In all, 15 members, partners and family headed for the bush to see what the gateway to the Flinders Ranges offered.
Carrieton is a small community about 20 minutes north of Orroroo. The local school was purchased by the community and converted into accommodation and a caravan park. Six of us made the comfortable cottage our home for three days and the balance had powered sites in the grounds for their caravans, campervans and tents. The earliest arrival was Thursday afternoon and the latest was around midnight on Friday. The weather forecast was for very warm and dry conditions.
Our first stop on Saturday was Holowiliena Station, owned by the same family for over 100 years. It is a working sheep station and Frances and Luke Frahn are a wool classer and shearer, respectively. The old buildings have been or are in the process of being restored and we were advised that virtually nothing has been discarded, so there are items dating back to when the area was first settled in the late 1800’s. A photographer’s paradise, if only we had more time. There was the old workman’s cottage, the explosives cellar and the stores, all with their own history and stories to be told. Morning tea was provided, including some delicious homemade muffins.
As we travelled we sighted numerous emus, kangaroos, galahs and magpies. As a result of the unusually hot weather other birdlife was not so prevalent, but we did come across a couple of Bearded Dragon lizards sunning themselves in a creek bed. They couldn’t be bothered moving so allowed us to photograph them at close range. It was after that we also noticed a number of them along the side of the road, no doubt enjoying the warmth of the bitumen.
Saturday night we had a barbecue at the caravan park in Carrieton. A lot of chatter as the ‘boys’ cooked the various meats and an abundance of salads to accompany them. Sam was closely guarding his fillet of fish. It looked delicious even before it was cooked. Frances shared a box of scrumptious Kyton’s lamingtons.
Sunday morning there were several options to consider, each in a different directions. Initially we all headed to the same old ruins on a property called Yanyarrie, about 10km from Carrieton. The old buildings were fascinating and the dedication of our photographers showed with their efforts to contend with the heat and a lot of very friendly flies. A couple of members were clever enough to bring fly nets to cover their faces.
We headed back to Carrieton for a well-earned lunch break in the shade. Once rested some of us decided to head to Quorn while others went to seek out some more old ruins and local point of interest. In Quorn we wandered the streets and of course ventured into the Pichi Richi Railway yard. The steam train was running but we arrived a little too late to see it in action. Eventually we all met up at the Emporium in Quorn. What a wonderful place that was. Lots of things to see and the atmosphere was that of a bygone era. Added to that was good food, hot and cold drinks and a traditional ice-cream cone. What more could you ask for. The ladies who run the store welcomed everyone and chatted away, then out came the old hats, fur wraps and accessories for an impromptu dress-up for some of the female club members. James was quick to get his camera out and the evidence speaks for itself.
Various routes were taken on the return trip to Carrieton, to see what other attractions caught the eye, including a water hole on another working property. It was very picturesque except for the flies attracted by the sheep dung. Oh well, that’s life in the outback. A bright red sunset told everyone Monday was going to be a very hot day.
Sunday night was our final meal together, another bbq of course. Stories were swapped and laughter rang out around the camp tables. After a busy and warm couple of days everyone had to prepare for their travels (home for most but elsewhere for a few) and then to get some well-earned rest.
At first glance you would think there is nothing to see ‘out in the sticks’ but with a little bit of time and effort all kinds of discoveries were made.
Noelene runs the caravan park and she is the salt of the earth. A hard working, kind- hearted woman who went out of her way to do whatever she could to make our stay enjoyable.
Addendum – James Allan
A few details omitted by Julie.
Adrian originally suggested the campsite after staying himself some 8-9 months earlier. The accommodation and the hospitality by it’s proprietress Noelene was exactly as he described it.
While Russell Steve, Mark,
and myself and our partners found our way to Holowiliena station, we were mystified as to what had happened to the rest of our club, who had departed before us. An unscheduled trip to Hawker to attend to battery problems had delayed Julie & Ray. Another cup of tea and muffins and they finally arrived. All ended well.
Saturday night we hosted a complete stranger, Michael, his wife and 2 girls. Michael a past member of the Tea Tree Gully Camera Club was desperately looking for accommodation and happened upon a group of us photographic derelict buildings. Being a keen photographer with an interest in astro-photography we soon started up a conversation. Eventually they joined us for barbecue tea, and Michael finished off the night with a spot of light painting in the Carrieton Uniting Church Hall with Chris Peck and myself. We put them up on spare mattresses in the library.
Steve and Judy, Mark and Jen, Helen, Frances and myself found our way to Quorn via the derelict town of Hammond and the almost non existant town of Bruce. By pure coincidence we managed to coincide with Julie, Ray and the others who had traveled to Quorn via Hawker.
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Thankyou all for your hospitality. It was very appreciated. We had a great night with the Milky Way and the light painting. Discussions ranged from my interest in UV photography through to IR. I learnt a lot, everyone learnt a lot. An excellent accidental meeting. – Michael (The interloper)
It was great meeting you guys and as you can see we enjoyed the night photography also. I have been meaning to catch up with you after we got back – but have been busy. James
Brilliant report and photos, you have really captured the essence of the country and all it has to offer. The red earth gets into your blood! Cheers Anne & Ken
It was great to see everyone enjoyed their visit to the mid northern areas, if you really want to see some of the best parts get a group together and tour the Oodnadatta Track, it’s a real eye opener especially when you get to Algebuckina Bridge over the Neale River just before Oodnadatta, go and visit the great South Australian Outback. We enjoy getting away when we can, the Gammon Ranges are next and then the Gawler Ranges are on our list.