A small addendum to the previous post on the Peake Telegraph station.
There are four graves at this lonely outpost, although I am not sure they were the only casualties.
Two of the graves are unmarked, the two others are dated 1887 and 1900 and are well preserved although neither refer to the cause of death.
I took a few shots of the graves when I was there but this one, to my mind symbolises the remoteness the best.
140 years ago this building must have seemed like an outstation on the moon.
Even today it takes a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get the last few kilometres to it. Back then the trip would have been of astronomical proportions.
This is the Peake Telegraph station, constructed as part of a commutations network that crossed the Australian continent from north to south.
The Peake is an outstation on Anna Creek Station, the world’s largest cattle property run by the S. Kidman Company.
I did the photography for a story on Anna Creek for the R.M. Williams Outback magazine back in March this year.
The telegraph station is on this section of the property. It’s just south of Oodnadatta on the Ooodnadatta Track.
Two things stand out about this old telegraph station. The first – how substantial the buildings are. The second – the beauty of the surround landscape.
It was one of 12 repeater stations between Adelaide and Darwin and its completion brought Australia closer into contact with London via telegrams when news could arrive in around 24 hours instead of months.
Getting back to my point about an expedition to the moon….back in 1872 or thereabouts when the telegraph line opened between Adelaide and Darwin this was remote in the extreme. To get here people had to cover some of the most rugged and dangerous country in the world and be completely self sufficient at the same time.
36,000 poles and 3,200 kilometres of wire were used to link the two cities at a time when explorers had only just before passed through or died only a few years before.
A project of epic proportions.
Looking at tombstones in the bush is an interesting pastime……there’s always a story behind every one.
A case in point is the grave of Benjamin Daggett, accidentally shot in the kitchen of the Anna Creek station homestead in outback South Australia back in April 1883.
“Erected by his friends and fellow workmen” says the inscription.
No mention of cheating in a game of cards that’s rumoured to have led to the shooting.
The details lost in the the sands of time.
Thanks to all those people who sent me emails with best wishes for the opening of my Lake Eyre exhibition. It was a successful evening with lots of positive feed back from those who attended.
Everyone enjoyed themselves…..a relaxed group, a great meal and entertainment provided by local musiician and songwriter John O’Dea which went into the early hours next morning.
I’ll spare you the pictures.
This old wheel barrow reminded me of a story told to me by Keith Nicholls, an old chap who lived almost all his life running a sheep station at Warraweena near Beltana in the Flinders Ranges.
Keith was 86 when he died but he remembered as a young lad a bloke who lived in the area who was out of work.
The chap heard there was work going at Broken Hill, more than 300 kilometres away as the crow flies and over some pretty inhospitable country.
As old Keith told the story, the bloke set off with his worldly belongings in a wheel barrow, only to find when he got to Broken Hill there wasn’t any work there, so he turned around and came home.
There’s not too many people who could do that today – we’ve all grown a bit soft.
I believe this wheel barrow was a bit younger than the one in Keith’s story. It looked like it might have had a rubber wheel in its heyday, but I suspect it too had a pretty hard life.
It might have been a mild summer and it certainly went out on a soggy note but I’m not finished with it yet.
Shooting in summer, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon can often produce really vivid colours.
However photographing outside of these times, particularly in the middle of the day brings dramatic tones that illustrate the harsh summer conditions of Outback South Australia.
Old ruins, like these at Partacoona station between Quorn and Hawker in the Flinders Ranges show how hard life would have been for the early settlers.
Not even a tree for shade.
Heading home from Adelaide yesterday and it was a typical summer day…washed out colours across the land, the chance of a thunderstorm in the air, hot and dusty.
Passing through a little one horse town called Black Rock, one of the old ruins there fitted in real well with the rest of the scene.
Black Rock is between Peterborough and Orooroo in South Australia’s mid north. The old pub is the main feature lovingly restored and maintained as a gallery and tea rooms by local artist Bud Stephenson.
The ruins here are a bit far gone for a restoration but the raised dust near the wind mill added a bit of a pointer to how the day was heading.
Some old fences are just standing out for a photograph.
The wooden posts seem to get more texture with age.They go in all sorts of crazy angles, the wire adding to the chaos.
In this digital age colour rules, but sometimes it takes away from what the photo is all about.
That’s where black and white still has a real place in photography.
It allows the viewer to focus on what is the real story.
f22, 1/40th sec, ISO 200 hand held. Focal length 180mm
Taken at Nilpena Station, northern Flinders Ranges adjacent to the iconic and now disused wool shed.
This old residence looks like it has a human face…with a little imagination of course.
It is on the way out no doubt, but was once full of life and hope.
Looking at at the windows from the inside gives the sadder picture when someone walked away with no further use for it. The dust on the window sill……..
The peeling paint, the long disused cooking utensils, all signs of terminal decay.
One of the many fascinating old ruins that dot the landscape throughout the Flinders Ranges and the Outback with a silent story to tell.
Same stones – different story. The heat of summer. A whirley-wind far off in the background.