Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home, Home Again

Ahhhhh it feels good to be back home. We're both burnt to a crisp and exhausted but we're happy we did the trip. When all is said and done we've amassed a huge amount of research and taken over 300 photos - some of which I'll be sharing over the coming weeks. As it stands though we've come home to discover that the main computer is kaput. It's sitting upstairs, as good as an oversized paperweight so for now I'm having to exist using the lap-top. Not that I mind, but I am aware that I don't want to kill this machine either. My computer minded pal is coming over today so perhaps he can shed some light on how to get the bastard up and running. Still until we get it fixed, and all the photos transferred over I can still share some shots and observations.

It's hard to convey the emptiness of locations like this in a digital photo. This shot was taken when we reached the end of the road that we got lost upon, and it was this place where I decided not to listen to the other half and actually turn back around and see if we couldn't get out - which we did, eventually. All in all we spent about three hours wandering about the outback trying to get our bearings and although there was never any sense of panic, out there danger is everywhere - is a kangaroo hits the car then it can be game over quite easily, and we saw several smaller greys and one huge bastard who kept eyeballing me before he decided to leg it.

When I took this shot I was almost overwhelmed by the location. By this stage we were nearly 100 kilometers from anywhere of note, and this is a little two roomed cottage - one room had the remains of an iron bedframe in it, the other had the fireplace and an iron oven - meaning one room was the kitchen/dining room and the other was the bedroom. God knows who used to live there, there were no remains that I could see of any barns or sheds nearby so it wasn't used for shearing. Still, all that distance, there's not that much in the way of shade in the form of trees and it was about 40 degrees (for the Americans amongst us, that's well over 100 in your scale). There it gets to be a very dry heat with savage winds and the flies were everywhere. The flipside is that it can get so cold there in winter that it's been known to snow. The conditions that people must have lived under in these old houses must have been horrid, yet they not only lived, they thrived and flourished. This might well have been prime real estate in it's day.

This became a common sight. I'd enter into the grounds or the immediate proximity of some ruins to find bones scattered about. I'll assume that they're all animal bones, as indeed some were, because the alternative (especially in a location like this) can drive you to distraction and make you wonder just how the hell can you get out. Some would have the feet still intact while the rest of the bones had been stripped bare and an incredible shade of white, again I assume by ants as the wildlife would have already taken their share. It was in these ruins that we found the large grey roo and an amazing debris field. As is our wont we left everything intact and I expect that not many ruin seekers know about this location - otherwise there'd have been a lot more removed.

I'm curious to know more about these ruins as there's a series of what appear to be shearing sheds nearby that looked recently abandoned. The ruins themselves appeared to be only a few years old - again the debris field displayed this, along with an old fridge (sans door) and an impressive amount of farming equipment (now rusted) that existed undercover in yet another shed.

This photo captures a bit of what I'm talking about. It's a nice sized place (five rooms that I could count) but look at the surroundings. Nothing. This isn't an exagerration mind you, there's nothing there that I've cropped out - it really is that empty. Now imagine living out there with no telephone, no car and the only means of communication being passing people (if indeed anyone did pass) and the odd hike into the nearest town (in this case Burra) which would have taken you the better part of a day by horse. I don't know if I could have done it. The sparseness makes for great backgrounds though.

Same with these ruins. This location offered up a main house, a smaller storage room, a huge cellar (now full of all kinds of plastic toxic waste), the remains of a barn and a smaller, three roomed house at the back. In short it's a homestead and living here might have been a bit easier as there'd have been a few more people. This place is a magnificent site and the location does speak to you - in it's day it must have looked beautiful and some of that beauty still remains. Whoever built this place and lived here had a degree of wealth, otherwise they'd not have been able to maintain it. Again, though, this location is a good 40 kilometers from the nearest major town, meaning a good days horse ride, if not more, just to get supplies and medical attention. It's not that unusual to find grave sites nearby such ruins as people would bury the dead where they were, as opposed to loading the corpse up onto a buggy and taking it for a last ride. These plots aren't all family plots and the history behind them is well worth discovering.

These, and more, are the reasons why I like finding ruins. Mind you the whole trip has left me a bit sore in places (the other half seems to think I might done myself an injury leaping off the army jail roof in Terowie, but hey - the photos I got are worth it) but we were already starting to plan the next trip up that way and what we want to get done.

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