Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A semi-arid break pt1.

I  must  admit I have enjoyed many  great  locations at this time of year. I  particularly  remember Paris and I  particularly  remember the Lakes District in Cumbria UK. Both  beautiful, both wonderfully memorable.

Dave driving the cruiser

However, I  do  love the stark contrast of the semi-arid regions of Australia. Again, in the pursuit of history we found ourselves back along the Dowling track, and again  to visit  my  cousin "Frosty" on his property called "Boodgherree"(  pronounced boo-gerry).

The area is about to be drought declared, and I was curious to  see the stark contrast with the past 2 years, and as recently  as April 2013. We stayed at the wonderful shearers quarters on Kilcowera and enjoyed the hospitality of the Sherwins. Geoffs property  is next door and a "short" 15klm drive door to door.

Sun up and about the ride off to Lake Wyara. ( looong shadows!)

The following day, dave and I  got up at first light, and prepared our motorbikes for the 70-80km ride through the properties to Lake Wyara. The contrast against previous seasons was never more apparent.
There were few birds, all water holes had dried up, and starving emus, could only  walk a few paces before collapsing from starvation.

The track was dry, dusty and even in the early  morning waves of heated air washed over us. It was going to  be hot. 47c. The tracks are a mixture of sand, rocky outcrops and creek wash outs. You have to  have your wits about you, watching out for kangaroos, emus as well as charging cattle. All can  knock you  off your bike in an instant. There is just no chance, being over 30km from help, that  you  could simply  walk back with  a shrug of your shoulders.

Finding shade where we could to  have a drink and a short rest.

Our riding was easy  on the bikes, easy  on ourselves. There is no room to  risk losing a chain, or any breakdown for that matter.

The lake itself was 2 klm further away than it was back in April. I  was amazing at just how unforgiving outback Australia is.

We returned via the Murderers Bore and I  was quick  excited to  find some of the landscape that my  family had photographed in the 1940s, when this was part of Boorara. I  find linking evidence of old photos with  today,  exciting.  "Forensic", history research is what I like. Sadly  our pastoral history will be lost.

Arrival at Lake Wyara. Hot dry dusty, and the lakes water on the horizon.

It was several hours before we returned to the shearers quarters., Hot, covered in red dust, and thirsty.  In that heat the air acts like a hair drying, and it seems you cannot get as much water in as the air is drying our of you.

A chair set up  under the Pepper tree

A rest for 40 winks was in order before a late afternoon of bird watching. The shade of the Pepper tree and the green grass that  surrounds the shearers quarters a refreshing contrast to the death of drought.
Here I  set up  my  camera, bird book and binoculars to  try  and capture photos of the birds coming to  drink from a small puddle of water leaking from the tap. When  we packed to  leave I  stumbled on a cap that my  old friend, Jim,  left here in 2011. I  thought that  with  Christmas being a time to share with  friends and remember those gone, I  should take his cap with  us when  we are birding, simply  to  remember great  friendships, which  only  ever seem to last  a short time. I am  sure Jim  would have got a laugh.

Pt2 Working on Boodgherree. Cleaning water troughs, and checking stock…birds seen..


  1. Looks like fun. I have never rode anything more then an average bike.

  2. Hi Lilith, These bikes are now "pretty average". By that I mean good farm/fun bikes. Not powerful by todays standards but super reliable.

    It was a great deal of fun for sure!

  3. Serendipity, to find the cap!
    Beautiful images, and good to know you had lots of fun.

  4. Have been neglecting your blog, new job very time-consuming!
    So glad you found his cap, he'd be pleased his best mate's wearing it now