[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.
Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.
This time, the T-K Team continue their venture out West of Hermannsburg to explore Tnorala (Gosse Bluff).]
Big Day Out West (2)
After eating a snack, we walked the designated paths, taking care not to stray from the designated paths. Off track, the land was reserved for revegetation, and it certainly had revegetated since 1977. Then, the crater had been a barren wasteland. In 2013, green and full of native bushes and trees.
Upon completing the various walking tracks in the crater, we trekked back to the Ford, and then trundled out and off the unsealed part of the Mereenie Loop Road continuing north along it towards the road to Glen Helen.
But not for long. Roadworks rendered the road unsealed, so, more crawling. Until we reached Tylers Pass Lookout. Hence, in the mellowing sunlight of mid-afternoon, we supped on our cheese and gherkin sandwiches which we had bought from the store while feasting our eyes of the panoramic view of the Gosse Ranges and the MacDonnell Ranges.
‘Well, time to get going,’ Anthony said. ‘We don’t want to be driving in the dark.’
‘No,’ I replied. ‘Although, just one more photo.’
‘Well, hurry up.’
I snapped a few more photos and climbed into the Ford. Anthony was drumming the steering wheel. After I’d fastened the seatbelt, Anthony turned the ignition.
‘O-oh!’ Anthony muttered and tried the ignition again.
The Ford started, then shook and shuddered.
‘Oh, shoot!’ Anthony snapped.
He turned off the protesting Ford. Extracted himself from the car. And looked under the bonnet. While I sat like the queen in the car, he spent some time “working” and exclaiming at intervals, “We’re stuffed!”
I jumped out and joined him in the under-the-bonnet examinations. By this time Anthony was in the process of attaching the air-filter hose back on the air-filter. ‘We’ll see if that works,’ he said.
We resumed our positions in the Ford, sent up an arrow-prayer, and Anthony turned the ignition. The engine ticked over smoothly, and we breathed out our sighs of thanks to God. Anthony, then climbed out the car again to close the bonnet.
Just at this particular time, a pair of tourists in a ute, drove into the viewing area. They noticed the bonnet up on our car and called out, ‘You need some help?’
Anthony, with a tone of pride in his voice replied, ‘Nah, we are fine. All good.’
They waved, then drove past us to find a park and take in the view of the Gosses.
On our return, we passed a group of stranded owners of the land, kids waving. But Anthony kept driving. I guess, he wasn’t going to push his luck with mechanical prowess too far. In that way he was different from Dad who would’ve stopped and bantered in Aranda with them. And back then, in 1981, we had Richard, our mechanic.
By the time we reached Glen Helen, the fuel needle sank to less than a quarter of a tank, the gas-guzzler that the Ford is. We filled the tank there and then, now that we were on bitumen road, glided along enjoying the golden and purple hues of the MacDonnell Ranges in late afternoon. These I captured on my camera, with frequent stops, some with Anthony’s prompting.
Ellery Creek languished in shade when we arrived there. In the cooling shadows, we walked down the path leading to the water’s edge. Just as I remembered, Ellery Creek offered a big pool of water in which to swim. In fact, it’s the go-to place for swimming for the locals. In fact, as we walked the track to the pool, we passed a German tourist clad in bathers and hair wet from a dip.
As we drove westward to Hermannsburg, Anthony squinted at the setting sun glaring through the windscreen, and whined, ‘I can’t see a thing!’
‘Do you want me to drive?’ I asked.
‘No, no, I’ll be right.’
Just then, a kangaroo darted across the road. Anthony slowed and we watched the kangaroo and its joey tagging behind her, skitter over the verge and disappear into the bush.
‘That was close,’ Anthony sighed.
We arrived back in Hermannsburg at around 7pm. I rang mum while waiting for tea. After a tasty meal of Chow Mein, we relaxed watching a video, and enjoying fellowship with our friends.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021