Day 6. To Clare.

26 August 2021. Words by Andy Le Roy. Images by Creolumen.


There’s so much to explore in Ikara and although our time had come to an end, we were curious about the Wilpena station site. Breakfast first, where a disgruntled old gentleman decided to throw a tantrum with the food service staff because one of the items was off the menu until the the next food delivery tomorrow. His wife and daughter sorted things out after he stormed off. I hope he had only just arrived, because if he’s several days in, he’s got a loooooot of unwinding to do.

Raisin toast, no hash browns, but pineapple juice and coffee. A final look at the five-hundred-year-old-tree and it was time to pack up and hit the road, but not for too long because a few hundred metres up the road was the turnoff for the Old Wilpena Station. Sure, we couldn’t do the hike there, but a drive there and wandering around the grounds was just as good.





Further afield is the old cattle run and several other sheds and huts that made up the station. It was all easy walking and interesting to see the old living quarters, tools and equipment used by the people who used to work the land in the area. There was also a feature on the introduction of wire to the area, which revolutionised the way the land was managed. Wire fencing was cheap and meant animals could more easily be kept within a property’s confines. Shepherds weren’t needed any more to herd animals between the landmarks of boundary lines. Herd movement could now be more efficiently managed by drovers on horseback.

The main homestead has been restored and is well maintained, serving as the National Park administration office. Interpretive signage around the site tells of the history of the station and its various buildings. Heritage roses have been replanted in the gardens, and a wisteria still grows over an archway leading from the veranda. There is also a jacaranda, pre-bloom, in the yard, its golden buds not quite ready to burst into life.

The site is bigger than we anticipated. More than a homestead, there is also a store (featuring unique rodent-proof suspended shelving), a blacksmith’s shop, which has remnants of its working days including the forge, anvil, blacksmith tools and artefacts like horseshoes and nails. The blacksmith’s hut is still intact as well, featuring two very modest rooms - one with a bed, and one with a table and crates for chairs.



Further afield was a cattle run and several other sheds and huts that made up the station. It was all easy walking and interesting to see the old living quarters, tools and equipment used by the people who used to work the land in the area. There was also a feature on the introduction of wire to the area, which revolutionised the way the land was managed. Wire fencing was cheap and meant animals could more easily be kept within a property’s confines. Shepherds weren’t needed any more to herd animals between the landmarks of boundary lines. Herd movement could now be more efficiently managed by drovers on horseback.



Back in the car, we drove south, heading for our current destination, Clare. The rugged and rocky ranges and countryside continued as we headed back through Hawker, stopping off for a bite and a cuppa before looking for the turnoff to Clare, rather than head back through Quorn and Port Augusta.

RM Williams Way branches off to the east and provides a direct route from the Northern Flinders Ranges to the Southern Flinders Ranges. There are farmhouse ruins dotted along the way, more than I’ve ever seen in one area, suggesting that farms thrived there from the mid to late nineteenth century.

The landscape transitions to softer fields and hills where various crops and herds are farmed. The vibrant dark green of canola offset against the fields of yellow flowering crops make for a colourful patchwork against a backdrop of ranges that just seem to go on forever. In a good way.

The skies also offered a variety of conditions with patches of blue and grey. In the distance we could see rain falling across different parts of the ranges which must easily have been a couple of hundred kilometres apart from each other in the distance. We drove through some light rain at a couple of points, but not enough to wash the car.



We passed through Carrieton, Eurelia, Orroroo, Jamestown and Spalding before branching off to Burra for a look at the old open cut mine. Burra is somewhere we need a good amount of time to explore with an eleven kilometre circuit of the old townships and mine sites that made up the separate townships that now form Burra. It’s a great looking town and only thirty k’s from where we’re staying for the next couple of nights, so we’ll see what else takes our fancy along the way.

Arriving in Clare, we drove up the main street, then back down in the direction we were meant to head towards our accommodation, The Mill Apartments. It’s a bit more posh, and you’ll be happy to know we encountered another angry old man who decided it just wasn’t good enough he had to ring for someone to come and greet him at check in. I’m done with the angry old-man energy now, so hopefully he’s taken a chill pill.

After quickly getting settled, we drove to the nearest car wash… it really did need it. It was kind of like being on an episode of Supermarket Sweep as we raced to beat the clock to get through the various cycles at the wash bay. At one point, we lost a good ten seconds when we didn’t see the hose on the other side of the bay spurting protectant meant for the care against the wall. All ended well, though, and the car is pretty close to its sparkling self again.

There’s a trail called the Riesling Trail that follows the old Clare railway line to Auburn, and there’s a bicycle hire place 700 metres from where it begins where we can hire electric bikes. What could possibly go wrong? It looks like tomorrow’s activity is waiting!


Day 7?

Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square