Thursday, 12 April 2012

Ulysses AGM at Mildura – Mungo Part 1

This was by far the highlight of our trip.

Mungo National Park is about 120kms north of Mildura, with nearly 90kms of the road being unsealed, sandy and corrugated.  Not the best for Garry’s cruiser bike.  Therefore, we arranged to visit with Harry Nanya’s Tours for a sunset tour.  They were fantastic. The company is run by two aboriginal brothers. 

We were collected at the campsite in a coaster bus for the trip out.  This is what most of the road was like.

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It reminded me of the road where we came a cropper on the bike near Cobar some years ago, so I was glad we were in the bus.  We were also in the dust of a truck for much of the way and there was not breeze.

We had Roger as our guide for the day.  He was terrific.  He is local to the area, knows the aboriginal culture and history, the prehistory, the scientific findings, plays the didgeridoo and even tells a good joke. He also had the biggest smile.

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The area is known as the Willandra Lake Region and has World Heritage status.  The lakes have long since dried out creating the stark region we now have.  Our first stop was Lake Arumpo for afternoon tea.

We are so lucky to be seeing this area in a good season.  A couple of years ago there was no green vegetation at all.  It would have been a very desolate sight indeed.

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The cypress is native to the area, but there aren’t many left, as they were used for building materials.  They are the only wood that is resistant to the local termites.

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There were some little daisies flowering.

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Saltbush makes up a large part of the vegetation.  There are several varieties.

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There are also quite a few of these too.  This chap wasn’t too phased by us being there.  He just sat and watched us for ages.  He was only about 30 metres from us all.

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Next stop was at the National Parkes and Wildlife Visitors Centre.  It is a great spot.  Roger gave us a demonstration of the didgeridoo and told us about the original “Harry Nanya”.  He was one of the very last aborigines living in the traditional way.  Roger is descended from him.

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This small short didgeridoo is an emu caller.  The black stuff on the end is resin made from spinafex grass.  Apparently the spinafex is only just starting to come back now, after the long drought.

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The Visitors Centre is on the sight of the homestead of “Mungo Station”.  Surprisingly, the name “Mungo” is from Scotland, not aboriginal.  The homestead is still there but not open to the public.  We did however have a wander around the old shearing shed.

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The interior still has that distinctive odour, even though the last shearing took place in 1978.

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It is constructed of cypress pine, as is to be expected.  Just look at how it is held together.

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Round cypress for the gates and floor, all still in perfect order.

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It is hard to imagine that this shed is nearly 150 years old.

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Originally there were 30 stands of blade shearers, but that number reduced as technology improved, ending up with only five stands.

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Outside again.

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Even the old yards are cypress and held together with a really heavy gauge wire.

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We had now worked up an appetite for our picnic tea.

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Everything was so nice and cold and fresh.  There was a locally made bush tomato relish which went very nicely with the home cooked corned beef.  Just what we needed.

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Now we were re-energised for the most famous part of the park and the sunset.  As I have so many happy snaps, I’ll put them on a separate post.

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