Today we had two options, one was to stay at William Creek the smallest town in South Australia with 14 people or head out to Halligan Bay on Lake Eyre. I was keen to go to Halligan Bay but I wasn’t sure about the road I spoke to my mate Tim, who suggested we speak to Ian and Sue. Ian felt it was a bit rough and asked if I had a satellite phone and two jacks. We both agreed that a satellite phone was probably good enough, when Becs came over we started to talk about the weather. Along the way to William Creek we stopped at the Strangeways Telegraph Repeater. This was built when they constructed the overland telegraph and they built a police station, stock yards, graveyard and an AFL stadium. We also stopped at one of the water softeners used on the Ghan. The artesian water was too hard for the steam locos. We stopped at William Creek to re-fuel and then headed out to Halligan Bay. The road was a bit rough with some deeply rutted soft sections but we made it. Still haven’t engaged low range yet. As we approached, the landscape turned black like
something out of Lord of the Rings. We passed a number of 4WDs heading back and then we arrived. As we arrived Edward John Eyre’s words drifted through my mind “The whole was barren and arid-looking in the extreme, and as I gazed on the dismal scene before me I felt assured, I had approached the vast and dreary desert of the interior”. No actually that was Becs in the passenger seat. In this situation the fact that Lake Eyre looks this barren is actually entirely my fault. It has nothing to do with geology, meteorology or God. It was me!! The fact that the only other available accommodation is a town with 14 people (and a waste tip) is not relevant. I have to admit that the wind was howling. Anyway we (I) set up the camp and then two other 4WDs turned up. They were as surprised as us and even though they were kiwis I was glad to see them. We lit a fire, the wind died down and I cooked chicken with smashed potatoes and brussel sprouts (my favourite) and we drank a bottle of the Oodnadatta Shiraz (which I suspect doesn’t actually come from Oodnadatta).
Things we learnt:
- A lot of effort goes into those telegraph repeater stations
- Any stuff up on this trip is my fault
- If you are upset you don’t have to help (see above)
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