T-Team Series (5)–Oodnadatta: The Ghan, Telegraph and History

On a Mission to Ernabella

Part 1

[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, as the T-Team reach Oodnadatta, transport up north for the early Australian pioneers is explained…]

Full Steam Ahead North

The first rays of sun peeped over the horizon. Dad attacked the pot of porridge, beating the oats and water into submission. Such a racket woke us. But, when we refused to rise, he stomped around the campsite. There was no choice but to get up and line up for breakfast.

Dad dumped the sloppy oats on our metal plates and then darted around the site as if still charged by hyperactivity from the night before.

*[Photo 1: Trying to wake up © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

‘With all the effort to rouse us, David, you’ve made the porridge more like oat soup than porridge.’ Mr. B had a sour expression on his face as he sipped his porridge. He finished a mouthful and added, ‘I dare say, ol’ chap, what’s all this running around?’

‘I want us to get to Ernabella today,’ Dad said.

‘Can’t we just take it easy? I’m still adjusting to the inferior sleeping arrangements.’ Mr. B massaged his back as if emphasising the pains that he endured.

‘We only have two and a half weeks and a full schedule,’ Dad replied. ‘We have to keep moving if we want to fit everything in.’

‘I mean to say, when you invited us on this camp, I didn’t think it’d be a boot camp.’

Dad ignored Mr. B’s comment and continued to collect the plates and utensils on the tarpaulin.

With Dad’s urging, we packed up, piled into the Rover and then flew out onto the bumpy road by 7.20am. Back then in 1977, in that part of the outback of South Australia, all roads were unsealed, and just wide ruts in the red sand. Even the main highway, the Stuart Highway, was yet to be bituminised in South Australia.

*[Photo 2: Unsealed roads of the outback © M.E. Trudinger circa 1956]

As we approached Oodnadatta, Dad said, ‘I think we’ll get petrol here. It’s a long way still to Ernabella, and then when we go to Mt. Woodroffe, so we need supplies. We don’t know if we can get petrol at Ernabella or how much it’ll cost.’

We rolled into Oodnadatta, a town where its handful of houses and the hotel lined the main road.

Dad pointed at the trainline running parallel to the road. ‘See that railway track? That’s the Ghan Railway.’

‘Was that the train Mum took to go to college as a boarder in Adelaide?’ I asked.

‘That’s the one, although, there’s no train on it at present.’ Rick always had to correct me.

‘It looks ancient.’ I replied and then added the escape clause to avoid the shame of being wrong. ‘Sort of.’

‘Been there for almost 100 years.’ Dad said with authority. ‘The trains used to only go as far as Oodnadatta until 1929, when they extended the line to Alice Springs.’

*[Photo 3: Mum (3rd from left), her mother and sisters first trip on the Ghan © S.O. Gross 1939]

Matt pointed. ‘What are those stobie poles doing so far out bush?’

‘That’s the telegraph, ma boy,’ Mr. B said. ‘Before they had these poles and wires here, people in Australia could only communicate by post.’

‘When did that happen?’

‘Er, um…’ Dad said. ‘Just over a hundred years ago, I think.’

‘The telegraph started operating in 1972, and the railway track, known then as the Great Northern Railway, was opened in 1878, to be precise.’ Holding open the strip map and guide, Rick sniffed and continued reading. ‘It got called the Ghan later after the Afghan Cameleers who used to trek up north before the trainline was built.’

 ‘Trust Rick to have to be so exact.’ I rolled my eyes. ‘Pity we missed the 100th anniversary of the Ghan, or whatever it was called back then.’

*[Photo 4: Telegraph Station © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

Dad parked the Rover by the petrol pumps, near the hotel, where we climbed out of our vehicle’s comfort zone and into the heat. I blew my nose. Red dirt stained my handkerchief. I stretched my legs that ached from sitting cramped in the rear cabin of the Rover.

Dad pumped petrol into the Rover’s tank, and Jerry Cans. Dad wisely carried extra petrol in Jerry Cans to ensure that we didn’t run out of petrol; such were the long stretches of desolate land where towns and petrol stations are scarce.

*[Photo 5: The Ghan at a distance © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

Rick and I walked across the road. The few people we saw loitered in the shade. An emaciated dog sauntered out of the bushes.

‘I really feel like we’re out in the desert here,’ I said.

‘Yeah, the people look exhausted,’ Rick said.

Dad yelled, ‘We’re ready to go!’

‘Can’t we get a drink?’ Rick asked.

‘It’ll be dear, here,’ Dad said. ‘We have cordial.’

As Dad, Rick and I sipped cordial from our plastic cups, Mr. B and his son stepped out from the hotel. They each clutched a can of soft drink. They slurped their drinks with relish.

‘I finalised the bill,’ Mr. B said.

‘Thank you,’ Dad replied.

*[Photo 6 and Feature: Camel Train © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

***

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More than before?

Join the adventure with the T-Team, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Series–Gibber Plains

T-Team With Mr. B (4)

The Challenges

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…

In this episode, the stony plains of the desert, called Gibber Plains, posed their own problems from finding a comfort station (toilet) to comfortable sleeping arrangements…

Challenge Number 3: Where do you go when you have to go?

We travelled constantly for most of the day, stopping to stretch our cramped legs or go to the loo. The road was hot and dusty, and it was hell to sit in the back. I must add that dunnies were scarce in the desert and mostly a bush in the distance had to do. On such occasions, when a toilet stop was necessary, the boys took advantage of the opportunity to stretch their legs and do some shooting. The general rule was that shooting must be done in the opposite direction to avoid any rude shocks during someone’s quiet contemplation.

[Photo 1: Return from the bush loo © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

William Creek—Challenge Number 4: Finding a Campsite

Having taken the Oodnadatta Track, we rolled through William Creek with one and a half hours remaining until sunset.

‘It’ll be getting dark soon,’ Dad said, ‘we have to find a campsite.’

No easy task, I soon realized. Our heads swung left and right as we scanned the gibber plains for a clear patch of ground for camping. The land was barren except for stones; dots of umber that spanned in every direction to the horizon.

[Photo 2: Gibber Plains © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

‘We’ll camp near a creek,’ Dad said. ‘So that we have firewood.’

‘Surely we can camp in the creek,’ Mr. B said. ‘The sand is soft in the creek. I want a decent night’s sleep. I mean, the sky is clear, so I doubt we’ll get flooded out.’

‘The rain and floods could be hundreds of miles away and then come on us without warning.’

‘I doubt it,’ Mr. B said. ‘I think we can take the risk.’

‘Where are these creeks?’ I asked.

‘You’ll see,’ Dad said. ‘The highway is crisscrossed with dry creeks. You see a row of trees, that’s where the creeks are.’

Sure enough, I saw them in the distance. ‘Hey, there’s a creek, we can camp there.’

Dad slowed the Rover down as we crossed the dry creek—as dry and rocky as the gibber plains surrounding it.

‘Not this one,’ Dad said. ‘Maybe the next one.’

For the next half an hour we passed a parade of promising treelines, only to be disappointed when we passed them. Some had a few stagnant puddles, but mostly these riverbeds were filled with rocks and not much sand. Dad explained that the water was underground, and the roots of the gum trees drank from a subterranean supply.

[Photo 3: Tree lines of promise as seen from above © L.M. Kling 2021]

The sun sank like an orange squashed at the edge of the world.

‘I guess we’ll just have to take what we can find,’ Dad mumbled as we approached a thick row of gum trees.

Dad drove the rover parallel to the trees, and when far enough from the highway, parked. We hopped out and all helped to clear the area of stones.

As the light faded, Dad raced around the site as if hyped up with coffee, lighting the fire, ordering me to chop the vegetables, getting Matt to fill billy cans with water, and then boiling the water. Dad then stirred the pot with much huffing and puffing as he cooked up the stew.

While Rick organized the bedding for the night, Mr. B scrambled down to the creek-bed to set up his own bedding. Half an hour later, a disappointed Mr. B reappeared complaining. ‘It’s too stony. How can a man get a good night’s sleep around here?’

‘Oh, no!’ my brother moaned. ‘A puncture!’

Matt with his rifle, hopped over to Rick. ‘You ready to go shooting?’

‘In a minute,’ Rick replied. ‘I’ll just fix the puncture while there’s still some light.’

[Photo 4 and feature: Desert sunset © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

By the time my brother had repaired the blow-up mattress, the land of stones was shrouded in dusk. However, nightfall did not stop Rick, Matt, and Mr. B from venturing out for some shooting again. I guess they had plenty of rocks to aim at.

I stood up to follow the shooting party.

Dad called out. ‘Lee-Anne, you stay here and stir the custard.’

‘Oh, but…’

‘Be thankful,’ Dad said. ‘This is the day the Lord made.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Desert Sunset © S.O. Gross circa 1950

***

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More than before?

Join the adventure with the T-Team, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Series–T-Team with Mr. B(3)

The Challenges–Part 1

[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 Lake Eyre, Dad faced a particular challenge with his camera…

Lake Eyre

Challenge Number 1: How to worship God in the desert?

The next day, warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, but no Central Australian safari can qualify as a safari without challenges—especially at the beginning as the crew adjusted to the conditions and different personalities.

Dad, of course, being the good Christian man that he was, and the day being Sunday, gathered us around the campfire. He sat on the tucker box and with his trusty ukulele, strummed and sang the chorus This is the Day.

[Photo 1: Dad and grandson playing ukuleles © L.M. Kling 2007]
[Video: And here they are…The ukulele players © L.M. Kling 2007]

We followed Dad’s lead, although my brother yawned every second line.

When we finished that particular song, Mr. B muttered, ‘I dare say, choruses get a bit repetitive, what about a good ol’ hymn?’

Dad looked at the stony ground and then up at Mr. B. ‘Er, um, did you bring the black hymnal?’

‘Er—no.’

‘Do you know any hymns off by heart?’

‘Well, um…’

‘So I guess we’ll be singing choruses, then.’

‘Hmm.’

Phew! I thought wiping my brow. I preferred to sing choruses.

Dad gave a brief devotion. I can’t recall the details but probably ran along the lines this day was a special day God had made and we should thank Him for it…even if this day held challenges for us.

*[Photo 2 and feature: sunrise, this is the day that the Lord has made © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Lake Eyre and challenge Number 2: How do you fix a camera?

We continued our journey, travelling north-north-west. Dazzling white in the distance, caught my attention.

‘What’s that?’ I shouted from the back cabin and pointed.

‘That’s lake Eyre?’ Dad said. ‘The southern tip of Lake Eyre.’

‘A lake? It looks awfully white for a lake,’ I said.

‘It’s a salt lake,’ Rick my brother explained. ‘No water in it. Just lots and lots of salt.’

‘Hmm, Daddy would like that,’ I laughed. ‘He likes loads of salt on his vegetables.’

‘Probably not that sort of salt,’ Rick snorted.

‘What do you mean? You said it was salt,’ I said. ‘Why call it salt if it’s not salt that you can put on your food?’

*[Photo 3: Salt lake from above © L.M. Kling 2021]

Mr. B interrupted our debate. ‘I dare say, old chap, can we get a bit closer so I can take a photo?’

‘Oh, but it’ll be nothing, I assure you,’ Dad said. ‘I want to get to William Creek before night falls.’

‘Look, my friend, I’ve never seen a salt lake before,’ Mr. B said. ‘Please. I need a break.’

‘Oh, alright.’

We lumbered up a track leading to Lake Eyre and then parked by the side of the road near a pan of cracked clay. In the distance the sea of white shimmered in the morning sun.

[Photo 4: Lake Eyre in the distance © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981]

Mr. B jumped out of the truck and trod over the clay surface. He stomped on it. He walked a few paces out towards the white horizon. A mirage made the lake appear to have water in it; water that floated above the salt.

‘I say, David,’ Mr. B said as he returned to the Land Rover, ‘you couldn’t drive to where the salt is, could you?’

‘No way,’ Dad said. ‘The clay pan looks solid, but it wouldn’t hold the truck. We could get bogged or worse, we could sink in it like quicksand. I wouldn’t even walk on it, if I were you.’

‘Oh, I see,’ Mr. B said and then pointed at Matt, Rick and me. ‘Now, kids, don’t you go walking on the clay pan. It’s dangerous, you understand?’

‘Yes, sir,’ my brother muttered.

Matt and I nodded.

I took a few paces up a small rise and then with my instamatic camera photographed the expanse of salt with our red land rover in the foreground. Mr. B also stalked up and down the track and clicked away with his camera.

*[Photo 5: Our trusty Land Rover parked near Lake Eyre © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Dad hovered behind Mr. B and aimed his lens at the salt-lake. He sighed and fiddled with the knobs and then the lens. He aimed again. ‘Oh, no!’ he cried and then retreated to the Rover to fiddle with his Konica SLR.

I’d taken my precious photo, so I jumped in the front seat with Dad.

Dad had pulled the lens off his camera body and was blowing into the cavity.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.

‘My camera’s wrecked.’

‘Surely not.’

‘It won’t take a photo. When I push the button, nothing happens.’

‘That’s no good.’

‘No, and it’s only two years old.’

Mr. B poked his head through the window. ‘What? You’re not going to take any photos, David?’

‘No, my camera’s not working,’ Dad said.

‘Well, you would get a camera that’s made in Japan,’ Mr. B said.

*[Photo 6: More Salt lake from the air taken with my Nikon D7000, a Japanese Camera. © L.M. Kling 2021]

Dad reattached the lens and wiped the body with a cloth from his camera bag. ‘I’m sure it’s not serious, I’ll get it working.’

(He did get the camera working, but upon return to Adelaide and developing the photos, discovered that the dodgy light-meter had caused most of the photos to be underexposed. Thank God for computers in the 21st Century and Paint Shop Pro!)

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Sunrise, this is the day that the Lord has made © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

***

Want more?

More than before?

Join the adventure with the T-Team, click on the link below:

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

***

Want more?

More than before?

Join the adventure with the T-Team, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Series–T-Team with Mr. B (1)

[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…]

Beginning With Mr. B–Adelaide

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…

Our trip began in the grey dawn in the foothills south of Adelaide, where we collected our companions, Mr. B, and his son Matt.

[Photo 1: Foothills of Adelaide, near where the T-Team picked up Mr. B © L.M. Kling 2017]

August, two weeks before the September school holidays, and Dad eased the truck, as he called the red hired Land Rover, to a stop on the slope. He yanked up the handbrake and sighed.

‘I hope it holds,’ he said.

‘Is this where Mr. Banks and Matt live?’ I asked. Mr. B, as we nicknamed him was Dad’s friend and Matt, a few years younger than me was his son. Only fair as my dad had the nickname of Mr. T.

A tall man, about Dad’s age, dressed R.M. Williams trousers, checked shirt, and polished hiking boots, bowled up the steep driveway to meet us.  ‘Come into our humble abode,’ this man, Mr. B said gesturing to his home; hardly humble, as inside, it was more like a 1960’s style Swiss Chalet set on the hillside with a vista of the Adelaide plains.

We admired the view, through a large window spanning the wall, a panorama of Adelaide, lights winking as the city woke up.

[Photo 2: Adelaide lights © L.M. Kling 2018]

‘Nice view!’ I said observing Mrs. B fussing around her husband, her hair perfectly coiffured, even at this time of the morning.

‘The advantages of being a bank manager,’ Mr. B sniffed, then waved at his eleven-year-old son, Matt. ‘Come on boy, can’t be late.’

‘Wow,’ I said to Dad, ‘the B’s must be rich to have such a large home with a view. We’d never be able to afford this on your teacher’s salary.’

‘Lee-Anne!’ Dad muttered. ‘Keep your comments to yourself. Don’t embarrass your hosts.’ Or me for that matter, he implied.

‘Sorry.’ I was always putting the proverbial foot in my mouth.

[Photo 3: Dad the teacher © courtesy of L.M. Kling (photographer unknown) circa 1960]

My brother Rick nudged me and whispered, ‘I wonder how this bank manager is going to cope on one of Dad’s camping trips.’

I shrugged. ‘Who knows?’ At fourteen, I did not consider too deeply how a man of class would cope with a camping trip minus all the luxuries a well-to-do city slicker like him would be used to. ‘I wonder how I’m going to manage. I mean to say, this is my first time camping in the bush.’

[Photo 4: One son of mine not impressed with camping © L.M. Kling 2005]

Matt slung his sports bag over his shoulder and after reluctantly hugging his mother and older sister who made a brief appearance, followed us out to the Land Rover.

‘I say, girl,’ Mr. B strode to the truck, ‘you take a photo of me. We must mark the occasion.’

‘I’m not sure, it’ll work out, Mr. B,’ I said. ‘It’s still pretty dark.’

‘Go on, girl, there’s light enough.’

As Dad packed Mr. B’s and Matt’s baggage into the back cabin, I lined Mr. B with the road and, with my nameless brand instamatic camera, snapped a photo.

‘It won’t work out, Lee,’ my brother said as he passed me. ‘It’s too dark.’

‘I know,’ I mumbled.

Mr. B appeared in my photo to be keeling over, such was the slope of his street. Little did I know how prophetic that photo would be of Mr. B’s adaption to the ways of the bush.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Photo: Adelaide in Sea mist © L.M. Kling 2020

***

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More than before?

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 

T-Team Next Generation–Drive to Woomera

Woomera

[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 past year, I have taken 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, with the trip coming to a close, the T-K Team continue their return to Adelaide heading for Woomera in the rain.]

Part 1

Cheeky Campers

So, out of toilet parole we escaped Coober Pedy, destination Woomera. I drove.

‘We’re running late,’ Anthony grumbled.

‘Ah, we’ll only arrive after dark,’ I replied. ‘Let’s get a cabin in the caravan park if we can.’

‘And, if we can’t?’

‘I don’t fancy camping in this weather. I guess we’ll sleep in the Ford, if we can’t.’

‘Hmmm. I doubt we’ll be able to get a cabin; we haven’t booked.’

‘We’ll take our chances.’

Drops of rain splattered our windscreen.

[Photo 1: Desert in the rain © L.M. Kling 2013]
[Photo 2: Approaching rain clouds © L.M. Kling 2013]

A large lake loomed to the left of the highway.

‘What lake is that?’ I asked.

Anthony read the sign. ‘Lake Hart.’

We pulled into the rest area come viewpoint to have a break and take some photos. The sun had neared the horizon casting the salty waters of Lake Hart in hues of pink and lemon.

[Photo 3: Lake Hart and some rain in the distance © L.M. Kling 2013]

Some free campers had built fires beside their campervans. One couple had pitched their tent underneath the canopy of the Information Kiosk.

Anthony glanced at the tent and then muttered, ‘Not sure if you’re allowed to do that.’

‘Perhaps a ranger will come along and tell them off.’

‘Nah, probably not.’

‘I guess we’ll never know. We better get a move on to Woomera to try our luck.’ I adjusted my hold of the camera. ‘After I take a few more shots while there’s a break in the clouds.’

[Photos 4&5: Sunset on Lake Hart © L.M. Kling 2013]

By the time we reached Woomera, the town was shrouded in darkness and rain fell steadily. Light still shone from the Caravan Park manager’s cabin. We entered through the unlocked sliding door and rang the bell. The manager appeared with a smile on their face.

No trouble getting a cabin. They explained that normally cabins were filled with workers from the nearby Roxby mine. But this night there were a few vacant cabins. We were fortunate.

Ah! Luxury! After all, we needed some TLC after no sleep the night before. The simple one room cabin with queen-sized bed, kitchen facilities, an en suite bathroom and toilet to the side, and television would do just fine.

I cooked pasta with canned spaghetti sauce, corn and chopped up spam. For dessert, canned pears and custard.

Anthony was in his element as he propped himself up on the bed and watched the football.

[Photo 6: Aussie rules footy © L.M. Kling 1986]

10pm, I woke with a start. Beside me Anthony, head bowed snored while the football commentators bantered. ‘You’re snoring!’ I mumbled. Anthony smacked his lips and sank down into the bedding.

I switched off the TV and snuggled into the warmth of the quilt and Anthony. With the sound of rain pattering on the roof, once more, we fell into a deep and satisfying sleep.

[Continued, last chapter next week…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature photo: Last rays of the sun on Lake Hart © L.M. Kling 2013

***

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T-Team the Younger–Chambers Crusaders

Flinders Trekking with the T-Team (4)

The Four Chambers Crusaders

[Last few days filled with cold weather and rain. But today the sun has come out just as in 1984, after the rain in the Flinders Ranges the sun emerged offering a beautiful day for the T-Team The Younger to explore Chambers Gorge…]

Doris sidled up to me and asked, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

I shrugged. ‘Sort of…maybe…um…not really.’

‘Come on, you can tell me. I bet you have.’

‘Nah, just a lot of bad luck.’

‘Oh, like what?’

‘Nothing…no one,’ I replied. ‘What about you? Are you and Barney…?’

‘Are you kidding? No way!’

That shut down the conversation in romance and we hiked along in silence. Up the gorge. Towards Mount Chambers.

[Photo 1: Hiking up Chambers Gorge © L.M. Kling 1984]

‘Cor!’ Barney exclaimed. ‘What’s all this rubbish? It’s like Chamber-Pot Gorge, not Chambers Gorge.’

‘I wish people would clean up after themselves,’ Doris remarked.

I gazed at my brother, Rick who was racing ahead. He seemed oblivious to the discarded soft drink cans scattered on the dry creek bed, plastic stranded in the sand, and toilet paper fluttering on prickle bushes.

‘Where are all the campers?’ I asked. But for all the litter, there seemed a distinct lack of people that morning as we trekked to Mount Chambers.

Barney sniggered, ‘I guess the rain the previous night had flushed them out of the gorge.’

‘Not literally,’ Doris added.

‘I remember our mate Mel saying how when he and his family camped in the Flinders, at the first sign of rain, they packed up their belongings and were gone.’ Barney clicked his fingers. ‘The rivers in outback Australia can flood, just like that.’

[Photo 2: Flooding of the Finke River, NT © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

‘Yep, they don’t call it flash-flooding for nothing,’ Doris said.

‘We survived,’ I reminded them. ‘We’re not floating down Chambers Gorge in Rick’s Charger, are we?’

‘We got to higher ground,’ Barney said.

Doris smiled. ‘We were lucky.’

‘Yep, I guess we were,’ I sighed and thought, I wish such luck translated to romance.

More silence as we trudged along the creek bed, the dry creek bed; all the rain from last night had been absorbed into the sand. The gorge had narrowed, and Barney had disappeared; absorbed by the copper brown cliffs and pale yellow shrubs.

‘I heard there’s some rock carvings on Mount Chambers,’ Doris said.

‘That should be interesting,’ I muttered. ‘Just my luck, Rick would’ve left us behind, and we won’t find them.’

‘He won’t.’

Sure enough, as we rounded the bend in the gorge, there Rick and Barney sat, perched on a tree stump.

[Photo 3: Stumped © L.M. Kling 1984]

‘Do you know where we are going?’ I asked.

Rick pointed. ‘It’s that mountain up there.’

The T-Team stuck together as we hiked down the narrowing gorge. The cliffs towered over us, too dangerous to climb.

Rick gazed up at the cliffs. ‘I think we’ll have to go round and climb up the hill.’

The rest of us groaned.

‘If we keep going this way, we’ll get stuck,’ he insisted.

‘Oh, alright,’ I sighed. ‘Don’t want to get stuck.’

‘Okay, everyone,’ Doris gestured to us to line up, ‘Gretchen time.’

I took a photo of Rick and Doris’ Gretchen pose to mark the end of the hike in the creek before we commenced our climb.

[Photo 4: Gretchen © L.M. Kling 1984]

So, after back-tracking, the T-Team laboured up the slope. My shins ached from the steep gradient. While Rick sprinted up, my two other companions struggled up the slope. Before Rick would vanish over the lip of the hill, I had to take a photo of this priceless moment. I raised my camera.

Doris turned. ‘No, that’s a boring! Come on everyone, let’s dance.’ She waved and hollered, ‘Rick! Come on, dance-photo time.’

Rick, Doris and Barney took their dance poses and I snapped a couple of shots.

[Photo 5: Let’s Dance © L.M. Kling 1984]

My brother then pointed at some caves. We took the slight detour and well-deserved rest break. Near the caves we ate our scroggin (nuts, dried fruit and chocolate), and admired the Indigenous rock carvings.

[Photo 6: Rock carvings © L.M. Kling 1984]
[Photo 7: View from the cave © L.M. Kling 1984]

Refreshed and energy restored, the T-Team of Chambers crusaders, marched up the hill to the summit of the mountain.

Doris chuckled, ‘Remember Mount Ohlsen Bagge when Mel kept saying to his girlfriend, ‘Just five more minutes’?’

‘Ha-ha, five-minute Mel,’ Barney snorted.

‘Yeah, didn’t help much, his girlfriend gave up halfway up,’ I said.

‘She had asthma,’ Doris said.

‘I know,’ I said, ‘Promising that you have only five minutes to go to the top, doesn’t help much if you can’t breathe.’

[Photo 8: Future memories of Mt. Ohlssen Bagge with the K-Team: L.M. Kling 2007]

Mount Chambers didn’t seem as high as Mount Ohlssen Bagge, and by lunch time, we had reached the cairn of stones that marked the summit. The T-Team gathered around the stones and I took a photo as proof of our achievement.

[Photo 9: T-Team triumph over Mt. Chambers © L.M. Kling 1984]

Then, after a light lunch of more scroggin, we began our descent. Half-way down, I observed Barney hunched over, backpack on his back.

I laughed, ‘Hey Barney, let me get a photo of you; you look like a tortoise.’

‘So do you,’ Barney shot back.

Doris tucked her pack under her T-shirt and Rick did the same.

I set up the camera on my tripod and following Doris’ example, the T-Team became the four hunchbacks of Mount Chambers.

[Photo 10: The hunchbacks of Mt. Chambers © L.M. Kling 1984]

Then, discarding our packs, we transformed into the T-Team Crusaders again.

[Photo 11: The Four Crusaders of Mt. Chambers © L.M. Kling 1984]

While trekking down to the plain, Doris spotted a white Holden Kingswood with two strapping young fellas attached to it. Being the bush, and the guys being the only other humans in the vicinity of Mount Chambers, Doris approached them.

I followed.

We had a good yarn with them. They were from Melbourne on a road trip. We swapped addresses.

Some months later, one of them actually wrote to me. So, on a road trip with my Dad to Melbourne, I caught up with this fellow. But, just my luck, by the end of the meeting, I realised that he was interested in Doris, not me. In hindsight, now, lucky for the future Mr. K., or more appropriately, God’s plan for my life.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019

Feature Photo: Indigenous Carvings Chambers Gorge © L.M. Kling 1984

***

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T-Team the Younger Series–Rain in Chambers Gorge

Rain

[Unusually cold and rainy for November here in Adelaide. Reminds me of the younger of the T-Team with roughin’ it on their minds, exploring the Flinders Ranges; their sights set on Chambers Gorge…]

The rain followed the ants and began pelting down on the car roof.

‘Get to higher ground.’ Barney thumped his thighs. ‘Argh! An ant!’

‘Remember our friends from church?’ I said. ‘They got caught in a flood in the Flinders.’

[Photo 1: Just not Cricket…or even threatening rain in Parachilna Gorge © L.M. Kling 2000]

Barney nodded and nudged my brother. ‘Yeah, remember?’

‘It’s like raining cats and dogs—and all those ants. We’ll be caught in the flood if you don’t do something.’ Doris slapped her arm. ‘Yuk! Another one! They’ve invaded the car. Get a torch!’

Barney handed Doris a torch. My brother fired up the engine.

‘Where are they?’ Doris cried. Beams of light from the torch bounced around the cabin.

‘Get that light off!’ my brother said. ‘I’m trying to drive.’

‘I have to find the ants.’

‘You want me to get to higher ground?’

[Photo 2: You mean high like this? Mt Ohlsen Bagge © L.M. Kling 2007]

‘Oh, al-right!’ Doris snapped and extinguished the torch light.

My brother manoeuvred the car around and then retraced the track to the previous campsite which had been on higher ground.

As my brother leapt from the car, Doris said, ‘I hope there’s no ants.’

My brother took the torch from Doris. ‘I’ll see, then.’

‘You reckoned this site had ants,’ Doris said. ‘You reckoned we had to move because of ants. I’m not getting out if there’s ants.’

Using both the torch and the car’s head lights, my brother inspected the ground. ‘Nup, no ants.’

Rain hammered the roof and my brother’s image blurred with the rain.

[Photo 3: There are several reasons to refuse to get out of the car when it is raining; one being you get wet. Melrose Campsite © L.M. Kling 2005]

‘Don’t believe you,’ Doris murmured. ‘Anyway, it’s raining, I’m staying in the car.’

‘Are we high enough? Barney asked. ‘I don’t want us getting flushed down Chambers Gorge.’

‘Ha! Ha! Very funny,’ I said.

‘I’m serious,’ Barney said.

‘Yep, we went up a bit,’ my brother said. ‘We’re above the creek, now.’

‘Don’t trust you, get higher,’ Doris said. ‘I don’t want to be washed away.’

My brother mumbled, ‘Like that’ll happen.’ Then he sighed, ‘Oh, alright, if you insist.’ He revved up the car and mounted another small slope and then settled on a hill.

No one dared move from the car as the rain steadily fell and the fear of inch-ants crawling up and over our sleeping bodies. Plus, the bother of putting up the tent in the rain, kept us locked in the car all night. We made the best of sleeping sitting upright for another night.

***

[Photo 4: Rain-filled creek in Chambers Gorge © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

Morning, we woke to blue skies and the creek transformed into a luxurious chain of ponds. Birds, big black ones called “butcher birds”, galahs, and parrots, converged on the edges of marsh. They searched for fish, poking around the lily pads scattered like floating pebbles on the water’s surface. White cockatoos congregated and chattered in the gum trees with leaves glistening in the early morning sun, washed clean by the rain.

[Photo 5: Taking a dip in Chambers Gorge creek © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

Doris and I took the opportunity to take a dip in a nearby pool. I marvelled how this rain made reeds spring up overnight. ‘They weren’t there yesterday, I’m sure,’ I said.

‘Wow! All that rain, and we didn’t get washed away,’ Doris said.

‘No, we didn’t,’ I replied. ‘No, we didn’t.’

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019; update 2021

Feature Photo: After Rain in the Flinders Ranges © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 2005

***

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T-Team the Younger Series–Ants

Ants

[A mild spring with some happy warm days interspersed with bouts of thunderstorms and heavy rain. And the ants making me hop and dance when out in the garden. A reminder of the younger of the T-Team with roughin’ it on their minds, venture closer to home and into the Flinders Ranges; their sights set on Chambers Gorge…But never in their wildest dreams did they expect these little, or not so little, crawly things, ants, to spoil their first night camping in the Flinders Ranges…]

By mid-morning, and a half-a-dozen or so beers later for Barney, my brother chauffeured us on the rough road to Chambers Gorge.

‘Are you sure you know where we’re going?’ Doris asked.

‘Sure I do,’ my brother said. ‘I’ve been there before.’

We bounced over the gravel road and its abundant potholes. Then came the roller-coaster—up and down, almost flying and then stomachs thudding to the floor in the dips.

[Photo 1: Rolling Roads in the Flinders Ranges…and less rough © L.M. Kling 2007]

‘Stop!’ Barney groaned. ‘I’m going to be sick.’

‘Oh, no!’ Doris and I cried.

‘Stop the—’ Barney gurgled, and he leaned forward, his hand cupped over his mouth.

My brother slammed on the brakes and stopped the car in the middle of the road. Too late! Liquid breakfast splattered every corner of the car’s interior.

We spent the next half an hour using dampened beach towels to flush out the worst of the mess, and then the next few hours driving to Chambers Gorge, doing our best to ignore the smell—windows open, nostrils filling with bull dust in preference to the smell.

‘I feel sick,’ Doris said.

My brother stopped the car and we all jumped out.

Doris leaned over a salt bush and then stood up. ‘Nah, it’s okay.’

‘Better safe than sorry,’ my brother said. ‘We don’t want another accident.’

[Photo 2: Emus along the way © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

So without a map, my brother found Chambers Gorge. We lumbered along the rugged road that followed the dry creek bed.

‘Where’s the water?’ Doris asked.

‘All underground, unless it rains,’ my brother said.

We glanced left and right, sighting tents and camper vans. Four o’clock and already all the best campsites had been taken. We ventured further into the gorge crawling along the creek bed of boulders. The rocky slopes of the low hills that defined Chambers Gorge were shrouded in grey tones of an over-cast sky.

I pointed to a clearing. ‘What about here?’

‘Too small,’ my brother said.

Doris indicated a site near a clump of twisted gum trees. ‘Hey, what about one over there?’

‘Nup, where would we park?’

‘There’s a spot,’ Barney said.

‘And how am I going to get up there?’

‘We have to camp somewhere, or we’ll be cooking tea in the dark,’ I said.

‘I don’t feel so well,’ Barney said. ‘I have a headache.’

‘You shouldn’t’ve had so many beers for breakfast,’ Doris snapped.

My brother stopped the car. ‘Here will do.’

We climbed out of the car and inspected the mound of gravel no larger than a small bedroom.

‘Bit small,’ Barney said.

‘You reckon you can find somewhere better?’ my brother answered.

‘Nah, I guess it’ll be alright.’

[Photo 3: Camping © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

My brother and Barney unpacked the car and then set up Barney’s tent. Then my brother pumped up his blow-up mattress—no tent for him, he preferred to sleep under the stars. So did I. A billion-star accommodation for me. I persuaded Doris to also sleep under the stars. One problem, clouds covered our star-studded view.

Doris and I searched for firewood.

‘Seems like Chambers Gorge is well picked over,’ Doris remarked.

‘It’s like Rundle Mall,’ I replied. ‘Won’t be coming here again. Too many people.’

We found a few sticks, just enough for a fire to cook our canned spaghetti for tea. For dessert, we ate fruit cake.

[Photo 4: Stories behind the Campfire © L.M. Kling 2015]

As our thoughts drifted to bed and enjoying sleep under clouds as it seemed tonight, my brother said, ‘Oh, er, I did a bit of exploring. Found a better camping spot. Bigger, near a waterhole.’

‘Really?’ Doris sighed.

‘Can’t we just stay here?’ Barney asked.

My brother stroked the red mound upon which we sat. ‘Could be an ant hill.’

So again, we followed my brother’s leading, packed up and piled into the car. Once again, we crawled to my brother’s El Dorado of campsites.

There, in the dark, we set up our bedding. Barney abandoned the idea of a tent and settled down, content with the cloudy canopy to cover him like the rest of us.

[Photo 5: We dreamed of the next day dancing in the bush © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984]

As I began pumping up my mattress—Plop! I looked up. Another plop.

‘O-oh, rain,’ I said.

‘Nah, probably amount to nothing.’ My brother shrugged and continued to blow up his mattress.

Doris sat on a small mound and watched us. Rick promised to pump up all our mattresses.

‘Ugh!’ Doris cried and then slapped her thigh.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘An ant!’

‘What do you mean, an ant?’

‘An ant bit me.’

‘What? Through jeans?’

‘Yeah, it was a big one—ugh! There’s another one,’ Doris jumped up, ‘and another.’

Doris danced and slapped herself.

Rick shone a torch where Doris did her “River Dance”.

‘Holy crud!’ Barney said, his eyes wide. ‘The place is full of them.’

[Photo 6: A honey ant; best I could find © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

Ants, two and a half centimetres long and called “Inch Ants”, swarmed the ground, their pincers snapping. They streamed from a hole on the mound where Doris had been sitting, ants multiplying and invading our clearing.

We scrambled to the car and threw ourselves in. Doris and I sat in the back, Barney and my brother in the front.

‘Looks like we’ll be camping in the car tonight,’ I grumbled.

[to be continued…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019

Feature Photo: White Ant Hills © S.O. Gross circa 1946

***

Want more but too expensive to travel down under? Why not take a virtual travel 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 (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

***

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

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