bush diaries: day one
Emerald Airport: smaller than Bournemouth used to be. It had one check-in gate, one departure gate, one luggage belt and weirdly about 6 flights a day to and from Brisbane.
The “short drive” to Trelawney was over 3 hours and half of it was along a dirt track. We passed a few wallabies, kangaroo rats, echidnas and a great deal of cattle. “You don’t get car sick do you?” I was asked. “No,” I replied relieved, as this would be a horrendous journey if that were the case: 1 3/4 hrs drive mostly along a dirt track to the nearest town. I then got a nose bleed, which I tried to make out was no big deal, but wondered if I had burst a blood vessels on the rough terrain.
I arrived at the farm and was shown to my “room”. A shipping container. I thought she was joking when she told me on the way, but she wasn’t. I live in a metal box that has one window. It also has a kitchenette, fridge-freezer, table and chairs, tv and very uncomfortable bed. My “bathroom” is another outbuilding and I have camped in places that have more inviting washing facilities.
The toilet, I was warned, could be shared with a few frogs, as they seemed to like it, and sure enough the following day I peed on one! I will now always check the toilet bowl, because scooping a very pissed off frog out of the bog after I had flushed was not a fun way to start the day!
Day one on the farm and in the classroom I am assured was not a normal one. At about 9am a chopper arrived carrying passengers who had come to have detailed talks about the building of a railway that will cut through the farm land to assist the mining communities around here.
After “school”, I was taken for a bush walk by the two children. We did about a two hour round trip across the land, sadly camera-less rain was descending on departure. My two bare-footed “bushies” tramped along without a care in the world for Brown snakes or cow shit and found it funny when I repeatedly asked them if it was SAFE to step off the path. The first kangaroo I saw made me squeal with joy and the following regular appearances of wallabies where just as fun to spot. Camera will be taken next time without doubt.
Important facts learnt so far:
- I am 135km west, along a dirt track from the nearest town, which has an occupancy of about 800 people
- If it rains, we simply cannot go there, as the track is too dangerous
- There is such a creature as a Wallaroo: a cross between and roo and wallaby
- There are about 7000 cattle here, of about 4 breeds
- This is a cattle station, not a farm!
- There are 9 dogs, 3 cats and about 20 horses in residence
- It’s not very hot. At all.
- Brown Snakes and Red Back Spiders live here. Possibly the most deadly of both animal
- Nearest coast is about 600km
- Osicones are the knobs on top of a giraffes head
Dinner tonight was a prime cut of home-grown beef, which I know I would have paid a fortune for in Melbourne. This is going to be a fulfilling time in more ways than one!