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Thread: To The Kimberley Pt 2 (Coward Springs to Chambers Pillar)

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    To The Kimberley Pt 2 (Coward Springs to Chambers Pillar)

    After selecting a site at Coward Springs we went for a stroll so I could show Jen whatís there. Most if not all visitors head for the natural spring that has been turned into an outback spa.



    This like most of the points of interest along the Oodnadatta Track, came about with the creation of the Ghan Railway Line. The Station Masters residence has been beautifully restored and turned into a museum of sorts covering the history of the track as well as the natural history of the area.







    After what had been a fairly long day that spa beckoned so we spent a bit of time soaking our weary (old) bones in those lovely warm waters, what a day it had been.



    Not a stunning sunset but nice to see the outback sky framed by a few Date Palms.



    It was so nice to again be sitting around a campfire under the stars, out in the sticks so to speak.



    The Station Masters residence at night.



    Pre dawn and then another day had arrived.





    Before leaving Coward Springs we took a stroll to their cemetery, I donít know whether we are a bit morbid but we find it fascinating reading the headstones at such places. You get a real feel for the hardships, loss and heartache that the early pioneers faced in these remote regions.





    The road/track ahead had Jen salivating at the prospects of greener pastures, grand ranges with majestic views, but Iím afraid that wasnít going to happen and it was more of the same. There still were plenty of places of interest to see and explore along the way.



    Our first stop this morning was Beresford Siding, this one is set back 5 or 6 hundred metres from the track and hidden behind some trees that surround a largish dam (bone dry in this drought) so it pays to know where to go and what to see otherwise it can be a long drive with not much seen!





    The Strangways Historic site was our next stop along the track. This was the site of the first homestead on the pastoral property that became Anna Creek Station, the largest cattle station in the world.

    The homestead was built in 1867, that and the land in the immediate area was sold to the government in 1870 to become a repeater station on the Overland Telegraph Line. Due to the mound springs nearby it was an ideal site and it was like a small village with a number of substantial buildings built there.

    The ruins of the Homestead and the Buttressed Water Tank that was built in 1880, it had a capacity of 10,000 gallons or approx 45,000 litres.





    The kitchen was built at the same time as the Homestead.



    Not a lot (if any) timber available in the area so even the stockyards and holding pens for the sheep were made from rocks and stone.





    A number of graves in their cemetery, this one is Mary Hewish (wife of a linesman) who died in 1895 during childbirth at the age of 32.



    At William Creek there is basically just the famous pub and not much else, the pub itself is not particularly photogenic on the outside but inside it has a bit of character.







    There were quite a few interesting paintings hanging on the walls alongside some wonderful Aboriginal art, this one for us captured the character of the place.



    Across the road there were a few artefacts from Woomera and some other bits of machinery.







    Our next stop was at Algebuckina Railway Bridge that crosses the Neale River. Opened in 1892 it is over half a kilometre long and was the longest bridge in SA up until 2014.
    The cost to the young state to construct it in money and lives was enormous at the time.







    In 1974 floodwaters lapped at the bridges decking, now that must have been some storm in this parched and arid region!!



    Oodnadatta is the hottest/driest place in Australia, it is more famous however for itís unique and quirky Pink Roadhouse.



    There was no township at Oodnadatta when the telegraph line was built. It was near here the line veered hard north, that spot was called the Angle Pole due to the shape of the pole where that occurred and the change of direction the line took.

    The site of that Pole (or near it) was identified as the proposed terminus for the extension of the railway in the 1880s. When the railway was built, a town was established at the terminus, and named Oodnadatta.

    The historic Railway Station is now a museum, (unfortunately shut when we were there, supposed to be something special).





    Out the front of the Station were these machines, not sure what the second one would be used for.





    A couple of old buildings we saw along some back streets.





    A short distance from Oodnadatta is the Angle Pole site itself.



    We now headed even more remote driving past Hamilton Station as we made our way to a waterhole that not many visit, Jen was wondering just where in the heck we were going when she saw the country we now drove through!



    Then we saw a few trees as we approached a depression in the otherwise flat plains.



    And then a sight for saw eyes in this parched drought effected area, WATER!!



    Eringa Waterhole has been the saviour for many over the years, John MacDouall Stuart camped here on his three attempts to cross Australia in the early 1860s. Imagine their relief when they (and others) came across this oasis when only moments before they could have been facing immanent death not knowing if they would survive. Jen wasnít quite in that mode but she did smile when we arrived there and I said we would be camping here.

    Next to the waterhole were some ruins, part of the original Eringa Station which was first settled in the early to mid 1870s. Interestingly that station was the first of Sir Sidney Kidmanís many rural/pastoral purchases, at one stage at the height of his empire building he was thought to own personally more land than anyone else on Earth and at that time itís wealthiest individual.

    The old homestead and meat house.





    Our camp beside the waterhole.





    That evening there was a nice sky.





    Early the next morning there was some lovely soft colours over the waterhole, as time went on the sky lost those colours so all there is to show you is this.





    We then left our lush surrounds (hardly a blade of grass to be seen anywhere) and again drove across more desolate country.









    These are the Abminga Ruins, in 1928 the ďGhan" Railway Line was extended north from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. Along the track new sidings were built to again service the line.









    Five hundred metres from there were the ruins of an earlier homestead.







    We now headed to Finke, now known as Apatula.





    The original communities name of Finke came from the name of the river. It is one of if not the oldest river in the world having been in existence from around 350 million years ago!

    Even out here recycling is all the go!!



    An interesting machine that would have done something special, and their footy oval, (no grass out here, even allowing for the drought).





    Murals painted on the side of the change rooms and amenities block were used to bring awareness to the locals for the need of proper hygiene.







    We now drove north following the old Ghan Railway line, most of the time exactly where the tracks once were. Doing so we had to be wary of the hundreds if not thousands of old spikes that lay along the route, whilst passing a few more sidings along the way.







    At the Maryvale community we saw these murals at their basketball courts.





    From there we took the track out to Chambers Pillar where we would camp that night. Jen had never been there before (or most of the other places we had been on this trip) and was excited to at last visit one of Australiaís unique landforms and destinations.





    We were the only ones camping at the Pillar that night which just added to our experience.

    Looking to the east with Castle Rock in the distance and then looking to the west with Chambers Pillar over the rise.





    Will end this one here, more from this magical spot and Central Australia in the next report.

    Col and Jen.
    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

  2. #2
    The Boss Smokey2.8's Avatar
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    Thereís those sunsets again

    WOW
    Cheers
    Adam aka Smokey

    2.8's Sound great, but a worked 3.0L goes better

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    Forum Enthusiast robmacca's Avatar
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    Simply beautiful.... fantastic job again.

    on a side note... That tent of yours seems to be holding up quite well... What sort of sleeping mat do u guys sleep on inside that tent and does it fit easily or is it a tight squeeze?

    rob
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  4. #4
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    Col. I read your report with envy. I wish I could convince my “significant other” to do a trip like this. Camping out of a tent and travelling the road less travelled. The quality of the images you post always add to the quality of your reports, too.

    I look forward to reading your trip reports more than the next Jack Reacher book by Lee Child.

    Thanks again for posting.

    Ken

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    They're Kings 100mm thick 800 wide Rob, plenty of room as there is a poofteenth between them and the side of the tent. (Bloody tight but they fit, just)

    Not the ideal way to take the missus away Ken but there was plenty of accommodation later on, and of course there were benefits by being able to get to some spots that would be hard to do with the van.

    Thanks for you kind words,

    Col
    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

  6. #6
    Forum Enthusiast robmacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Col View Post
    They're Kings 100mm thick 800 wide Rob, plenty of room as there is a poofteenth between them and the side of the tent. (Bloody tight but they fit, just)

    Not the ideal way to take the missus away Ken but there was plenty of accommodation later on, and of course there were benefits by being able to get to some spots that would be hard to do with the van.

    Thanks for you kind words,

    Col
    So that's 2x 800mm matts that u guys sleep on? At 800 wide I reckon it would be a tight fit. The missus & I use the Blackwolf Duluxe Matts that I think are about 198 long and 66 wide and they too fit but with little room to spare and I think from meory that the corners of the matts have to bend up slightly to fit in...
    ==================
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    RobM


    Family Touring - 150's GXL D4D Prado....
    Recent Purchase : '96 Landrover Discovery TDi (A).....Work & Play.... maybe
    Un-expected Recent Purchase : '96 Landrover DEFENDER 110 TDi....Future Tourer???
    See My Exploring Trips here: My Exploring/Touring Trips
    Playing : The "Toy" Suzuki Vitara - Now retired

  7. #7
    Is it beer o'clock yet? outback jack's Avatar
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    Your a legend Col, fantastic photos, It brings back a lot of great memories for me

    EVERYWHERE I GO I BRING HAPPINESS, SOMETIMES ITS WHEN I ARRIVE, BUT ITS USUALLY WHEN I LEAVE

  8. #8
    Administrator pacs's Avatar
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    Loving this report Col keep it coming mate and as always thanks so much for sharing with us
    Fishing for a good time starts with dropping in a line

    Follow me on Insta @pacs_adventures #4wdadventurerscom @4wdadventurers Greg

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