The Road to Darwin

Left Castlemaine: Tuesday 30th July

Destination: Darwin, for the annual Darwin Awards

We have made it as far as Whyalla, where there is a big factory for making steel.

We are going to visit the cuddlefish today. They have been gathering for months but they will be going home soon. They come here every year to mate, 150 thousand of them, I guess that’s why they are called Cuddlefish.

On the first day we saw a lot of dirty sheep. I told the farmer I was not impressed.

“It’s a disgrace”, I said, “you should be ashamed of yourself. When we go to the country we like to see nice white sheep surrounded by nice green grass.”

The farmer comes over to the fence, wipes the sweat from her brow, takes off her Akubra,  swats a blowfly, lets out a loud fart, sticks her thumbs in her braces, spits out her chewing tobacco, scratches her croth laconically, and launches into a long and sibilant solilique. (due to her missing teeth, no doubt) Something about the drought, the wool price, the wheat board, the water board, the mouse plague, the dust storm and so on and so on.

“That’s all very well,” I said, “But what about our visual amenity?”

He just walked off shaking his head.

We got as far as Hattah Lakes on the first night., where we camped with the curious emus. They scared Gunyarr a bit, but I didn’t complain to management because it is a National Park afterall.

It was great to sit by a log fire again, I hadn’t done that since the night before.

Next day we got sprung with a shit load of fruit and vegetables. They all got confiscated and we will have to pay a hefty fine. It’s all a big scam of course, just so you are forced to buy local produce. I told them they should at least give all the confiscated fruit to the poor, or at least send it back to Melbourne to be resold.

We camped at Morgan on the Murray, just before it turns south. It was really hard to find a camp on the river because it is all privately owned. It seems Victoria is the only state where the beaches and rivers belong to the people. You can camp anywhere along the entire length of the Murrray till you get to S.A.

In Morgan they have a pump that pumps water to Whyalla. Unbelievable. It is 5 hours away. Some of the water we are drinking here in Whyalla is from North Queensland.

We passed a shit load of those ugly wind towers. They are everywhere. I was so glad to get to Whyalla and see the lovely steel plant:much pretier!

I asked a local why it is called Whyalla. He said an Afghan Cameleer once built a statue of the Muslim god up on the hill here and everyone would ask: “Why Alla?”. It is apparently the only statue of Alla in the whole world because whenever anyone built one they got their head chopped off.

 

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