Land of extremes

A little over a week ago I was home on the mountain watching the morning sunlight stream through my damp green forest, marvelling and grateful as always.

I am now in so foreign a landscape as to seem like another planet.

On Thursday night, after speaking in Barcaldine, I followed my hosts’ dust cloud through gates and over grids, dodging kamikaze kangaroos, for about half an hour, but across what seemed like the Nullarbor in the dark, and woke up to this.

This is ‘the Downs’; no specific name like the Darling Downs, Denice and Ian Campbell tell me. It’s like this for 360 degrees around their homestead and they love it. I think it ought to be The Downs, to match its impressiveness.

These strangely beautiful Brahmans seem to thrive here.

It is no country for people who don’t like driving, as the roads are straight and seemingly endless. Long dirt roads leading to large properties are muddy or dusty in turns. 

They are a treat compared to the tarred roads, where road trains and utes and SUVs leave a trail of roadkill like bloody punctuation marks every 10 metres or so.

Crows and wedge-tailed eagles flap and rise as I approach and twice I saw a feral cat dart back from its feed, into the grass.

I’m a long way from home.

4 thoughts on “Land of extremes”

  1. Hi
    Now I have discovered Sharyns pages of awareness to the potential spoilers of the wide brown land that our mostly convict forebears were battered & beaten by politics and “silver tails” while discovering the fertile, unfertile, scrubs & forests, mountains & plains “etc” of our “wonderland”. Now the spoilers have set their sights on the vast cattle stations and wilderness of this land, it’s not that they want to grow cattle ,sheep “etc” above ground it’s what is under the surface they have their sights on, and if what is underground here, one can only assume that subterranean spoils are under the rest of “Aussie”. Remember the Kimberlies were once large cattle establishments. If you can’t beat them “DON’T JOIN THEM” large tracts of land are still held by foriegn owners and have been for some time, at least they mostly produced beef cotton & wool and not turn the underside up. jUST A THOUGHT. Chas.

  2. Thanks Ross & Lillian,
    So far only one antagonistic encounter. I hope some of these lovely western towns like Barcaldine retain their individual character and don’t become mining slaves.

  3. Yes, it looks different and, yes, you are a long way from home but we have been thinking about you and hoping the talks are attracting lots of friendly people. I’m sure many will be inspired to ‘ramp up’ their campaign to stop Clive Palmer and his mates taking over Queensland and turning it into a gigantic open cut mine.
    Ross and Lillian

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