Redcliffe Pier

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MARREE (South Australia-PART 7 )

As we returned to Marree from our scenic flight over Lake Eyre I mused at the thought of our next excursion, which was a tour of the town of Marree. I didn't think it would take long to see this tiny outback town surrounded by desert.
Marree
After lunch at the hotel we were taken to the outskirts of town where there was an old cemetary. There were three sections. A muslim area, an aboriginal area and a European area.
While we were reading the interesting head stones a willy-willy started up right near us. That is where the hot temperatre of the ground rises up and causes a strong wind in a circular motoin, similar to a mini tornado. It lifts up the sand and loose vegetation and scoots across the ground. (above) Ann is getting stung by the sand being whipped into her legs. If you look really hard you can see the the willy-willy just right of the righthand grave. You can see the grass clumps whirling in the air. After this shot I hid my camera under my shirt, hung onto my hat and shut my eyes.
In the muslim section there were some very big graves. We were told that the tradition in the early days of the muslim cameleers was that when the cameleer died his lead camel was buried with him. The grave above is a big one. Afghan and Indian  cameleers were brought to Australia in the 1800's to run the caravans delivering goods throughout the interior of Australia.

This is a replica of the very first mosque built in Australia last century.

The disused railway station at Maree. The reason so many of these towns are dying is that the north south rail link between Adelaide and Darwin was moved to the west. The reason Maree is still operating is mostly due to tourism connected with Lake Eyre and the Birdsville track, which starts here.  

We saw this old truck, which was supposed to have belonged to the famous mailman, Tom Kruse.(not the actor) He delivered mail on the Birdsville Track between 1936 -57. The track was very difficult to navigate in those days. It would take him between 2 weeks and 7 weeks to travel the 500km/360m due to getting bogged in sand dunes, floods and breakdowns. He was an amazing man and a film was made about him in the 50's where he played himself. It is called "Back of beyond" For more info about Tom Kruse read here. His last truck which he abandoned in the desert was retrieved in 1993 and restored to working order and it is in a museum in Adelaide. So I'm not sure what truck is in the middle of this town, maybe an earlier one.
Then we returned to our cool airconditioned donga at the back of the "Great Northern Hotel" to cool off from the 40c heat and a rest before dinner.

Poor Birthday Bear didn't have a bed so she just had to hang around in Ann and George's donga. (a metal type cabin) BTW This was what was provided as a cupboard for your clothes...one hook and one hanger. I guess we were in the desert in the middle of Austalia miles and miles from civilisation.

16 comments:

  1. Another interesting report, Diane. The willy nilly is a neat capture. I feel sorry for the mailman to be out that long delivering mail. Looks like Birthday Bear foudn a cool place to hang around.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That must be a hard living there in the heat and dust. Interesting photo's.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I cant imagine living somewhere so remote - but I would find it interesting to visit. xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fascinating! I love the old truck. What stories it could tell. The willy-willys are called dust devils here in AZ. We get them all the time in the summer. I wonder where all these names for different thing in the world come from.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very interestng Diane, and I love the remote areas. I could live in these places for awhile and just listen to the storys told to me by others, I would learn so much.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Never heard of a willy-willy wind, sounds not very comfortable. What a wild landscape and this cimetary is unique ! A real adventurous trip !

    ReplyDelete
  7. The struggle of man against nature.... for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You see? Even a tiny little place in the odd ends of the Earth with just a few people ..... all such places and people have wonderful and authentic and beautiful stories to tell.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great to see what you saw in Maree ... quite a different set of photos to mine. I'm really enjoying your trip.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Caught up with your trip to date. I am a bit concerned about the number of things on the itineray that simply do not eventuate.

    It seems very hot at this time of the year already. I am glad I went to the Kimberleys in June. My trip to Cape York is scheduled for May 10 - 22 so I hope it has cooled off a bit. I think I am close to the effects of the ocean too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I cannot imagine living in Marree---but I guess people who like deserts would like it there..

    I was interested in the willy-willy. I've never heard of such a thing. Glad you protected your camera.

    Interesting also about the camels being buried with their leader... No wonder the graves were large!!!!

    I'm not sure you and Bill would 'recommend' this trip to others.... BUT--at least, you got to see the area.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Are you for or against Oprah's visit?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Marree may have been small, but it does look very interesting. I found it interesting that a camel was buried with a cameleer in the early days. You did a good job of capturing the willy-willy.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow..and Bear got the WHOLE closet?! Yes, it does look very "out back"..sxcue the pun..

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fascinating post Diane, and like George thought the story about the camel and the cameleer was very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your post is chock full of interesting information.

    We call those willy-willies "dust devils" and this brings up something that always makes me curious...the various words different cultures use. Can't help wondering what the Muslim camel drovers called them...surely there is an Arabic word as no doubt they also occur in the Middle Eastern deserts....

    ReplyDelete