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