wide-brimmed hat.

…and now:

I'm standing in front of a steel fence - two bars across. Behind me is Alice Springs town. I'm wearing a blue collared t-shirt and jeans with my "jillaroo" wide-brimmed hat. I'm standing next to a green shrub and the sky is clear blue behind me.

We drove on through and around the town and found other things to see. Like the monument to four people who died during the “Inaugural Cannonball Run” in 1994. You can find out more information about the race and monument here. (It’s located to the south of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway.)

Red rock and mortar creating a fence with a raised corner which has a dark stone triangle on it. On the stone triangle is a plaque dedicated to those who lost their lives during the "Inaugural Cannonball Run"

We also took a squiz at the Cultural Centre and town square. We’d had the luck to visit during NAIDOC week, so there were events going on. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of those.

Eventually, we had to travel on, aiming for Uluru.

Sunset over scrubland, creating a layered effect of blue, pink and orange-yellow stripes on the sky's horizon. The half-moon is bright and small high in the darkening sky above.

Day 8

The next morning, we awoke early. We’d spent another night “free-camping” just outside the national park (Uluru campsite itself – Yulara – was full), to take the total to three. We had set our alarms to wake us before dawn. I remembered seeing the sunset at Uluru last time and wanted to experience a sunrise with family.

So off we went.

We found a good spot in the designated viewing area (they have different ones for sunrise and sunset), then set up to take photos.

Hello, Uluru.

Photo of me in puffy black coat (with fake-fur-rimmed hood), standing in the foreground with Uluru, a bit of grasslands and trees/ shrubs behind me. The sky is blue.

I’m so glad the climbing ban’s been placed… There are plenty of different ways to experience the place with respect.

We took photos of the distant Olgas too.

It would’ve been nice to do a ranger-guided walk around all of Uluru, as I’d done with school, but time was against us. The tour started too late and went too “long” for our purposes, due to a scheduled flight. Before I left on that plane though we went close to the Rock at Mutitjulu waterhole and did a little walk, exploring the story told there.

We visited the Uluru cultural centre and saw the displays. Including hearing a talk by a ranger and Indigenous people about various tools the Indigenous people of the area use/d. Hint: boomerang is not universal. The Pitjantjatjara people call it a kali. (For more words, see this link: Pitjantjatjara words – Tools.)

A sign at the entrance to the cultural centre, first in Anangu then English: Yunkumytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara Traditional owners say, 'Welcome to our place'. Listen to the insects and birds, look at and feel the land as you walk down the paths to the Cultural Centre. Enter through the display. Exit near the cafe."

And then we were off on the road again, for the last time on the trip together…. (For context, I had made the decision to fly back to Melbourne while others continued back down the highway, because it got me back in time for placement with a couple of days to regroup.)

Before long, we arrived at the airport…and it was soon time for boarding.

Red runway from the plane's window, also showing the wing and red dirt.

Then lift-off.

As we were told at the start of the flight by the pilot, the flight took us south of Coober Pedy, near Leigh Creek (? At least, I think that was the name of it), over Lake Eyre North, south of the Flinders Ranges, above Mildura to Bendigo then over the outer suburbs to land in Melbourne. In other words, I reflected, it used a similar route to our trip. I liked the symmetry of that.

Here’s Lake Eyre North:

The flight was pretty good. Before long though – quicker than I’d expected – we were flying over the outskirts of Melbourne…

Ready for landing.

But my journey back wasn’t yet complete. I went out and had to choose between the SkyBus then train, or a PTV bus and ended up choosing the latter (cheaper and not much longer). After another hour and a half, I was back home.

 

A black, grey & orange Smartbus is driving on a road. Its destination is Melbourne Airport 901

An image sourced from Google as illustration – obviously going the opposite direction than me!

 

Central Australia Trip report #5

Phew. Busy busy. I’ve got some fun stuff planned with food, and my placement only has three days to go – then it’s back to uni for another four weeks before a break. In the meantime….

Day 5

Panoramic shot of sunrise - yellow breaking over horizon, brownish-red dark dirt and scrub in the foreground in shadow

We woke up just before sunrise. Brr! The nights are cold in the outback at this time of year.

map of how to get to the spa

We explored the camp and discovered that the natural springs in the area meant the campsite had a spa of sorts! It was lukewarm, so we all changed into our swimmers and took turns to try it out. Nice – especially after a few days of limited facilities.

Tent as the backdrop to the breakfast things (camper stove with porridge in pot, table set up wit bowls & cups & cereal & water can), with my shadow in the middle

Back at our campsite, we set up and had breakfast – porridge cooked on the camp stove – before packing up the camper-trailer, ready to be on our way again.

After one last look around the campsite to take photos of course.

The next stop on our journey was at a railway siding called, “Beresford”. When the Old Ghan was still in operation, it was a place where trains would stop to take on fuel and water.

There was plenty of graffiti inside the old stationmaster’s house (or whatever the building was). My favourite piece was this one:

Graffitti reading: "Rick and Mycool back in 2014 Been here '92 '95 '96 '09 so glad no-one's wrecked it" in block capitals

The Oodnadatta Track is very dusty and quite rough in places.

View from the Nimbus Mitsubishi of the dusty Track with the Nissan Pathfinder driving up ahead.

We drove on, eventually arriving at William Creek, which sits on the edge of Anna Creek station (Australia’s largest pastoral lease, or something like that). Town population: 13.

Half-oval sign welcoming us to Williams Creek - indicates that petrol, camping, toilets and beds are nearby

There was an area next to the road which had a small graveyard, bits of rusting machinery and also commemorated the rocket tests that occurred in the 50s, including the original rocket. Womble had fun exploring.

(The graves were poignant and out of respect we didn’t take any photos of those. One was of an 18-yo German tourist and the others were a few outback mates.)

The town has one roadhouse which doubles as a pub/general store/petrol station. We went and had a drink there after filling up on fuel. The inside of the bar area had been covered with signatures and cards, each one marking that someone had been through William Creek.

The inner room, the lounge, had signs forbidding people from writing on the walls or ceiling because it is a heritage-listed room. It’s made out of Old Ghan railway sleepers! That’s novel – and different to the “usual” use of firewood….

Heading back to the cars, Womble found the railway cart information board about the Old Ghan and William Creek.

We drove on and eventually rolled into camp at Algebuckina Bridge. Another sunset, followed by another campfire, finished the day.