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Trip to Central Australia

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 12:30 am
I have just come back from a trip to Central Australia, and I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a travel diary thing - for anyone who wants to hear about it, (since we do get a number of tourist type questions here), and might be thinking of going.

And just for fun. Cos it was.

Anyone else with knowledge of the Centre please feel free to join in!!!!!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 12,599 • Replies: 72
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 12:39 am
Ok - I flew out last Saturday week - using one of those cheap ticket websites - in this case, lastminute.com. They are cheap - the killer is you cannot cancel or change the booking. If you cancel, phooey - your money is gone - if you change, you add a normal fare to the amount you have already paid.

I did manage to extract a cancellation from the hotel I was booked into, in a previous failed planned trip - but the circumstances, as I recounted them, were heart-rending!

It cost AUD$346 - return from Adelaide, for cattle class, which is pretty cheap.

Alice Springs, where I was meeting me mate, is an easy one and three quarter hours flying time from Adelaide.

I was in an aisle seat - so I didn't see much of the country getting up there, but I would say it is pretty much desert - and red desert at that - most of the way.

Not sand-dune type desert, though there are lovely, deep-red sand dunes, moored by vegetation and seemingly having given up their nomadic existence for a settled one, closer to Uluru (Ayer's Rock) when we drove there the next day. And I mean RED!!!!!

Until you reach the Simpson Desert, which is not all that far from Alice, there is lots of vegetation - sparse, but - from afar - very soft looking.

I will find you some pics!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 12:45 am
Here is a nice map:

http://www.outback-guide.de/maps/big/map_2001.gif


Here is a dry river bed near town:

http://www.moxon.net/images/australia/alice_springs2.jpg


The town:

http://www.moxon.net/images/australia/alice_springs1.jpg
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australia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 01:33 am
Have you been to Cooberpedy? I always wanted to know what it is like.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 04:22 am
Keep those words and pics coming, Deb. I'm watching and listening. (Place looks like Arizona.)
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 05:46 am
Thankee - here is a brief account of Alice Springs:

town, Northern Territory, Australia. It is the main focus of the Centre, a name given to approximately 100,000 square miles (260,000 square km) of central Australia that includes large areas of desert and rocky ridges. Alice Springs lies on the intermittent Todd River and the Stuart Highway, 1,028 road miles (1,654 km) north of Adelaide and 954 miles (1,535 km) south of Darwin. The town originated in 1871 as a station on the Overland Telegraph Line, which crossed the MacDonnell Ranges through Heavitree Gap. The present site was surveyed in 1889, and the town was declared in 1890 under the name Stuart, after the explorer John McDouall Stuart.

Alice Springs is now the northern terminus of the Central Australia Railway, which was extended from Oodnadatta in 1929. The rail line and the cross-continental Stuart Highway have made the town a major shipping point for beef cattle and minerals (gold, copper, wolfram [tungsten], mica). Irrigation allows limited fruit and dairy farming. There are small plants making fibrous plaster, soft drinks, sheet metal, joinery, and bricks.

Tourism is of prime importance; during the mild winter months (May to September) thousands flock to the town, which has become an exploration base for the Centre. They may also attend such celebrations as Henley on the Todd, a ?boat race? on the dry riverbed in which the boats are carried by runners. Alice Springs, which was the capital of the short-lived Territory of Central Australia (1926?31), is a regional headquarters for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air (public education by radio for outback children). Its original telegraph station has been designated a national park. Pop. (1996) 27,092.



It is rich in history for Australia - it carries the headquarters of the Flying Doctor Service - an institution dear to anyone who knows anything about what it is like to live in real isolation in the Outback.

http://www.flyingdoctor.net/history.htm


Its founder, Dr John Flynn's, (a revered figure in Oz history) grave is just outside the town, looking out to the magnificent West McDonnell Ranges (more of these later). Brung a lump to my throat, it did - I come from an outback family on me mum's side - so I grew up with the language and history of such things as this deeply engrained.

http://www.abc.net.au/btn/australians/flynn.htm

Here is his grave:

http://www.sgs.adl.catholic.edu.au/outback/images/alicearea/flynnmem.jpg
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 05:50 am
australia wrote:
Have you been to Cooberpedy? I always wanted to know what it is like.


No - I have known a number of folk who have taught there and such.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 05:57 am
Other major historical items:

Central point of the great enterprise to string a telegraph line the length of Australia - oops - in fact, I just read that the springs after which the town is named were discovered during surveying for the telegraph!!

http://www.wilmap.com.au/alice_springs/as_history.html


This telegraph project was a huge one - imagine stringing this line in the terrible heat - the line was broken often when Aboriginal people - attracted to the bright glass insulation devices - used to take them to wear, and birds were also attracted to various bits and pieces!

It helped open up the continent.

http://www.wilmap.com.au/alice_springs/as_otl.html

More about telegraphy in Oz:

http://www.caslon.com.au/austelecomsprofile1.htm

Of course, it has never worked as fast as the famed Bush Telegraph!

Here is the Old Telegraph Station - preserved within its own little National Park:

Edit (Moderator): Image converted to link as per website owner's request

http://www.vonwentzel.net/Wedding/Week06/01-06-28/DSCN3598-pp.jpg
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 06:09 am
Actually, I will get ahead of myself - cos it's so lovely.


The Alice is also a centre for the booming Aboriginal art industry.

As well as traditional art forms, often of immense power and beauty (though - being mainly recountings of sacred Dreamtime stories, and ceremonies, details which may not be seen by uninitiated people are left out - and men and women may never see the more sacred bits of each others' ceremonies and story representations) - many artists are branching out into non-traditional art forms.

A pioneer in this was Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira (I will give you some sites for him later) - who became a famed landscape painter - at great cost to himself, as he was caught between two worlds.

Anyhoo - he came from the Hermannsburgh Mission - and his people, and descendants, are still making great stuff.

Of current great fame are a group of women known as the Hermannsburgh Potters -

and here is some of their work!!!!!

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/works-mainframe.html

As you can see (AND GO LOOK< OK?!) they are branching out from pots to paintings - which, as far as I can see, are becoming increasingly abstract.

Ah - I will whet yer appetite: hope they work

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/po8.jpg

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/po9.jpg

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/po17.jpg

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/pa3.jpg

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/pa14.jpg

http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/pa12.jpg


here is their website:

http://www.hermannsburgpotters.com.au/

More:

http://www.anat.org.au/potters/Default.html

Me feller is buying a fabulous painting!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 06:27 am
http://www.assoa.nt.edu.au/ (for deb for a further post)
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Dec, 2004 04:41 pm
Stunningly beautiful! That is art with a capital Hey.
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 01:59 pm
good going, Deb!

Waiting for the Uluru part.....
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 04:54 pm
We;re all waiting with bated breath.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 06:21 pm
Waiting.

<tap tap tap>
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goodfielder
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 01:16 pm
australia wrote:
Have you been to Cooberpedy? I always wanted to know what it is like.


I was stationed there for a couple of years back in the early 1970s and have been back many times for work and pleasure. It's pretty much a dusty mining town that has a nice little sideline in tourism nowadays.

http://www.opalcapitaloftheworld.com.au/

And Central Australia is truly stunning. I reckon you need a good week in Alice Springs to get a thorough look around, there's much to see. Uluru is a magnificent sight and site but there is much else to see as well. If someone comes to Australia and doesn't get away from the east coast then they're missing out on something unique.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 01:21 pm
http://wag.harryscollar.com/exhib/AllFiredUp/images/po8.jpg

Very cool stuff. I love the coloring. Very Clarice Cliffish.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 01:29 pm
This pot, extracted from Dlowan's "Hermannburg potters' website, is one of my favorites. Very whimsical. I am seriously considering acquiring one of the pieces.....

http://www.anat.org.au/potters/images/forsale/lrfrog.jpg
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 01:46 pm
The pots and paintings are a delight to see, thank you for the links. (and I'm enjoying your trip...)
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 01:59 pm
is the tour over? or just abandoned
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2005 02:06 pm
Kinda abandoned.

I was thinking about it today - but I have 2 job applications to write first!!!

The pots ARE fabulous, aren't they, Gus?
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