An unusual rock formation together with a spectacular Flinders Ranges sunset combine to provide an almost spiritual experience.
Yet equally it could have been Terrible Hollow, the bolt hole of Captain Starlight of ‘Robbery Under Arms’ fame. There have been two movies made about Captain Starlight. The second, starring Sam Neill was shot in the Flinders Ranges not far from here.
Then too, the real Captain Starlight, Harry Redford passed by not far from here on his epic cattle rustling journey from the Channel Country in Queensland back in 1870.
It’s certainly hard enough to find. It originally took me five hours and I had some directions on how to get there.
This is all natural light working in a wonderful way. The second photo was taken about half an hour earlier. Without this shot it would be a bit hard to understand how all the rocks glowed in what appears to be a cave.
The formation is two parts of a mountain on the Warraweena Conservation Park that have parted. Rainwater over thousands of years has leeched a hole in the separated section.
Instead of desperate bushrangers, the endangered yellow-footed Rock Wallaby lives here in peace and solitude so don’t expect to find the hole in the wall if you visit Warraweena (click here).
I don’t know what sort of bird this is because it always had its back to me. It’s most likely a Brown Falcon.
Nevertheless it was very intent on catching a feed. Its hover technique was fascinating.
If you have any clues to his identity let me know.
Patience is a premium in landscape photography and I knew I might need a bit for this picture. I saw a rabbit run down his hole near the old fuel tank on the right hand side of the frame.
The jumble of all the old garbage around the homestead ruins I was walking past looked interesting enough but I thought if I could get the rabbit’s ears or even his head poking out from his burrow it would make it more appealing.
I set up the tripod and settled in for a bit of a wait. Half an hour went by, then another. The light was doing nice things so an extra 10 minutes went by. I was loosing interest when, much to my surprise I spotted my friend sunning himself out to the left.
How he got there I have no idea. Magic really.
This is what all the fuss is about. Water in Lake Eyre.
There are people coming from all over Australia to see this unusual phenomenon and the surrounding countryside.
The shot was taken from the cockpit of my little Cessna 172 flying south from Oodnadatta to Leigh Creek when the lake filled the last time, back in 2000. What you can see there is water almost filling Lake Eyre South.
This year the water is coming in from the northern waterways like the Diamantina and the Warburton Rivers. However it is only running into the main Lake which is much further north than this shot.
The experts tell me that the whole Lake Eyre system is unlikely to fill this time. It will be confined to the northern lake.
The best way to see the water is by air and there are a few options. The most popular is to drive to William Creek via Maree. where Wright Air operates.
Further south, flights can be taken from the Parairie Hotel, Parachilna www.prairiehotel.com.au and from Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges Arkaroola Scenic Flights.
The Sentimental Bloke’s tip is to see it sooner rather than later.
Not far from Mt Gee is another unusual formation. It’s called The Armchair. A rounded, bald red granite formation, it contrasts starkly to the surrounding hills and mountains.
Named because of its unusual shape, the Armchair is generally recognized from another, more popular angle which shows what appears to be an armrest that, in this case, is seen at the forefront of the formation.
The mountain in the middle ground of this photograph is Mt Gee on the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. Mt Gee is the target for a mining company that is planning to extract a deposit of uranium far beneath the mountain.
In October two years ago the Sprigg family, who’ve operated the wilderness sanctuary for a couple of generations approached me to produce a series of photographs which would show the beauty of the country, particularly from Coulthards to Sillers Lookout.
They understandably don’t want uranium mined at Mt Gee right in the heart of one of the most beautiful places in Australia.
A fully fledged mining operation there would have a devastating effect on the land for 50 years or more.
Even though mining hasn’t started yet, the company, Marathon has already run foul of the standards set down by the state government.
Over the last two years I’ve made a number of visits to Arkaroola and from time to time I’ll be posting the photos I have taken.
If you want to find out more about the uranium mining issue on Arkaroola go to mining at Arkaroola.
Apart from the uranium, Mt Gee is unique because of the variety of quartz crystals formed there several hundred million years ago.
The third highest peak in the Flinders Ranges, Mt McKinlay-Wayanha sits in the background. Google Maps – Arkaroola Village SA)
The expression ‘Riding on the Sheep’s Back’ was once associated with the prosperity that Australia derived from wool and sheep.
In many parts of Australia sheep graziers are struggling now to make ends meet.
Drought in the Flinders Ranges and the northern parts of South Australia has taken a severe toll. Most properties are either half stocked or all the flocks have been removed.
Whole communities are struggling to survive. Wool prices are low too, but because of the scarcity, meat prices are very high.
Good times or bad, the remaining sheep still need shearing.
Beltana Station, northern Flinders Ranges.
I’ll just hide behind my Mum in all this dust and confusion. She’s so strong.
Shearing time, Beltana Station, northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
Who would have thought that just a few minutes before, this was the centre of a summer deluge.
Ten millimetres in about 10 minutes….the heavens just opened up and there was nowhere to hide.
The run off and the evaporation was dramatic. So much so that the water still remaining on the rock ledge was soon gone.
This is spectacular country on Nilpena Station looking out towards Lake Torrens. The next hill of any size is about two thousand kilometres off in the distance, way across the Nullabor plain in Western Australia.
But boy, it has plenty of character. Sleepy Lizards are a common sight in the outback during the warmer months. (They’re hibernating at the moment.) They’re slow but determined plodders. Believe it or not they mate for life so each spring they go looking for their mate. It’s all done by scent. You’ll often see one following one behind the other. Mrs Sleepy gets a bit shy if you turn up at the wrong moment. She’ll call it off and head for the nearest scrub at a great rate…relatively speaking of course.