Sunday 24 September 2023

Our Latest Travels - Southern Flinders Ranges

This trip seemed to be broken up into different sections and next we were embarking on the Flinders Ranges section.  We last visited this area in 1989. Blimey!  Where did that time go?
As we drove towards Quorn we saw more farmhouse ruins.
The Flinders Ranges could be seen in the distance.

We spent most of the morning in Quorn.  It was a lot more vibrant than the small towns we had recently visited.  Being on the tourist trail certainly makes a difference.
Quorn is at the south of the Flinders Ranges and was established as a rail head in the late 1870s.  The rail, known as “The Ghan”, gradually extended further north as far as Alice Springs.  The line was eventually replaced and fell into disrepair.  In more recent times the line from Quorn to Port Augusta was re-established as a tourist line and is very popular.  We weren’t around at a time to go for a ride.
There was a very new garden area behind the Council offices.  Mick was taken with the metal walkway which has been planted with happy wanderer to climb over it.
There are lots of beautiful old buildings. 
There were also several lovely murals.
We were really taken with their war memorial.  As well as a traditional cross, there was a series of sculptures made from bird wire netting.  What a talented artist.
Heading further north we visited the site of the old Kanyaka Station, which was one of the largest pastoral runs in the Flinders Ranges.  The ruins are in exceptional condition.
It was established in 1851 and ended up being the size of a small village, employing up to 70 families.
The woolshed was most impressive.  At its height, some 40,000 sheep were shorn on Kanyaka Station. Keeping in mind that this was all blade shearing, with 24 stands. Mick put his drone up, which shows the scale of just the woolshed.  The building at the rear was some of the shearers’ quarters.  Notice how different the vegetation is from only a day previously.
We visited Kanyaka Station back in 1989 and I wanted to recreate a photo I took back then.
Look at that young whippersnapper.  That is some solid sunny.
Here he is some 34 years later.  Still sporting a flanno shirt and hat. Maybe the hair under the hat has changed colour somewhat.  No, he hasn’t shrunk, he is just standing to the back of the building. The building hasn’t deteriorated very much in that time.

So, why is this impressive property a ruin?  It too was a victim of the drought in the 1860s like so many others.
The next little area we came to was the site of the small town and railway station of Wilson.  Only the station master’s house ruin remains.  It was settled in those bumper years in the late 1870s, outside of the Goyder Line. However, in the long term, this was considered “about as waterless a place as they could have picked”.  The closest water source was 5kms away and the well was unreliable.  For the years 1913 to 1914, there was only a total of 500mm of rain for the two years.  Eventually, everyone gave up on the place and left.
The other main town in the Flinders is Hawker, though nowhere near as vibrant as Quorn.  The old Ghan railway station is now a restaurant.
Mick and his mates travelled in this area in the early 1980s, on their working holiday and crashed a birthday party at this pub, camping over the road in what is now a park.  Different times.
We were gradually getting closer to the main Flinders Ranges.
Our destination for the  next two nights was Rawnsley Park Station, a working sheep station that also has a caravan park, cabins, small store, petrol station and restaurant.  It is located just to the south of the famous Wilpena Pound.  The campground was rather busy, with all powered sites already booked.  We were quite pleased to have an unpowered site, as there were lots of lovely sites to utilise.
Just for fun, this was our setup in 1989, camped at Wilpena Pound -Mick’s very rough old XB Falcon work ute with a Millard slide on camper.  It worked really well and we took it lots of places, albeit rather slowly.
Time for afternoon tea of passion fruit slice that we had bought at the little craft shop in Quorn.  Yummo.
After that we went for a late afternoon walk around.  There is a rather large dam just behind the campground.
Lots of bird life. This is a ring necked parrot.
Beautiful afternoon light.
Wilpena Pound in the background.
What a view.
A nice little fire to finish off another wonderful day.


ButterZ said...

Oh boy, we do have a lot to learn from you. I do love the photos from way back then and now. They are so much fun. Can’t wait for our van.

Susan Smith said...

Oh my! You have just taken me back to 1992 in MM on our first trip with Morris Minor Touring Club of Australia, which was to the Flinders Ranges, visiting most of those places along the way and staying at Rawnsley Park which was great. Thanks for the lovely trip down memory lane. Take care & hugs.

loulee said...

LOL Love the then and now shots.

Raewyn said...

As Lou said, the then and now photos are great. Another interesting post Janice. My Aunties have just done the Ghan train trip from top to bottom(?). They loved it. I really enjoy seeing what these small towns do to attract the tourists and income.

jude's page said...

Another interesting post Janice, love all the info that you give about where you are.