A travel day, heading South across Central Australia, stopping to check out the remains of a historic airfield and hospital at Gorrie and Birdum. Refuelled at Dunmarra Roadhouse where I photographed a fine Brahman bull in a roadside paddock. Dozens of army vehicles were also refuelling and the soldiers mentioned how cold it had been in at night in Queensland, where they had come from.
It was almost five when we pulled off the highway and bush camped along a dirt road beneath a telecommunications relay tower, which provided an interesting backdrop for a sunset. Even so, we didn’t have phone connection, so I am publishing from Tennant Creek.
As we edge our way slowly towards home, the sun is behind us, making for more comfortable travel than when we experienced on the same highway going up northwards last week. Black kites and changing vegetation from tropical savannah woodland to arid spinifex kept us entertained. Even so, eight hours driving is tiring and we will be pleased to get to our next destination back in the Red Heart.
Larrimah, on the Stuart Highway, had a role in World War II. Something to do with a planned line of retreat after the bombing of Darwin. Now it is a rambling, eccentric pub and store with paraphernalia and a shelter for rescued native birds. A bottle of whiskey was $67! I took a photo of the bar and the gyrocopter and pink panther outside.
We continued on here to Mataranka, where there is a thermal pool (improved by the troops) amid livingstonia palms with the sounds of tropical birdlife. The road photo shows the trees with clouds indicating humidity. The maximum temperature was 32′ Celsius.
Who would have thought that a township of 500 people, way out in the Mallee would play an important role in the Second World War? Lake Boga was chosen because it was out of range of Japanese bombers and had a round lake that would allow flying boats to land in all weathers. Over 1000 defence personnel were stationed here, doing maintenance and repairs on Catalina and other flying boats. After Peace was declared, the Repair Depot was dismantled and the township resumed its rural character. The Lions Club runs a museum with a Catalina and underground bunkers on display. A video shows footage of that episode in Lake Boga’s past. Well worth an hour’s visit.