25 October 2009 - Marriage Lines (Blinman)
G'day. Blinman (population 20) is the nearest town north of Wilmena Pound in the heart of the Flinders Ranges, on the edge of the South Australian desert. We stayed a couple of days in Blinman Cottage, a restored 1800s miners stone house with corrugated iron extensions and original gas lights. This is mining country and Blinmen once boasted a mine where 10,000 tonnes of copper was extracted. Consequently the natural water is contaminated and the kitchen sink had three taps - hot, cold and drinking. Nowadays there is little left, just a General Store, Pub (we would call it a hotel), Post Office, Memorial Hall, Gallery and Internet Cafe (useful for sending back these travelogues). A small stone building with a corrugated iron roof was once the local hospital and a chap I spoke to mentioned that the local community (all 20 of them) wanted to restore it but couldn't trace who owned it. In the High Street (the only street) was a British-style Red Telephone Box - made of wood.
Breakfast brought the quote of the trip so far, with the tempting smell of bacon coming from the kitchen, "Put it in front of me and I'll eat it!" has been repeated since with regularity.
We made one expedition out from Blinman, about 60k north-east to Chambers Gorge, along the creek bed in the 4WD and then a walk to find aboriginal petroglyphs carved on the rocks. These were made by repeatedly hitting the rock with a harder stone to produce a series of interconnecting pits forming geometric circles and other symbolic shapes. It was also in Chambers Gorge that Audrey and George heard a rustling in the undergrowth and on investigation spotted an Achidna (like a large hedgehog) rummaging for a meal. We followed it for some while but it never fully appeared out of the dense bush for our cameras. On returning to Blinman we stopped at an old Wind Pump, slowly revolving in the slight breeze, creaking slightly on its foundations and uttering a gentle squeak at every turn. Adrian will be working on an exhibition of outback life after this holiday so we recorded the sound on my camera. My fee will be modest . . .
Phil the Pom