Tuesday 11/10/16 and it was a windy drive south from Carnarvon to Wooramel Station, on the Wooramel River. Another upside down river which flows only 2-3 times a year, and then for only a few days at a time.
We received a warm welcome from Angie, followed by a warm 36 degree day, and booked in for a week.
The flies were very friendly and we ate under “the bridal veil “.
The hot water artesian spas here are 33 degrees out of the ground and are in a great setting for happy hour.
We were up early on Wednesday and gathered some wood in the river bed.
Cooked a loaf of bread in the weber, and a lamb roast in the camp oven. Each camp site here has a fire place. Another 36 degree day, but the wind had eased quite a bit. Baby galah were being fed in the trees around us and we spotted a pair of sacred kingfishers.
Thursday saw us setting off on a drive around part of the station, and a visit to the old woolshed which had its last shearing in 2006. The property now runs Dorper/Damara sheep which don’t need shearing, as they shed what wool they have, and are breed for their meat.
Friday we did the riverside walk and wandered around the historical tip where Dawn spotted an echidna. After a long walk we enjoyed our soak in the spa.
Saturday 15/10 was very windy again and we went for a bush walk across the river where we came across acres of discarded grape vines and infrastructure. ( More on this later).
We had drinks with our neighbours, Laurie and Paula and then put up the full annexe, for the first time, as protection against the wind and to stop the gas fridge blowing out.
We met the red wine drinking moth which can empty a glass in one dive. “Rouge vin extractus.”
Sunday was spent in camp battened down against the wind, and on Monday we extended our stay for a further week. Walked about 8 km to a stock water hole and windmill and saw some red roos on the way home, after crossing the river to return to camp.
Another soak in the spa and we caught up with “Damper John” on his way home from Bullara. We cooked another camp oven dinner and shared some stories together.
At happy hour on Wednesday, I read a poem which I had written following our visit to the woolshed. Justin and Rachael invited us to share dinner with them the following night at the homestead, and Justin explained about the grape vines. They had been successful for 25 years supplying table grapes, earlier than most, into the Australian market. The operation had continued to expand and employ a considerable number of people. The “wise government” of the day signed a free trade agreement and the U.S. dumped grapes onto the market here at less than the cost of production. The whole deal folded.
When we were at Bullara we learned that they were almost forced off the land when the Gillard Gov’t pulled the pin overnight on live-stock export to Indonesia. They lost almost 2 years income thanks to that ill-conceived move. We have heard so many similar stories while staying on properties and in country towns over the past year. I was prompted to write yet another poem, Polly Tishuns.
Dinner at the homestead with Justin, Rachael and family was a special occasion and they asked me to read the poems, which are included at the end of this post. Their two girls performed some great karaoke and dance routines for us.
Saturday was Dawn’s birthday and we celebrated with a special brekkie omelette, fresh baked bread and a camp oven roast beef dinner. Our neighbours, Joseph and Rhonda from Sunshine Coast, Greg and Sue from Perth and Graham from Yamba joined us around the camp fire after dinner for a yarn.
I went on a drive out to Hackett’s Bend with Neil who was checking the bore water troughs and re-setting the windmills. We saw emus, goats, dorper sheep and of course the AngusxDroughtmaster cattle which are run here.
One of the baby galahs fell out of its nest and we gave it some food and water and put it up in a tree for mum to feed.
Yet another poem materialised.
On Tuesday 25th we said our goodbyes and after filling The Burrow’s tanks with bore water we set off for Hamelin Station further south.
This has been another very memorable stay with some lovely people whose hearts are wedded to this unique part of Australia.
GHOSTS OF WOORAMEL
Green leaves shimmer in the harsh sunlight beside the upturned river,
Silver gums say that water passed this way, an inland rain the giver.
Trunks and flailing limbs frozen in time, gleam a silvery white,
A burst of red gives way to lesser lights as sentinels of the night.
Gums now glow with a ghostly sheen bathed in softer beams,
And a gentle breeze allows the trees to speak their secret dreams.
Murmurings gently fill the air as galahs bed down their young.
Night softly settles as spirits sway to the rhythm of songs once sung.
The shadows of shearers long since gone, soon make the numbers swell,
Revealing tales of the history here, these Ghosts of Wooramel.
Of mobs so big and so far flung they took a month to muster
Another month to see them shorn with a minimum of fluster.
Tales of ringers, rousies, pressies, penner uppers and shearer’s cooks
Of bullock trains and dreams of rains, of sweat and dirty looks.
Of a ringer setting a cracking pace to be beaten with a cheer.
Of aching backs and sweat filled eyes and longing for a beer.
Tales of friendship, love and mateship, in this unforgiving land,
Of attempts to rule and master it beside the river filled with sand.
So many stories, some so grand, they make your heart to swell
To the sounds and sense of belonging, with the Ghosts of Wooramel.
Sounds like a woman trying to sneeze!
They have major parties and often get quite raucous some of them even form a bloody caucus.
“What do they care?” asked the sad eyed lad, looking for an answer from his worn out Dad.
Knowing that the family could be leaving the farm because the pollies and fat cats were doing them harm.
“Why do they do it?” Asked the sad eyed lad, looking for an answer from his worn out Dad.
“Where’s the sense in ploughing all the crops into the ground, all because the pollies thought to change the rules around?”
“What can we do? “asked the sad eyed lad, looking for an answer from his worn out Dad.
“We’ve beaten fires, droughts and cyclones and even flooding rain. Be buggered if we’ll let these jerks send us down the drain.
With their well-lined pockets and endless superannuation. Let’s tell ém where to shove it Dad and show some dedication.”
“So how can we do it?” asked the sad eyed lad, looking for an answer from his worn out Dad.
Hoping to inspire him, to lift his flagging spirits, as these bloody polly tishuns were giving him the irrits.
With many markets weakened or dried up beyond the pail, the banks were squeezing hard and there were letters in the mail.
“I’ll sell my little pony and give up school a while, to stand with you and fight ém.” said the lad with half a smile.
Dad smiled a loving smile and his chest puffed out with pride, “there’s no way that we will leave here with you standing at my side.”
“I know that we can do it.” Said the bright eyed lad pleased to see some brightness in his dear old Dad.
“Let’s take each day one at a time and see how we are led, we can oust these polly tishuns and leave them all for dead.”
THE LITTLE AUSSIE BATTLER
Poof! That was a hell of a drop with the landing not the best.
A ten metre fall ended with a flop when I fell out of my nest.
Thanks for putting me in the tree, I’ll try to climb up high
To where my mum will find me and teach me how to fly.
Thanks again for putting me back and for the drink and feed.
Sorry I bit your finger Jack, I hope it didn’t bleed.
Mum found me there and fed me while Dad nudged me even higher.
I’m getting so much stronger see and soon I’ll be a flyer.
I slipped and fell and tried again with pink and grey feathers flustered.
I think I’ll beat this flying game before it gets me busted.