Day 40: Whyalla to Spear Creek

Thankfully by the time we awoke the wind had subsided – were we ever happy about that! So just the usual breakfast, pack up, grab a pic of Steve leaving and off to do my artwork for the day. I do try and have an idea in mind beforehand so that I’m ready to go, and I had already determined that a view of the steel works was a must as this seems to be the defining feature of Whyalla.

When in town yesterday I had seen that there was a lookout overlooking the steelworks that might be a good place to set up, Hummock Hill lookout, and this proved to be the case. Aquarelle crayons over a water soluble graphite drawing was today’s choice of media – but as such works take quite a bit of time, and the subject was quite complex, I didn’t get too far with it, another one to be completed at a later date.

A few people stopped by as I worked, a fellow who was just contracted as a fire inspector for the steelworks, and then a young family from Melbourne, though the father was French. He had several close encounters with brain cancer sufferers – his mother and a young neighbour, but happily both had good outcomes so far. His mother, after eight years cancer free, was about to undergo a new treatment of targeted laser therapy in France for a new tumour – it sounded very promising.

I took a few pics from the other side of the lookout overlooking the ocean and the town before setting off to meet Steve.

Steve and I had tried to organise another radio interview in Port Augusta as we would be passing through there today, but due to staff shortages at the local station this was not possible. Instead we decided to try the local paper. Steve had made really good time with the more favourable winds so he had an interview all organised and then relaxed at the Tassie Tavern while he waited for me to arrive.

The landscape as we left Whyalla was arid saltbush dotted with some low trees, somewhat like parts of the Nullarbor. It wasn’t long however before low ranges appeared – we were heading into the Flinders Ranges, a welcome sight. A water pipeline accompanied the highway for much of the way, and about halfway between Whyalla and Port Augusta there was a series of huge watertanks covered in graffiti: the subject for a future Jeff Smart inspired work perhaps?

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Sadly there was also a massive memorial to a father and his two sons from Port Pirie that had died in a horrific accident a year or two ago. Clearly a deeply felt loss.

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I arrived in plenty of time to have a delicious prawn and mango salad for lunch before we met with Kara from the Transcontinental at the old pier.20160108_145207 You can read the story here. After a pleasant chat with Kara, we both got back on the road to head out to Spear Creek, a rather out of the way spot about 20 or so km from Port Augusta.

With an amazing backdrop of the Flinders Ranges we travelled on a very bumpy minor road through more arid saltbush until we came to the oasis that is the Spear Creek Caravan Park – if you get the opportunity you really should check it out – the managers gave us free accommodation when we booked, huge thanks. Beautiful 400 yo river red gums shade the lovely grassed sites, and the camp kitchen and other facilities are fantastic.

 

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Best of all, we had the place to ourselves, just the temporary caretakers, Erica and Tony, a few wallabies and some very noisy galahs above us (they are endemic so far on our journey – they seem to be everywhere). We also spotted some gorgeous parrots or lorikeets, just a little too quick for us to get a good look. Pasta for dinner, a bit of TV (not so out of the way in some respects) a gorgeous sunset, then bed. We knew the temperatures were set to rise in the coming days, so needed an early night.

 

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