Remembering Dad–Picnic at Brownhill Creek

[Remembering my Dad, 10 years since he passed from this world to be with his heavenly father. Wonderful loving father, beautiful memories, amazing adventures…]

Happy Hunting Ground

[Picnics on special days have been a “thing” for years. Not sure when this experience happened, but it was a picnic all the same.]

Dad leaned on his shovel and with a wrinkled handkerchief patted sweat from his head displacing the few strands of hair masquerading as a “comb-over”. Then with grunts sounding as if he were puffing billy, he attacked the garden bed. With each load of soil, he groaned, puffed and wheezed, demonstrating how hard he was working. A closed cardboard box sat near the cauliflower patch, a counterbalance to the growing pile of dirt the other side of the hole Dad created.

[Photo 1: Dad digging in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger 1977]

‘Daddy, what are you doing?’ I asked strolling across the lawn to Dad.

Dad grunted some more and then flung a heap of soil into the mound behind him.

‘Daddy, why are you digging this deep hole?’

Dad stopped digging. ‘Huh?’

‘Daddy, what’s this hole for?’

‘Never you mind, Lee-Anne.’ Dad must think at six years old, I’m too young to know.

‘But Daddy, I just want to know.’

Dad tapped the box with his boot. ‘I’m sending puss to her happy hunting ground.’

‘Wilma?’ I asked. ‘But Daddy, why are you digging a hole, Daddy? Are you digging your way to Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I had visions of my cat chasing mice in China.

Dad glanced at the box and cleared his throat. ‘Oh, er, no, not really. Just a bit of gardening, dear. Now, run along and get ready for the picnic.’

[Photo 2: Dad resting after his hard day at work in the garden © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Ah! A spring picnic at Brown Hill Creek. I loved picnics with Mummy, Daddy and Richard, my eleven year old brother. Brown Hill Creek in the Adelaide foothills had paths lined with eucalyptus trees, and a creek filled with yabbies and tadpoles for Richard and me to hunt. I imagined Brown Hill Creek as the perfect “happy hunting ground” for cats.

‘Is Brown Hill Creek Wilma’s happy hunting ground?’ I asked.

Mum, her mousy curls covered with a scarf, poked her head out the door and called from the porch, ‘Hurry up, David!’

[Photo 3: Mum hanging up the washing before we go out © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1971]

‘Yes, dear,’ Dad said and with huffing and puffing, dug with increased speed.

I jumped up and down and flapped my arms. ‘Hooray! We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground!’ Then I ran back to Mum standing in the back porch. ‘We’re going to Wilma’s happy hunting ground.’

‘Yes, well, I suppose,’ Mum said her blue eyes averting mine.

***

All the way to Brown Hill Creek, I filled the stale air in Bathsheba, our Holden car with my constant babble. As the only blonde in the family, it was my calling to be the family entertainment.

[Photo 4: Bathsheba, our trusty Holden car in the background © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1969]

‘I bet Wilma loves it at Brown Hill Creek. There’s so many birds…Mummy, do all the cats go to our picnic park when they go to their happy hunting ground?’

‘Mmmm,’ Mum replied.

I took that response as a “yes”. ‘Mummy, why did Wilma go to her happy hunting ground? Why didn’t she want to stay with us?’

Mum sighed. ‘Wilma wanted to go. It was her time.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Are dogs there too?’

‘Wouldn’t be a happy hunting ground for cats, if dogs were there too,’ Dad said.

‘Maybe dogs go somewhere else.’ I tried to think where dogs would go. ‘Like where there’s more trees, I guess.’

Richard shook his square head topped with brown curls. ‘Why do you always talk so much, Lee-Anne?’

I shrugged. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Anyway,’ Richard said, ‘Wilma is—’

‘Shh!’ Mum glared at my brother and narrowed her eyes.

‘Gee, Brown Hill Creek must be full of cats,’ Richard muttered.

‘Oh, goody, when we get there, the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to find them all,’ I said.

Richard rolled his eyes and shook his head.

***

Clouds shrouded the sky casting Brown Hill Creek reserve in a pall of grey. Dad manoeuvred Bathsheba into the gravel carpark. Richard and I then scrambled out. While Richard checked the water-levels of the creek, I gazed up at the lofty branches of the gum trees. Was Wilma up there? The leaves rustled in the breeze.

Mum found an even patch of ground near the creek and spread the rug. Dad lugged the wicker basket loaded with cheese and gherkin sandwiches and a thermos.

‘Richard, would you help carry this?’ Dad asked as he held a bag containing a spare set of my clothes. A picnic was never complete unless I fell into the creek at least once.

I raced along the path and began calling, ‘Wilma! Wilma!’

As the distance between my family and me widened, Dad yelled, ‘Don’t go wandering off—we don’t want you getting lost—again.’

‘I’ll go with her,’ Mum said.

‘Wilma! Wilma!’ I sang.

Birds twittered in those lofty branches. I looked up and called, ‘Wilma! Wilma! Here puss, puss, puss!’

A kookaburra cackled.

[Photo 5: Kookaburra © L.M. Kling 2016]

Mum pointed up at a bunch of blue-green leaves high in a tree. ‘Hey, look!’

‘Wilma?’

‘No, look!’ Mum said, ‘A koala.’

‘What’s a koala doing here? I thought this was the cat’s happy hunting ground.’

[Painting: Koala and baby© L.M. Kling 2013]

Mum took a breath and began. ‘Wilma’s in a better place than this, she’s—’

‘Hiding?’ I peered in the scrub. I parted the stubbles of grass by the side of the path. I looked behind tree trunks and logs. ‘Wilma! Come Wilma!’

My brother strode up the path and stood next to Mum. ‘You have to tell her, Mum.’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘You won’t find Wilma here,’ Richard said.

‘Wilma’s gone dear,’ Mum said.

‘Dead, Lee-Anne,’ announced Richard.

‘No! Richard, you’re wrong. Dad said Wilma went to her “happy hunting ground”, I said straining my voice.

‘Richard’s right,’ Mum said. ‘Wilma’s happy hunting ground is in heaven, not Brown Hill Creek.’

***

We ate our cheese and gherkin sandwiches in silence. If I wasn’t talking our little family usually ate in silence. Mum sat me on her lap and wrapped her arms around me as I forced small bites of sandwich past the lump in my throat. I looked at the creek frothing and bubbling from good spring rains. The yabbies and tadpoles were safe from my jar and net that day. I was in no mood to hunt them. My spare set of clothes would stay a spare set for another picnic. I decided to break the silence.

[Photo 6 and feature: Happier times at Brownhill Creek © C.D. Trudinger 1964]

‘Will I never see Wilma again?’ I asked.

‘I’m afraid not,’ Mum said. ‘But you have Barney, Wilma’s brother, to be your special cat to look after.’

‘Why does Lee-Anne get a special cat?’ Richard asked.

‘Well, you’ve got Timothy, Wilma’s other brother, he’s your special cat,’ Mum replied.

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘So Wilma’s in her happy hunting ground in heaven,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ Dad said. ‘Wilma’s in heaven.’

[Photo 7: Wilma and Me © C.D. Trudinger 1968]

And I imagined Wilma stalking through a hole from our world and into the next; her happy hunting ground in heaven.

***

[Photo 8: Holly 2000-2016© L.M. Kling 2011]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

Feature Photo: Picnic at Brownhill Creek. Photo taken by David Trudinger 1964

***

Want more, but too impossible to travel down under?

Why not take a virtual journey with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click here on Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981…

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

T-Team Series–First Flight…Ever

   [The last few months I have revisited The T-Team with Mr. B: Central Australian Safari 1977 which is a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981. In preparation for its release later this year, I will be sharing posts of this adventure.

The T-Team with Mr B In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

In this episode, the I experience my first flight…ever.]

First Flight Over Alice Springs

Dad looked at his watch. ‘We have to go. Or we’ll be late.’

I raised my voice. ‘What about breakfast?’

‘Er, um, better not, if you’re flying,’ Dad said.

‘You might chunder,’ Richard laughed.

‘Yeah, well, you never know, you might get sick.’ Dad ushered us out the Mission House and onto the front lawn; just a patch of dry grass. ‘They’ll be ready to go any minute. Better fly on an empty stomach. We’ll eat after, okay?’

*[Photo 1: Light plane to Hermannsburg; a novelty that one must get their selfie with it © S.O. Gross circa 1955]

The other rover, caked with red dust, stood empty and idle in the driveway.

‘Who’s taking us?’ I was curious.

‘Pastor K from Areyonga. It’s his plane. He’ll be taking you, Mr. B and Matt, okay? I had to get special permission, and they can only take three of us. So, Richard and I will be staying behind.’

‘What time are they going?’

‘Oh, er, about eight-thirty.’

I looked at my watch. ‘But it’s only eight o’clock. We have half an hour. I haven’t had a shower yet,’ I turned, ‘I don’t want to stink the plane out.’

‘Very well then.’ Dad herded us back into the house. ‘But be quick. If you’re late and miss the flight, it’ll be your fault.’

*[Photo 2: A special occasion: Plane landing at Hermannsburg during wartime © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

‘So, we’ve got time for breakfast?’ Richard asked.

‘I s’pose so,’ Dad said with a sigh.

I collected my toiletries and towel, and raced down the hall to the bathroom. Behind me I heard Mr. B say, ‘And you know I can’t start the day without my coffee.’

After a shower, breakfast, and making myself “bootiful”, Pastor K drove Mr. B, Matt, another man and me to Alice Springs aerodrome for the light-aircraft flight over the town.

*[Photo 3: Another wartime plane visits © S.O. Gross circa 1942]

The small yellow and white craft gleamed before us on that icy morning. I shrugged on my bright yellow parker Dad suggested I take. Then we walked towards the small plane.

‘You’re lucky,’ Pastor K said, his breath making puffs of smoke, ‘normally the plane only fits four passengers. But since, you kids are small and rather light, we can fit you in.’

I clasped my hands. ‘Thank you.’

Then, just before I climbed on board, I handed my camera to Mr. B and asked him to take a photo of me. He took his time to compose and frame the shot, then he clicked two photos of me in front of the plane.

[Photo 4 and feature: Oh, what joy! My first flight…ever © courtesy of L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

We settled into the craft. Somehow, we all fitted in.

‘This is a brand-new plane,’ Pastor K, our pilot said. ‘Now buckle up.’

The engine puttered to life and on the plane’s nose, the propeller spun. The little plane raced down the runway and then, giving me a heady adrenalin rush, the craft roared and then lifted into the air. I loved the feeling of take-off; the speed and then launching up off the ground.

We floated above Alice Springs. The MacDonnell Ranges surrounding the town, became sandpit stumps of red. The town became tiny town of ant-people. Cars driving on grey strips of road turned into toy cars on a road map.

*[Photo 5: Alice from above © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

‘Wow!’ I swooned. The propeller noise like a jackhammer meant we had to shout. ‘It’s beautiful!’ And I snapped half my film away on shots of Alice from the air.

‘Are you sick?’ Matt asked.

‘Nup,’ I replied. ‘Are you?’

‘Nup.’

‘Neither am I,’ Mr. B said.

I wasn’t afraid of falling out of the sky either. The plane sailed above the town. It bobbed and dipped.

‘Air pockets,’ Pastor K said. ‘Nothing to worry about. Perfect weather for flying.’

We all nodded.

All too soon the plane slowed, lowered its wheels and then glided down to land on the runway. But at least I could now say, finally, at the age of fourteen, I had flown in a plane.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: What joy! My first flight…ever © courtesy of L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977

***

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle.

Check it out, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

T-Team Series–Mustering Conversation

The Parrot of Curtin Springs

  [Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

The T-Team with Mr B In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

This time Dad promises Mr. B rabbit stew for dinner.

Rick and I scrambled off the Rover’s roof-rack.

‘Race ya to the birds,’ I yelled and then ran down the side of the Curtin Springs store to the aviary.

Rick and Matt raced past me. ‘Beat ya!’ Rick called back.

The parrot squawked. ‘G’day mate!’

Matt laughed and said, ‘Hey, you got the bird to talk, Rick.’

‘Aren’t I clever,’ my brother said.

‘How did you do that?’ I approached the cage. ‘G’day mate.’

The parrot cocked its head.

In a falsetto voice, I said, ‘Hello cocky.’

The bird bobbed its head.

The boys laughed.

I persisted in a high-pitched tone. ‘Polly wants a cracker?’

The bird ambled over to me and then bit the wire of the cage, its blue tongue thrusting out its beak.

*[Photo 1: White cockatoos abound all over Australia. Here’s some in Sturt Gorge near my home. © L.M. Kling 2018]

‘Hello cocky,’ I sang.

The bird stopped nibbling the wire and then clawed its way along the cage away from me.

‘You just don’t have the touch,’ Rick said.

Matt sniggered.

Dad, his thumbs hooked in the belt loops of his trousers, strode up to us. ‘How about a soft drink? My shout.’

Rick shouted, ‘Soft drink!’

‘Ha! Ha!’ Mr. B who stood behind Dad, clapped. ‘Very funny!’

The parrot screeched. ‘G’day mate!’

*[Photo 2: White cockatoos close-up © L.M. Kling 2018]

I glared at Rick. ‘How did you do that?’

‘I have the touch,’ Rick said.

Dad marched into the store. A few minutes later, he emerged cradling five cans of lemon flavoured soft drink. ‘The petrol’s cheaper here than at Ayres Rock. And so is the steak. It’s from the cattle they have on the station.’

*[Photo 3: Cattle like these but near Gosses Range © L.M. Kling 2013]

The parrot cocked its head and watched us guzzle our drinks.

Rick wiped the sticky drops from his chin and sighed. ‘Ah, a real man’s drink!’

Dad licked his lips and then held up his finger. ‘You wait here. I won’t be long.’

We watched Dad disappear through the store door.

Mr. B raised his hand to his mouth, then after a discreet burp, he muttered. ‘No chance of egg soup tonight, I hope.’

I turned to the parrot. ‘G’day mate.’

The parrot squawked.

‘You just don’t have the touch,’ Rick said.

Matt giggled.

*[Photo 4: The Parrot of Curtin Springs (somewhere in the cage) and me © R.M. Trudinger 1977]

Dad returned, this time carrying a baby-sized packet wrapped in white butcher’s paper. ‘The Rover’s been fed, and we’ll have a feed tonight.’

‘That better not be eggs and soup,’ Mr. B snapped.

Dad pursed his lips as if some bird he’d swallowed was about to burst out. ‘Rabbit. I bought rabbit for stew. There’s lots of rabbits around these parts.’

‘What?’ Mr. B’s face flushed crimson. ‘I thought you were going to buy steak.’

Dad did that kissing motion with his lips and then in a level voice said, ‘Rabbit steak. It’s cheap.’

Rick turned away from Mr. B’s line of sight and wheezed with suppressed giggles.

The parrot flared its crest and screeched. ‘G’day mate.’

‘You did it again!’ I cried.

Rick snorted and laughed.

‘What’s so funny?’ Mr. B asked.

Dad patted Mr. B’s back. ‘It’s steak, mate. Beef steak. The best you’ll get around these parts. Curtin Springs runs a cattle station, you know.’

*[Photo 5 & 6: Rounding up Cattle in Central Australian Cattle Yard © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

‘You had me going there, for a while,’ Mr. B said.

‘Huh?’ I looked from Dad, to Mr. B, and then to Rick. ‘But you said, we’re having rabbit stew.’

‘Dad was joking, but we could shoot some rabbits or birds at Palmer River, if you don’t want steak,’ my brother said.

The parrot glared at Rick. ‘What?’

‘You did it again!’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

 *Feature Painting: Mustering Cattle © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014

[Curtin Springs, 100 km east of Uluru, still operates as a cattle station. Its owners, the Severin family, have been running the station since 1956.]

***

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle.

Check it out, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

T-Team Series–Walpa Gorge

The T-Team with Mr B (18)

Without a Certain Person

 [The last few weeks I have been revisiting our adventures with Mr. B. This time without a certain person, the T-Team explore Walpa Gorge…]

At the mouth of Walpa Gorge, Kata Tjuta, we dumped our baggage under a tree, and then advanced up and into the gorge. The heat and flies evaporated as the dank shadows of the gorge’s walls towered over us. I was sure the floor of this gully had never been touched by direct sunlight. We tramped up the narrow path, our voices echoed in the cold air, and our sight adjusted to the blue-grey shade between the boulders.

*[Photo 1: At the entrance to Walpa Gorge © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

We rested where the path vanished into a jumble of rounded rocks, large wrinkled marbles wedged in the narrowing crack of the gully. I gazed back over the plain. The red ochre cliffs of Walpa Gorge framed the pastel strips of pink, blue and lemon-yellow of the land. I snapped a shot.

‘Ah, don’t know if it’ll work out, dear. Too much contrast. You’ll either get the cliffs, or the plain, you won’t get both,’ Dad said.

He was right. When my photos were developed, I’d captured some of the colour on the Walpa Gorge walls, but the land below was invisible, all washed out. One has to be there, in the flesh, and see with one’s own eyes, the true beauty of The Olgas and Walpa Gorge.

*[Photo 2: Walls of Walpa © L.M. Kling 2013]

We negotiated the boulders lodged like marbles in this gully. We struggled up slippery slopes and strained up steep inclines. We paused part way up and admired grandeur of the gorge. The walls glowed a russet red and the golden plains shimmered in the bright midday sun.

‘Come on, not far to go now,’ Dad said. ‘We’ll have lunch when we get there.’

We struggled onwards and upwards. Lichen-covered boulders threatened to thwart our endeavours. But we worked together to over-come the conglomerate of obstacles to finally reach the top-end of the gorge.

[Photo 3: Boulders in the gorge © L.M. Kling 2013]

Over the lip, the view of Kata Tjuta reminded me of an alien landscape as if we’d been transported to another world. Massive boulders and bulbous granite mountains jutted up from the valley. I took photos, but my simple camera could not do justice in reflecting reality of what my eyes could see. We sat on the rocks, and with the breeze cooling our bodies, we savoured the view and a simple lunch of scroggin, a mix of nuts, dried fruit and chocolate.

*[Photo 4: Another alien landscape; view over Windy gorge © L.M. Kling 2013]

After taking several long gulps of water from his canteen, Dad rose, adjusted his pack and said, ‘Okay, time to get back. Mr B will be wondering where we’ve got to.’

Richard, Matt and I stood up and stretched. Then we followed Dad down the narrow, obstacle-ridden gorge.

‘Now, don’t go falling on your bottom, Lee-Anne,’ Dad said.

‘I won’t.’ I was sure I’d be fine; the hike down would surely be easier than hiking up. Not so. A muddy patch greased with moss, caught the heel of my boot. I skidded, slipped and thudded onto my rear.

‘I told you, be careful,’ Dad said.

I stood up and brushed the mud off my bottom. ‘I’m fine.’

Then I trailed after Richard and Matt. No need to have them giggling behind me. I thanked God for small mercies that Mr B wasn’t with us. Imagine what he’d say about my messy backside. I was amazed at how smoothly the whole venture up Walpa Gorge had gone.

*[Photo 5: View from Walpa back over the plain © L.M. Kling 2013]

When we caught up to Dad who was having a rest, Dad whispered to Richard and me, ‘Imagine what Mr B would’ve planned for this gorge.’

‘I’d hate to think,’ I said.

‘Probably some sort of café, I reckon,’ said Richard.

‘Hey, Richard,’ Matt called from a few metres up the side of Walpa’s wall, ‘let’s explore this cave.’ He scrambled up the knobbly side to the cave as if he were a spider.

Richard climbed up to join Matt. They perched at the mouth of the cave and I snapped a shot of them looking out.

‘What’s in there?’ I yelled.

‘Nothing much,’ Richard replied.

‘It’s just a cave,’ Matt said.

‘No art work? No carvings?’

‘Nup.’

‘Must be something,’ I muttered and began mounting the wall to the cave.

‘Careful,’ Dad warned.

The boys edged out of the cave and made their way down back to us on the valley floor.

I continued climbing.

‘You too, Lee-Anne,’ Dad said.

‘Oh, alright!’ I sighed and ambled down to Dad at the base of the gully.

We walked a little further down. I spotted a cave some way up the wall but not as far up as Matt and Richard’s cave. Dad had marched far ahead, so this was my opportunity. Thrusting my camera into Richard’s hands, I crawled up to the cave. The conglomeration of stones melted together allowed me to grasp each foothold and handhold as if the climb were made for me. I then squeezed into the cavity shaped like a slot in a letter box.

*[Photo 6: The Cave © R.M Trudinger 1977]

I examined this small cavity. Richard was right. The recess offered nothing in the way of adventure or excitement. Just another hole in Walpa’s wall. I looked down and spotted a boulder of similar size and shape to the cave. I called out to Richard. ‘Hey, look, there’s the rock that popped out of the cave.’

‘What?’ Richard raised the camera and then clicked one shot. ‘I reckon I got a good one,’ he said. The shot he took featured my legs. My lily-white legs.

With our triumphant return, we entered our base for the day and milled around there. Dad raised his eyes and gazed around the landscape. ‘Hmm, I wonder where Mr B got to?’

Richard shrugged. ‘Beats me.’

‘Ah, well, let’s do some painting, then,’ Dad said.

Dad and Matt set up an impromptu outdoor studio and began painting while waiting for Mr B’s inevitable return. Dad arranged his water-colour paints, secured his paper to a board using masking tape, and then, contemplating the view, the new paper and paints, he folded his hands on his tummy, bowed his head and was soon snoring the flies away from his lips.

 *[Photo 7: Dreaming Mr B’s dream of the future: Wide Road to Walpa © L.M. Kling 2013]

Matt held up his paint brush. ‘What do I do?’

‘I’ll help,’ I said. I picked out a thicker brush, and then most of my afternoon was spent helping Matt paint.

Mr B strolled down the track. He tip-toed up to Dad, head still bent in the art of sleeping.

‘Boo!’ Mr B said.

Dad woke with a start. ‘Who? What? Oh, it’s you.’

‘I found the perfect campsite,’ Mr B announced. ‘No problems with neighbours with this one.’

‘Did you get the flour?’ Dad asked.

Mr B raised his eyes to the sky. ‘Who do you think I am?’

‘Did you?’

‘Of course, ol’ chap. But I dare say, I expect something extraordinary with that flour I went the extra miles, on top of all the travelling I did to find us a better site. Understand?’

‘You haven’t tasted my damper,’ Dad said. ‘And besides, we’ll be feasting on the Bread of Life.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Devotion,’ I piped up. ‘God’s Word.’

‘It is Sunday, after all,’ Dad said.

*[Photo 8: Kata Tjuta sunset © C.D. Trudinger) 1981]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated with photos 2018

*Feature Photo: Water at Walpa © L. M. Kling 2013

***

Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel with the T-Team Adventures in Australia?

Click on the link to my book in Amazon and Kindle:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…

100-Word Challenge–Bathsheba

 

[Driving around Adelaide these days, I see many classic cars. Brings back memories of our family cars from my childhood…]

Bathsheba

After 50 years, I have discovered the significance of our Holden FC’s name.

My dad was called David. In the Bible, there’s a King David who has an illicit affair with a woman he spies in a bath on a roof top. Her name, Bathsheba. Bath-she-ba; an apt name considering
the circumstances of their meeting.

Did Mum think that when Dad bought this car, this silver-pointed beauty was his “mistress’?

Similarities: Both Davids were master of their realms. Both Bathshebas, not new, used, yet beautiful. And both Bathshebas became parked in their David’s palace, in a harem, their love
shared.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; updated 2022

Feature Photo: Bathsheba in our Backyard © L.M. Kling nee Trudinger) 1969

 

 

***

Catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and the mischief
and mayhem he generates. Click on the links below…

 

The Lost World of the Wends

 

 

Discover how it all started…

The Hitch-hiker

And how it continued in…

Mission of the Unwilling

EPSON scanner image

T-Team Series–Corrugations Camping, and Indulkana

T-Team with Mr. B (6)

[The last few months I have revisited The T-Team with Mr. B: Central Australian Safari 1977 which is a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981. In preparation for its release later this year, I will be sharing posts of this adventure.

Here’s how it all began…]

 1977, August, mid-winter and I was excited. Dad had never taken me camping. Then, when I turned 14, he decided to take the risk and allowed me to join the T-Team on a Central Australian safari. Dad’s friend Mr. Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I had gathered from Dad’s reluctance to invite me on previous adventures out bush, that he had some reservations how I would cope…

In this episode, Mr. B and Dad have a disagreement about lunch…]

Fruitless Foray

Again, we raced at 50 miles per hour along the highway boldly going where too many trucks had gone before. The graded road was a sea of corrugations. As we travelled along the road at high speed, our Land Rover juddered over the sand waves. Dad was on a mission to reach Ernabella and not even corrugations on the unsurfaced road were going to get in his way.

[Photo 1: Road Train at dawn © L.M. Kling 2013]

We paused at Indulkana, an Indigenous settlement, where we topped up the tank with petrol from one of the Gerry cans.

‘Only fifty miles or so to go to Ernabella,’ replied Dad with a sniff. He could smell his Holy Grail, and he was bent on reaching his destination. ‘Pity, there’s a school here I’d’ve liked to visit. Ah, well!’

Mr. B spread out the map on the bonnet of the Rover. He adjusted his glasses on his nose and then pointed at Indulkana. ‘Are you sure it’s only fifty miles, David?’

Dad cleared his throat and then glanced at the map. ‘Er, um, I think so.’

‘It looks a damn lot further to me. Are you sure we’ll get there? I mean to say, it’s past one o’clock and we still have to have lunch.’

‘We’ll eat when we get there.’

‘Really?’ Mr. B gazed at the fibro houses scattered like abandoned blocks in the red landscape. ‘Damn! No place to shop in this shanty town.’

I gazed at the mirage shimmering, reflecting the khaki bushes on the horizon of ochre. This tiny Indigenous settlement seemed more heat-affected and miserable than Oodnadatta. A dingo skulked across the road in search of shade. The town seemed empty—except for the flies.

[Photo 2: A future (to 1977) visit to the school at Indulkana © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

I swished several of the pests from my eyes and searched for a toilet block. We had stopped, so I considered it timely to make a comfort stop. ‘Where’s the loo?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know,’ Dad said.

As far as we could see, public toilets didn’t exist in Indulkana.

A kangaroo hopped through the spinifex. Rick grabbed his rifle and aimed.

‘Hoy!’ Dad said. ‘Stop! You can’t be shooting so close to the town.’

Rick lowered his gun.

‘I say,’ Mr. B said. ‘Why don’t we go down the road a bit. We can find a few accommodating bushes for our business and the boys can do a spot of shooting. Besides, we need a break and some lunch.’

Dad sighed. ‘Very well, then.’

We piled back into the Rover and trundled several miles down the road where some trees and bushes were clumped close to the road. We all made use of the improvised “bush” facilities. Then Dad pulled out the tucker box and made a simple lunch of peanut butter sandwiches.

[Photo 3: Tucking into some lunch. Rick always did like his food. © C.D. Trudinger circa 1986]

‘Do you want to have a go shooting?’ Rick asked me.

‘Okay,’ I replied.

My brother handed me the .22 rifle and we walked into the scrub.

Dad called after us. ‘Shoot away from the Rover, we don’t want anyone getting hurt.’

‘What do I shoot?’ I asked Rick.

‘Rabbits. Kangaroos. Birds.’

I looked at the lemon-coloured grasses dotting the red sands. ‘Where are they?’

Rick shrugged.

Matt aimed his rifle at a stump of a mulga tree. A galah had settled there. But not for long. Matt pulled the trigger and at the sound of the bullet hitting the sand, the bird fluttered into the air.

Some white cockatoos decorated the skeleton of a dead tree. I aimed and pulled the trigger. ‘Bang!’ The butt hit my shoulder and knocked me to the ground. ‘Ouch!’ I cried.

The flock of parrots squawked and scattered.

‘I wasn’t expecting that to happen,’ I said rubbing my bottom.

Rick grabbed the rifle off me. ‘Watch where you point that thing.’

‘Oh, sorry.’

Rick and Matt stalked further into the scrub in search of more prey. I was glad my hunting time was over as it was not as much fun as I thought it would be. At least no one was hurt.

[Photo 4: The Central Australian terrain. But where’s the game? © C.D. Trudinger circa 1986]

The break and the lads’ fruitless hunting foray caused the night to catch up with us. After a couple more hours of driving, we camped near Mimili. A hill close by served as adventure for us young ones in this otherwise flat desert. I climbed the small rise and explored, while the boys went shooting as usual. The hill was little more than an outcrop of rocks and I imagined, something of a smaller version of Uluru. From the top, I scanned the terrain. The setting sun’s rays caused the grasses in the plain to sparkle like gold glitter and a cool breeze hinted at the freezing night ahead. I climbed down from my vantage point and ambled back to camp. As darkness descended upon us and stars flooded the night sky, the boys returned empty-handed, except for their rifles.

While Dad stirred a billy can of stew, Mr. B warmed his idle hands by the fire, his mouth busy whining at the prospect of sleeping on a bed of stones.

Dad tapped the wooden spoon on the edge of the billy can and said, ‘We are camping in the desert, aboriginal style. What we do is make up one fire for cooking, and then have our individual fires.’

[Photo 5: Camping near mini-Uluru © C.D. Trudinger circa 1986]

So, we did in the nights to follow. Although we all had blow-up mattresses and cotton sleeping bags, we still hunted for the softer ground, and prepared it for the bedding by clearing the area of rocks. Each of us would scout around for sticks and logs in preparation for our personal fires. By bedtime, our fires were crackling away, and we only woke from our slumber to poke the coals to keep the small flame going. Still, I slept fully clothed, as the clear nights were freezing.

[Photo 6: Dreams of sleeping in the warmth and comfort on the river bed under kangaroo skin blankets © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

But did this arrangement satisfy Mr. B? Apparently not. Every night he complained of his unsatisfactory sleeping arrangements. And his back, oh, the pain in his back. Oh, for a decent bed and a warm night’s sleep. And oh, the pain, oh, the discomfort! And then, just as he sank into a deep slumber, dawn broke with Dad clattering around the campsite preparing breakfast once again.

‘Why do we have to get up so early?’ Mr. B would ask each morning.

‘It’s my mission to get…somewhere,’ Dad would reply.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Mini “Uluru” at sunset © C.D. Trudinger circa 1986

***

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Series–T-Team With Mr. B (2)

The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australian Safari 1977

The Beginning

Part 2

[The last few months I have revisited The T-Team with Mr. B: Central Australian Safari 1977 which is a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981. In preparation for its release later this year, I will be sharing posts of this adventure.

Here’s how it all began…]

 1977, August, mid-winter and I was excited. Dad had never taken me camping. Then, when I turned 14, he decided to take the risk and allowed me to join the T-Team on a Central Australian safari. Dad’s friend Mr. Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I had gathered from Dad’s reluctance to invite me on previous adventures out bush, that he had some reservations how I would cope…

But, in this episode, by the time we reached our first campsite, it became clear, I was not the one that Dad should be concerned about.

On Our Way 

We travelled past the Flinders Ranges and reached Lyndhurst. The hired Land Rover so far served us well. Dad and Mr. B enjoyed the luxury of the front cabin, while we younger members of the T-Team in the rear suffered the fate of sardines. Despite the cramped conditions, I managed to have a game of chess with Matt and won.

*[Photo 1: 30 years later…Road through Flinders Ranges © L.M. Kling 2007]

We camped in the scrub near Lyndhurst where we collected firewood and then Mr. B insisted on helping Dad light the fire.

‘I’m an expert fire-maker.’ Mr B lit a match and held the flame to the grass. ‘Small things first.’

We watched as a puff of wind extinguished the feeble flame.

Mr. B lit another match and held it to the grass, then dropped it and shook his singed fingers. Then he bent down and blew at the sparks.

‘You might need some newspaper,’ Dad said.

‘No, no, that would be cheating,’ Mr. B snapped.

‘Yeah, well, we don’t want to be eating at midnight.’ Dad lit a wad of newspaper and chucked it into the nest of grass.

Then the two elders stooped to their knees and blew, encouraging the flame to take hold and prosper.

*[Photo 2: 28 years later my hubby had the knack of starting a campfire—even in the rain. Melrose © L.M. Kling 2005]

As the fire consumed the grass, then twigs and the small logs, Mr. B said, ‘I hope you don’t consider fuelling the fire with petrol.’

‘No, never,’ my dad replied. ‘Slow and steady, and just enough to cook. There’s no need to have a big bon fire.’

‘Oh? You mean, my friend we’re not going to have a big fire when we sleep? How may I ask are we going to keep warm?’

‘Like the Indigenous. They have their individual fires which they keep burning all night. Fires also keep the wild animals away.’

*[Photo 3: 41 years later, my hubby by the campfire in the Flinders Ranges, Mambray Creek. These days campfires must be contained in these metal half-barrels to prevent bushfires © L.M. Kling 2018]

‘Oh, I don’t know about that, David, sounds like a lot of bother,’ Mr. B remarked to Dad. ‘I don’t mind sleeping under the stars, but having to tend my own fire? I think my sleeping bag will keep me warm.’ He looked around at the ground covered in iron pebbles. ‘By the way, where are my sleeping quarters?’

Dad waved a hand at a small clearing a few metres from the cooking area. ‘Take your pick.’

Mr. B frowned. ‘But it’s all stony. I need some nice soft sand. This will not do.’

‘You’ll be on a tarpaulin and a blow-up mattress. You won’t feel the stones,’ Dad said.

‘I hope you’re right,’ Mr. B muttered. Then he called to Matt, ‘Boy? Go blow up ma mattress. Make ya-self useful.’

*[Photo 4: Gibber Plains still the same 36 years later © L.M. Kling 2013]

So, while Matt, Rick and I sorted out the bedding, Dad cooked for us chops and sausages on the fire. We ate the sausages with bread and lashings of butter.

Night, and with it a chill. One by one we pulled on our jumpers and warmed our frozen hands by the fire. Dad shared his plans: Ernabella and the Musgrave Ranges where we’d climb Mount Woodroffe, then Uluru and Kata Tjuta, then Alice Springs, MacDonnell Ranges, Hermannsburg, and an adventure way out West to climb Mount Liebig.

Dad rubbed his hands together and grinned. ‘That’s a total of 2374 miles.’

‘And you expect us to do all that in less than three weeks?’ Mr. B said.

‘Oh, yes, but we need to get to bed and have a good night’s sleep, so we can make an early start,’ Dad replied, then pursed his lips.

Mr. B grunted and then gave some good advice which has stuck with me. ‘Whenever we travelled, wherever we stayed, our hotel rooms, you see, when we packed up, we’d go back into the room and check it over including getting on our hands and knees and look under the bed for anything left behind.’

The B’s must be rich if they can stay in hotels and motels whenever they go on holiday, I thought.

I gazed up at the blanket of stars dipped in the froth of the Milky Way that covered the sky and shivered in my cotton sleeping bag. My feet froze—even with woolly socks on. I did as Dad advised and like the Indigenous owners of this country, I made a small personal fire. One side of me warmed while the other side remained icy cold. And my toes ached with cold. On that cold and frozen-toe night, sleep eluded me.

Mr. B groaned. ‘I dare say, David, I can feel the stones. I can feel the stones right through my mattress. I thought you said I wouldn’t old chap.’

Dad sighed.

Rick grunted.

Matt buried himself in his sleeping bag and wriggled like a worm.

‘I say, David. David?’

Too frozen in our bags to respond, we ignored Mr. B who challenged our endeavours to sleep.

‘David? Damned how one is meant to sleep on this infernal rocky ground,’ Mr. B muttered one last time before he tossed and turned on the mattress making it squeak and produce other rude noises as it consorted with the tarpaulin beneath.

My first night camping…

***

*[Photo 5 and Feature: Sunset in the Flinders Ranges © L.M. Kling 2001]

I recalled the motto I’d written in my travel diary: Jesus is with me always. And I pondered on the sixth member of T-Team who would protect and guide us on our journey into perhaps one of the most isolated parts of the world. Watching my personal fire spark and crackle, I remembered Jesus’ promise: ‘…and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20b

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

***

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

Out of Time (14.1)

[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…Now, being a project of sorts, over the summer holidays, I have pieced together the story from beginning to end, and then revised it. A main thread has evolved. Something to do with murder and Letitia’s unfortunate involvement in it. I have worked on developing some of the other characters. In this episode (14.1), we get to see inside the younger stolen boy’s (Liam’s) head.]

Fast Forward

10 Days before Murder

Saturday 28th of January 1967

Barbeque Battles

Liam

Liam remembered sourly the call that changed everything. One minute the fourteen-year-old was blissfully ignorant; aware only that his father was almost no-so-unhappily widowed, that his mum had returned but with that smelly character Boris, and two ratty kids, that there is no God and when he died, that was it, no accountability. The next minute, the phone rang and his whole world view was cracked. That minute there was a Jemima on the other end of the line demanding to speak to his father. It was then as this intruder insisted, demanded and hollered on the line, that Liam began to change his mind about God. Liam remembered considering, “How dare this lady invade my space! There has to be a God and my parents have to be accountable to him! This is too much! I can’t handle any more! What right had she to interrupt my life?!”

Liam clutched the telephone receiver in one hand and fended off Jemima’s advances with firm “Nos” and lies that Dad was not home at present. He could hear the rising beat of his heart, punctuating Jemima’s whiney protests. Clueless he was, how to combat this woman.

‘What do you mean he is not home?’ Jemima persisted.

‘He’s just not,’ Liam fibbed. He watched his Dad slink behind him, his old clothes high on manure.

‘But he said he would be home,’ she said.

‘Well, he’s not.’ He fanned the pungent passageway air. ‘Poor, Dad, you stink!’

‘Ha! Did I just hear you mention your dad in conversation?’

‘No.’

‘I did,’ Jemima, now a smug Jemima, ‘you said to him that he stinks.’

‘I never.’

‘You did.’

‘No!’

‘Look, Liam, dear, it is very important that I speak to him. He said, he promised that he would be home. Your father, he keeps his promises. He’s a man of his word,’ she spoke in a softly and evenly.

‘Yeah, right!’ Liam remarked cynically. ‘Like he promised us a holiday in Tasmania but all we got was mum going off to Antarctica and getting herself…’ He paused unsure whether he should be passing on classified information. After all, his mum had returned, wearing kaftan and beads in her hair, in possession of a new Kombi Van, and unscathed. Liam had been delighted to acquire a new cool van, but not so pleased to have his mother back. Of course, the novelty of kaftaned mother and new Kombi wore off when the van broke down and had to be towed away for repairs. S

Still, Liam couldn’t complain. Just before the recent, yet brief escape up north to Alice Springs, his dad had bought a new Holden Premier. Liam was pleased with his art of persuasion as he had convinced his father to purchase this icon of motoring history. Well, so a recent Wheels magazine had recommended.

‘I know! I know!’ Jemima cut in. ‘He told me all about it. Isn’t it obvious why she did that?’

‘Nup?’ Liam bit his nail. Jemima’s argument was advancing into areas that were uncertain. ‘She won a prize, a competition.’

‘Who are you talking to?’ Dad’s voice boomed in the background.

Liam had to think quickly, but Max who was passing by was nimbler. ‘A girlfriend. Ha! Ha! Liam has a girlfriend. What a loser!’

Liam covered the mouthpiece. ‘Yeah! So?’.

Meanwhile the Jemima intruder had come to her own conclusions. ‘He is there! You liar! Put him on! Now!’

Liam had had enough. ‘No!’ he retorted. ‘Go away, you freak!’ with that he slammed the receiver down. He then picked up the phone and hurled it towards the bookcase at the end of the room. A few unfortunate ornaments, namely Max’s prized “Lord of the Rings” dragon figurines crashed to the floor.

‘Oi! What do you fink you’re doing? You could’a smashed the tele,’ Tails yelled.

Max emerged from preening himself in the bathroom. His face turned red, and he pulled at his hair. ‘My dragon! You killed my dragon! How could you do that?’ He cradled the broken bits of ceramic dragon in his hands. ‘They are so hard to get in 1967.’ Then, with teeth bared, he cried, ‘Why, I’ll get you!’ With one swift move, he lunged onto his younger brother and began to throttle him.

‘Oi! Oi! Stop that you boys!’ Dad tore the fighting youths apart. ‘Right, that’s it! no tele or suppa tonight for you lads! Go to your rooms! Bof ov you! Right! I’m pulling out the plug to the tele, now!’ Tails marched both protesting Liam and Max to their rooms with as much strength as his fatherly muscles could muster.

Meanwhile the phone chirped, unheeded and ignored.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature painting: Kombi from the Hitch-hiker © L.M. Kling 2015

***

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Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

K-Team Tassie Adventures–Tahune Airwalk

[Our Summer, here in Australia has continued to be filled with drama. This whole Covid-thing is like a bad relationship in which we are trapped. Pretty disturbing when game-set-and match of Dokevich verses Australian government is more entertaining news than the actual tennis. Let’s just say, as an Australian, I feel as if I’m stuck in the middle of the dystopian universe of Huxley’s Brave New World. So, where else can one escape, but virtually from all this mass psychosis to memories of Tahune Airwalk, in Southern Tasmania. Ah those were the days…]                                

Tree-Top Highlights

The K-men were up by 7am and already packing for the Tahune Tree-Top walk—a highlight all by itself as far as I was concerned. Usually, as the woman, I’m the one doing all that while the men lounge around looking stressed at the mere fact that they have to get up so early. But not this day. Brother P1 packed the lunches. My husband packed the bags. And Cousin P2 washed the dishes. All while I sat on the 3-seater-lounge and relaxed. Bonus!

[Photo 1: Memories of 2009 visit with K-Team, the Younger (K-T-Y). Airwalk through the trees © L.M. Kling 2009]

Besides, I felt tired and my throat itched. Not a good sign.

The road down south through the Huon Valley made me sleepy. Once past Geeveston, the speed limit slowed to a leisurely 60 kilometres per hour.

[Photo 2: Yes, I’d been to the Huon Valley before in 1981. Apple picking in Judbury. View of the Great Western Wilderness from the Huon River near Judbury © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]
[Photo 3: Coffee Break on banks of Huon River with K-Team the Even younger and my mum in 1995 © L.M. Kling 1995]

‘I wonder why the speed’s so low,’ P1 remarked.

‘Must’ve had an accident,’ I said.

‘Yeah, they have one accident and they push for the speed to be reduced.’

I yawned. ‘Yep.’

As the way to Tahune became slower and wound around the Temperate Forest terrain, rain spattered on the windscreen and my eyes drooped and I fell asleep. After all, this was my third visit to the Tahune Air Walk.

[Photo 4: A sunny day in 2009—Tributary of the Huon in Tahune Rainforest © L.M. Kling 2009]

My husband’s voice woke me up. ‘We’ve come at a good time. They’re celebrating 100 years of National parks in Tasmania and we get to go into all the national parks for free during the Tasmanian school holidays.’

‘Well, your mum timed the planning of the trip very well,’ I replied as we rolled into the visitors’ carpark. ‘Good timing too, it’s 10.30am and the park opened at 10am.’

[Photo 5: Speaking of mums, visit to Tahune Treetop Walk with my mum in 2013. Also rainy that day. Glad we had our ponchos © L.M. Kling 2013]

Armed with our rain jackets, layers of clothing and boots for hiking, we trooped to the Information Centre and Souvenir Shop to pay for access to the Air Walk. The National Park Pass only covers entry to National parks, not the Tahune Air Walk which costs $28 per adult. The park manager explained that the fee includes the tree-top walkways, a counter-lever (an over-hanging construction) and two swinging bridges.

Now one thing one must know about the K-Team, they have to get their money’s worth. And true to form, that day, we did indeed receive value for our money.

[Photo 6: Value For Money and Money from the Counter-Lever © L.M. Kling 2016]

Right from the start, as we stepped out the centre door, the rain eased. First point of interest, how high the river rose during the floods in July. My husband pointed at the measuring post where the mark indicated the waters rose two metres above the height of the bridge. Then for the next twenty minutes, he repeated, ‘Two metres above the bridge, wow, that’s a flood.’

[Photo 7: Height of the flood © L.M. Kling 2016]

We trekked the paths of Tahune through the temperate rainforest, above the forest, and along the rushing tea-stained waters of the Huon.

[Photo 8: Tea-Stained Waters of the Huon© L.M. Kling 2016]

‘How come the water’s brown?’ P1 asked.

‘The highland button-grass colours the water,’ Hubby explained.

‘So there’s nothing wrong with the toilets back at the visitors’ centre,’ I said.

P1 nodded. ‘I wondered about that.’

P2 laughed.

[Photo 9: Temperate Rainforest from below© L.M. Kling 2016]

We hiked for two hours fascinated by the abundance and variety of plant-life in the forest. We pointed out the Huon pine tree, the river lapping at its roots.

‘The oldest Huon Pine is said to have lived for three thousand years,’ Hubby said. ‘This tree’s only a few hundred years old, so young in comparison. They grow only one millimetre in width a year.’

[Photo 10: Huon Pine By the River © L.M. Kling 2016]

Also in the forest we saw, King Billy Pines, Myrtle, Sassafras and Blackwood trees as well as a range of ferns and native laurel.

We viewed the forest from above on the air walk, a sturdy construction made of metal. We stepped, single-file along the counter-lever to obtain the best view of the meeting of two rivers. A man lingered behind. ‘I’m not going on that thing,’ he said, ‘It’s not safe.’

[Photo 11: Forest from Above © L.M. Kling 2016]

Two children pushed past us and raced to the end of the counter-lever. The metal clanged as they raced back while tussling with each other.

Their mother raised her hands and snapped, ‘Careful!’

[Photo 12: The Counter-lever © L.M. Kling 2016]

P1 peered up at the magnificent Stringy Bark eucalyptus tree towering above us, then he lifted his camera and snapped a shot. ‘I reckon that’s the tree I saw from the other side of the river,’ he said.

On solid earth again, the girth and height of another stringy bark tree dwarfed us. A deck had been constructed around the base of that tree so we could stand in front of it and have our photo taken without damaging the roots.

[Photo 13: How big is that Stringy Bark? © L.M. Kling 2016]

We lunched in a picnic hut near a clearing. My husband made a friend of a Currawong bird. As this black bird studied our food with its bright yellow eyes, he said, ‘It’s like our crow in South Australia, but a different species.’

I filmed Hubby hand-feeding the bird. ‘Look, a new friend for you,’ I remarked.

[Photo 14: More Rainforest © L.M. Kling 2016]

Once we’d packed up, P1 announced, ‘Right, now for the swinging bridges.’

We trekked about 45 minutes to the bridges. Seemed to take forever. A boy and girl in their tweens, jogged past us.

Finally, we reached the bridge and began to cross. On the other side the kids we’d seen jogging sat on a bench the other side licking ice-cream. When we reached the other side, they raced off, jogging again. Where do they get the energy?

[Photo 15: Swing Bridge © L.M. Kling 2016]

Checked the lookout where the Picton and Huon rivers meet. Then crossed the second swinging bridge. Husband rocked the bridge, but it didn’t worry me. Not good for taking photos, though.

[Photo 16: Where the Rivers Meet down below © L.M. Kling 2016]

He then stomped up to me. ‘Look, no hands.’

Well, good for him. ‘I need to hold on.’

As we completed our four-hour walk the rain plummeted to the silty path. The K-Team’s mission had succeeded. The Tahune Air Walk—well worth the cost and the effort. And an added blessing, my threatening head-cold had taken a hike and been lost in the forest of the Tahune.

[Photo 17: Calmer Waters, Huon River © L.M. Kling 2016]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2020; 2022

Feature Photo: View Where the Rivers Meet. Taken from the Tahune Air Walk © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016

***

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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

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And escape in time and space to the Centre of Australia 1981…

T-Team (the younger) Series–Chambers Gorge

The Road-Trip of No Destination

[Watched the first two of the Mad Max series, lately. Memories of the younger of the T-Team (my brother and me with a couple of friends) surfaced. We piled into my brother’s Chrysler Charger or whatever, and with roughin’ it on our minds, we travel up north of Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges; our sights set on Chambers Gorge…]

Back in the mid-1980’s my brother rarely used a map, not a map I could see. The Adelaide Street Directory, all faded and lying on the back seat under the stiff-from-salt-beach towels, doesn’t cover way-out country areas such as the Flinders Ranges.

[Photo 1: A street directory much like this one, courtesy of L.M. Kling]

Every Easter, commencing Maundy Thursday, we’d pile into my brother’s latest Chrysler charger or whatever, and roll along to the car stereo-cassette player blasting out local South Australian band Red Gum. Up Port Wakefield Road we’d go, and if we were fortunate enough not the break down there, as one tends to do on Port Wakefield Road, we’d sally on forth to the Flinders Ranges, about four hundred kilometres north of Adelaide.

[Photo 2: Classic view of the Flinders Ranges from the highway © L.M. Kling 1999]

We’d start our journey late, usually after nine at night, as some of my brother’s friends had work and had to eat dinner, then finally pack before they were ready to leave.

[Photo 3: We probably took the trip in my brother’s red Chrysler Charger © courtesy of L.M. Kling]

One time, my brother and I took friends Barney and Doris (not their real names) on a planned trip to Chambers Gorge, situated in the north-eastern part of the Flinders Ranges. We must’ve left closer to midnight, and my brother and Barney shared the driving through the night. Dirt roads at that time, caused the driving to slow and by the time we neared our destination in the Flinders, the watery blue sky of dawn crept over low hills in the east. In the back seat, Doris and I rested our heads on our bags and slept, while my brother willed himself to keep awake rocking to British band, Dire Straits. There was a short stop as he then, too weary, swapped with Barney.

[Photo 4: Sunrise in the Flinders Ranges © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

Doris and I kept on sleeping.

Then…Bang! The car skidded to a halt.

We spilled out of the car. I rubbed my eyes and looked around. The sun peeped over the horizon of flat desert plains, mountains to the west, jutted like pimples on the edge, still dark, untouched by the sun.

My brother checked the front of the car. ‘It’s all right, no damage. The bull bar took the brunt.’

Barney sauntered down the road, and then returned to us. ‘We hit a roo,’ he said.

‘So, we’ll have roo for breakfast?’ I asked, half-joking.

‘Why not? I’m hungry,’ Barney replied.

‘You can cook it, then,’ my brother said.

‘Okay.’

[Photo 5: Kangaroos in Onkaparinga Gorge; the descendants of ones that avoided having unhappy encounters with cars © L.M. Kling 2019]

So as the sun rose over the distant mountains capping the peaks in pink, we roasted the skinned roo-roadkill over the campfire. While we waited for the meat to cook, Barney swilled his breakfast beverage of choice—beer. My brother, a teetotaller and body builder, drank his concoction of protein powder mixed with water and raw egg. Doris and I boiled a billy of water and then brewed ourselves a cup of instant coffee and condensed milk.

[Photo 6: Campfire © L.M. Kling 1986]

Doris clutched her metal mug, then sipped her coffee and said, ‘Not sure about the kangaroo for breakfast.’

‘It’ll be alright,’ I said. ‘I’ve had kangaroo—not so bad. Although, not sure about eating after the way Barney’s cooked it. We fried it once like that on our Central Australian trip, and I had a terrible tummy ache and bad gas. Smelt like rotten eggs. My brother and his cousin had competitions rating the potency of their gas. They thought it was hilarious, but the stink was awful.’

Doris grimaced and put down her coffee mug. ‘I don’t want to know.’

‘You won’t have any choice when we’re stuck in the car driving to Chambers Gorge.’

‘Speaking of Chambers Gorge, where is it from here?’

‘Haven’t a clue. I guess my brother will just keep on driving until we see a sign to Chambers Gorge.’

‘Oh.’

Barney called, ‘Roo’s ready.’

Doris and I trooped over to the campfire and inspected Barney’s efforts. Barney waved away the smoke to reveal bone and sinew reduced to charcoal.

Doris screwed up her nose and said, ‘I’ll pass.’

‘Me too.’ I grimaced. ‘I don’t fancy the after-effects from that.’

‘Aw, bit over-cooked, but charcoal’s good for you,’ Barney said. He took a few bites and then frowned as he forced the hardened lumps of gristle down.

Barney then took the remnants of the roo behind a bush and gave the poor animal a good Christian burial in a shallow grave.

[Photo 7: Then onto Chambers Gorge © L.M. Kling 1985]

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2019; 2021

Photo: Lee-Anne on a Limb, Flinders Ranges © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 1984

***

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