Who’d o’ thought, way out here in the middle o’ nowhere? He stopped, asked me what I was doing. I said, shooting’ road kill. He didn’t flinch – I like the unquestioning, non-judgemental acceptance.
We stood under the blazing sun chatting for half an hour: me getting some outback driving tips from him; and he telling me stories of bush politics, the need for weed spraying/roadside grading to keep the wildlife away from the road edges where any occasional rain runs off and collects, tempting the animals to tempt fate for a lovely fresh feed. $800 a kilo for the chemical spray, 3 kilos worth, lasts for about 9 months; and telling me how one of Australia’s most financially successful photographers, Ken Duncan, stayed on his farm a couple of decades ago to create a photo-essay. He was always with camera and up pre-dawn every day to catch the sunrise.
…but despite the weed spraying, it doesn’t always go to plan. In fact there was enough road kill out here to sink the proverbial ship.
…an extraordinarily beautiful and moving sight. What a striking resting pose.
…and here’s a beautiful live one to help balance the emu ledger and keep you squeamish folk on board 🙂
…but not so lucky this poor beautiful lizard. Is it a blue tongue? He looked fine from a cpl of metres away, and I almost expected him to lazily move on when I approached.
Rest area, complete with Christmas tinsel…but virtually no shade…
…and then more of this…
…but then this oasis nearly smack-bang between Mildura and Broken Hill. Lake Politah, a natural lake, a drinking hole for many forms of fauna – unfortunately including beautiful but feral goats.
The goats and other fauna make it v difficult to re-establish the woodlands of Black Box Gum and native Cypress Pine that used to surround these parts until, YOU GUESSED IT, whitefellas cut nearly all of ’em down for various reasons. The pine is v slow growing and therefore a v hard wood, resistant to termites, so was a favoured building material. And I think it was the Black Box that was used to power the steam trains.
Despite the signs informing us folk of their fragility, even at the rest area, limbs had clearly been snapped off the pines. Probably for a campfire. Baggghhhh!
Flowering Gum. Yummmm! Lovely delicate fragrance…
And more bark patterns, in the form of ‘Tree Graffiti‘ – always a fairly common sight in remote parts but have any of you, like me, noticed a growing trend in this form of graffiti in Melbourne? I have, but mostly tagging as opposed to legible names.
Nice to see that legendary American photographer, Edward Weston, made a trip here to the middle of nowhere and left his mark…and only last year. Amazing! 🙂
And just a little further up the road I rolled into the only ‘town’ to speak of b’w Mildura and BH.
Actually, there’s no town at all to speak of. Just ‘June’s Place’, where you can get petrol, make a phone call at the Telstra phone-box (!), use the dunny (but ONLY if ya buy something), order from the ‘a la carte’ menu (‘mm, not totally sure that even I’d risk that, in fact I didn’t – I politely changed my original order to “nothing…I’m not actually feeling that hungry” (hygiene seemed to be slightly, just slightly, lacking).
But, if you’re really lucky, you might get to chat to June, herself….
I got the distinct feelin’ that ya don’t mess with June. It’s ‘June’s Place‘ after all.
Heaps of these bearded fellas and sheilas about…
It was a fiercely hot day and even the bitumen couldn’t hold it together…
The melting bitumen and me. My boots began sticking to the road with each step! Felt like Coyote about to get caught in a creative Roadrunner trap.
And then it began – the nightly piritechnico spectaculo! Incredible silent scenes…
And then night-proper descended…
It’s difficult to drive, photograph and avoid fauna all at the same time! Stubborn Roo! Stubborn Hunter! We eventually came to a compromise and both have stories to tell our mates as a result.
Eventually I rolled into the ‘Welcome to Broken Hill’ roadside pullover where I decided to spend the night, just under that tree over there, past the burn-out skid-marks and burned out rubbish bin enclosure. And just next to the delightfully stark concrete table with its reassuring message…
‘Mm. Welcome to Broken Hill!
But I did wake to this. Not bad for ZERO dollars a night.
Images and text Copyright Hunter G, 2012 and available for sale.