Alone, through the bush, to Melbourne

The exploration field season finished, crews paid off and released, Bedford and Nissan stored at Mary Kathleen, I loaded the geophysical equipment, filled all my Jerry cans with fuel, and headed down the track in ‘my’ Land Rover and generator trailer.  I picked the most direct route I could, through central Queensland and New South Wales.  The route took me through Cloncurry – Winton – Longreach – Barcaldine, then south through Charleville – Cunnamulla – Bourke – Cobar – Hillston – Booligal – Hay – Deniliquin – Echuca – Melbourne.  The highway to Barcaldine was well formed; the roads south were also in good shape.  The drive was easy, but it was long, dusty, hot, and dry.  I suppose the total distance was about 1500 miles.

It had been a long, crisis-filled field season.  I just wanted to get back to the office and take a break.  I had a tucker box full of food, but ate in hotels where I could find them — if I passed a hotel about mealtime.  At night I slept in a sleeping bag on top of the truck to avoid Australia’s ‘nasty bities’ — meat ants, snakes, spiders, etc.

Tommy Roberts, telephone station maintenance man at Barrow Creek, thought that the end of the world was at Kynuna (I thought it was at the Home of Bullion, east of Barrow Creek!).  So I stopped at Kynuna and snapped this picture.

I see by Google Earth that, aside from a few garish signs, it hasn’t changed much.

I also made a point of passing through Booligal.   A. B. Patterson immortalized the place in the poem, ‘Hay and Hell and Booligal':  ‘Lord, send us to our just rewards in Hay, or hell,  but please, O Lord, save our souls from Booligal.’

I didn’t stay long.

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