RDP: Camp

A Camping Trip

I’ve only been camping in a tent once in my life. David and I went to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. We’d recently bought our first car, a Holden Camira. Aussies who remember that car are probably wondering what we were thinking but hey, we knew nothing about cars. Anyway, this was our first road trip. We took a little two-person tent, sleeping bags, a couple of chairs and a gas stove. We also took our two dogs, Tammy and Nicki.

Parachilna Gorge, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

I did enjoy that trip. We explored the local area. I loved the colours. I wish I had been a better photographer then and that I had taken more pictures.

The reason we chose the Flinders Ranges was that David had been there on holidays before. We stayed at a place called the Angorichna Tourist Village at Parachilna. It was and I believe still is a campground with cabins and camping sites. David told me that it was once a sanitorium for people who had tuberculosis.

I had never been there before but whenever we went to Port Pirie or Port Augusta on the train I would see the Flinders Ranges in the distance and want to go there. I think it was the mountains that drew me, Adelaide is pretty flat.

David was a Scout Leader at the time and often went camping with the kids so I wasn’t particularly worried about our sleeping in a tent. The first night we were there the wind came up and the tent collapsed on top of us. We managed to sort it out though.

We saw the ruins of failed farms and abandoned railway buildings. It was so sad to read some of the old gravestones at Beltana.

This one was taken way back in 1988 when we went camping in the Flinders Ranges. There are many ruins by the roadside. My notes say this one was a railway station but I’m really not sure now.
image head stone
The Johnson Family grave

The original railway to Alice Springs went through the towns of Quorn and Hawker. We knew Quorn quite well from our visits to the Pichi Richi Railway but had never been to Hawker so of course, we went there. We drove as far north as the bitumen road went and I wished that we could go the extra 80kms to Marree. David had not been driving long so we decided not to chance it especially as we had already had one adventure driving on a dirt road. Our car nearly flipped over on a bit of rough road. It was very scary but we were all OK and the car was not badly damaged, just needed a new tyre although that can be a big deal in an outback area too. A passing motorist stopped to help us. This was the eighties, no mobile phones or even phone boxes out there.

Sign at the old Hawker, SA station.
Sign at the old Hawker, SA station.
Scan of a coal train, Flinders Ranges SA 1987

I remember how strange it felt when we arrived back in the suburbs after a five-hour drive and there were traffic lights, cars, people and buildings. We didn’t like it.

I still have that blue tent in a box in the shed. I’ll never use it again. I couldn’t camp now. I might be able to sleep in a sleeping bag on the ground but I don’t know if I could get up off the floor in the morning

Naomi & Wazza with Phillip, Toby and Teddy on the road to Ross & Campbell Town.

Wow what a long title. I have my very good friend Phillip here with me from South Australia for three weeks holiday. Yesterday (Wed 9th of Aug) we put the dogs in the car and took off for Ross and Later Campbell Town. Ross is only 37km from home and Campbell Town 47km. They are north of Oatlands and easy to get to. We had a pleasant drive except for all the roadworks going on. They are doing  a seven year upgrade on the Midland Highway and we are only into the fourth year of it so far. Never mind all that. I know nobody wants to hear about the roadworks.

I took a few photos in the towns as it was a lovely sunny day. We found a great bakery at Ross and I had a Cornish pasty. Phillip had sausage rolls and we gave the dogs a few bits. We had a lovely walk to the historic Female Factory site and up and down the main street before driving on to Campbell Town. Both are very old towns like Oatlands and Ross has a lovely old bridge and a few sandstone buildings like Oatlands does. There are also several churches. I think many of the old heritage buildings, roads, bridges and walls are convict built. Here are a few pictures I took during our visit. If you are ever in Tasmania they are worth stopping to have a look at.

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Meanderings in the Midlands

image figure on bridge
The old bridge at Ross c1999

I’m back from ten days visiting my sister in Oatlands and although I had a thoroughly good time I have to admit I missed my blog. I found trying to read posts over a very slow internet connection extremely trying so in between trying to read the few hundred emails that have probably accumulated in my Yahoo account I’ll try to catch up with what you have all been doing.

I didn’t take as many photos as I had hoped to on this trip. Our outings were based around visiting markets and interesting antique and second-hand shops so photos tended to be quick ones taken on the fly rather than planned. We had extraordinarily good weather, fine, mild and even warm days with light breezes and that made our outings very pleasant. I just love Tasmania in autumn. In South Australia the climate is warmer and drier and except in the hills you don’t really see deciduous trees as much as here. The changing colours and falling leaves remind me of my childhood in England.

The Midland Highway, the road that takes you from Hobart to Launceston, or from Launceston to Hobart if you are a northerner :), is promoted as the Heritage Highway. I’ve visited most of the towns on the route but apart from Oatlands itself the two I know best are Ross and Campbelltown. One day last week we decided to pay them both another visit.

image Ross Bridge
The convict designed bridge at Ross.

Ross is off the highway,a quiet little village which started life as a garrison town as long ago as 1812 which is very early in Australia’s history. Ross has a convict designed and built stone bridge which is probably my favourite of Tasmania’s three well-known bridges, Richmond, Ross and Campbelltown. The main feature of the bridge are 186 carvings featuring insects, birds, animals and faces of local personages including an unflattering one of Governor Arthur! I was quite surprised to find that although this is my favourite bridge I didn’t have a recent photo of it in my files. I think I had mentally noted that I had “done” Ross bridge and didn’t need to take another but the photo above was taken on my first trip to Tasmania with Hubby around 1999! I guess I thought I would never take another as good.  For those who like details it was taken with my old Pentax MG, my favourite camera before I went digital. The picture at the beginning of this piece was taken by Hubby and is of me standing in the middle of the bridge by the engraving showing the distances to Hobart and Launceston. Sadly I’m fatter and greyer than that now.

On a fine day you can see visitors strolling up and down Ross High Street, getting lunch, browsing in the few shops or visiting the Wool Centre. There is a nice old pub called the Man’O’Ross, a bakery which is popular with visitors and antique and gift shops.  It was a bit early for lunch so we just had a look in the antique shops before heading off to Campbelltown.

Campbelltown is quite a different kind of town. The highway goes right through it so although it is equally old and has historic buildings it has a much busier feel to it. If you are driving off the ferry in Devonport and heading to Hobart you will probably find yourself stopping in Campbelltown for petrol, food or a chance to stretch your legs. There is a nice park next to the service station and several cafes. The service station once had a cafe attached where you could buy deep-fried Mars Bars but I think that is gone now. Campbelltown’s Red Bridge was also convict built. Nearby are a group of wooden sculptures which were carved from trees which once grew beside the river. One depicts the bridge and a soldier guarding a convict. This was the main north south route even in those early days and much of the road and bridge work was done by the convicts who also made the bricks for many buildings all over the state.Wood Carving -Campbelltown

The next one has a lot going on. It shows Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth (Campbell) and the bushranger Martin Cash. Seated with his telescope is Dr William Valentine. He was responsible for bringing a team from the US Naval Observatory to Campbelltown to view the Transit of Venus in 1874. The aeroplane and globe commemorate local aviator Howard Gatty who in 1931 circumnavigated the globe in a plane called “the Winnie Mae”. Lastly on this very busy sculpture there are bales of wool and sheep representing the Campbelltown Agricultural Show, the longest running show in Australia. The Midlands grew rich on the sheep’s back and many fine homes were built all over the countryside.

wooden sculpture at Campbelltown
The Bushranger, the aviator too, the Governor and his wife.The merino ram and the rest are all here in this sculpture at Campbelltown.

The last one depicts the animals ,birds and fish found in the area of the Elizabeth River. How do I know all this? I took a photo of the informative plaque on site. 🙂

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The third sculpture is of wildlife.