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With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

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    Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

    With Moora came the end of the journey in 2007 that will always remain fast in my memory. A journey that took me, having never slept under canvas anywhere, straight to the sparse scrub just off the Little Sandy Desert in Western Australia where I would pitch my tent at night not far from the Toyota and the tent of John and Ruth. Just the three of us in the middle of nowhere, three alone in the outback searching for an old ruin.
    A journey which, after that incredible discovery, showed me great dry river-beds,
    took me to diamond and gold mines (a private tour, they were not open to visitors), to the great port whence the iron ore which gives its colour to the Pilbara is shipped, to the leprosarium, the stromatolites, for a long, long trudge down a pier in the merciless heat, the petroglyphs, all part of this area of Western Australia that so few people know.
    Each night, my mind whirling with that day’s kaleidoscope of things seen, I quickly slept – we were always up about 5 a.m. Ducking out under the tent-flap in the small hours (usual reason!) I walked into the blackness, the silence was awe-inspiring, exhilarating. I wanted to walk ….. and walk ….. and sink into this all-enveloping night. The small circle of illumination from my head-lamp (lent me by Ruth) plus a few moments while my eyes accustomed themselves, soon enabled me to distinguish the varying shapes - clumps of vicious spinifex, the gnarled, twisted trunk of a small tree surviving despite the dryness, the low, mysterious hump of a bush – was it just a bush? During those night excursions the land beckoned, enticing me to go on. And oh, how I wanted to, how it haunts me still.
    But holding fast to common-sense and my lamp I would stumble back into the tent, trying to avoid the worst of the spinifex.
    Over at Indee, the cattle station just inland from the coast where we had later camped for a couple of nights, I thought I had memorised where the campers’ toilet and shower blocks were and bravely set off during the night. I had my head torch but experienced quite a problem locating my destination, somehow it seemed further away in the dark. Returning, I was completely disorientated and felt I was going round in circles. I probably was, and beginning to panic. Ruth and John’s tent was not far from mine, wherever that was but, determined not to call for help, I took off my lamp, swung it around and eventually saw what I recognised as the narrow, sandy path which led to our area. At least – I hoped it was “our” path. It was, that bush along the way had the right shape, and eventually – yes – there was my tent.
    On leaving Indee we soon entered civilised country, no more bumping down into and up out of gullies in uncharted ground around Mundiwindi,
    not even following a road train at a respectful distance on an unmetalled track as we went north, which resulted in clouds of dust so thick that it was almost a whiteout and I would quickly close the Toyota’s ventilator before we choked. (We just sweated harder instead!)
    Driving steadily on down the coast road we visited places which held great fascination for me, each so very different in character and interest, as a reader of this thread will know. Now we had arrived at our final visit, the small town of Moora. My heart was already sinking because this trip, vibrant with the wonder of so many places even without the emotional, scarcely believable finding of the old, ruinous building which had been its mainspring, this trip was more or less over. The pain was almost physical, crushing.
    Moora was my last link with Will for he spent a short time at the Post office here. Exactly when is not known.


    This is the memorial to the Pioneers:


    The plaque near the base reads "A symbol of appreciation of the Courage and Fortitude of the Pioneers of this area" It goes on to say that it was sponsored by the Moora Rotary Club and funds were raised by public subscription.
    I saw several memorials in King's Park, Perth to those who went out to Australia and settled in what was then comparatively unknown land. Pioneers they were indeed, and they are remembered.
    Last edited by wherrygirl; December 30th, 2012, 23:30.
    Ivy

    "To thine own self be true.......
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

    Comment


      Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

      i believe that when you are lost there in Australia,you'r really lost,
      and when you can't find your tent back in the middle of the night,
      you're really really lost.
      it's such a big empty there,if happen something,it can take days for they found you.
      best regards Thijs

      Comment


        Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

        Thijs, absolutely correct.
        Ivy

        "To thine own self be true.......
        Thou canst not then be false to any man."

        Comment


          Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

          This thread shows only one ship. There are mountain ranges but they do not rise from sparkling fjords to lift your spirits so that you soar with them. There are no quiet byways of gentle countryside, streams and attractive villages, no buildings to impress with their history and beauty. Of dramatic scenery there is none, at least not of the kind that makes you catch your breath in amazement, it is rather repetitive, some would say. The few roads do not twist and turn, rise and fall, surprising with their sudden views as you round the next bend or reach the crest. No, they just stretch on and on and on, mesmerising you with that distant perspective that never seems to get any nearer. Boring, some would say.
          And of that most precious commodity – water - there is very, very little. Very little until the Wet arrives and torrential rains driven by cyclones come in from the west. The image below shows a photo in the well known Ironclad Hotel in Marble Bar which was flooded in the rains. Scary, some would think.
          This land of the Pilbara which I have tried to portray while relating the story of our search is big. But it is a secret one. Stealing upon you if your heart and mind are open to receive, it speaks softly just once, but no more if you do not hear that first murmur.
          An Aussie who saw my photos on Flickr and wants to use a few in a short Wiki article said of this image of mine:
          “I love this photograph, it makes me want to pack my gear up and head up over to the West…..” He has never been across to WA and it was seeing the account of our journey on my website that spurred him on to start the article.
          Harsh, dry, dusty, unforgiving, but so alive with something I can't define. A Londoner born and bred though it is many years since I lived there, yet that land drew me in, I was at home there. Why, I can’t explain. John and Ruth live in Perth, and south of that city much of the country is farmland, proving a great tourist destination for its beauty. But John’s wife said to me once “John always goes north, never south.” He and I understand why. So does that Aussie above.

          Filmed at Warrawagine cattle station, east of Marble Bar:

          Last edited by wherrygirl; December 30th, 2012, 23:47.
          Ivy

          "To thine own self be true.......
          Thou canst not then be false to any man."

          Comment


            Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

            Lovely stuff Ivy, very enjoyable - especially with the wind and rain lashing down outside here!
            Cheers,

            Mark.

            www.pologlover.co.uk

            Comment


              Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

              I’ve been re-reading from this marvellous thread, captivated by the photographs, and catching up on the latest instalments. The feelings as the end of the journey came closer are so eloquent and beautifully expressed. Perhaps appropriate reading, today at year-end. Anyway, I find myself re-reading some sentences out loud…

              Originally posted by wherrygirl View Post
              ....Some people may have heard of "The Rabbit Proof Fence", telling the story of the three young aboriginal girls who were taken from their families on the Jigalong settlement....
              I saw a film on TV about this Ivy, not a documentary, but a feature film. I hadn’t planned to watch it –probably came on after something I’d been watching had ended – but after just minutes I was hooked and watched it all. Can’t recollect the film's title.

              Comment


                Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

                You know, a friend once said to me that when she looked back over the years she was amazed at the coincidences in her life. I grunted and replied that I certainly couldn't see many in mine. Yet as soon as this search for Will began, coincidences began to pile up. In fact I made a list and have decided to copy it here because to me it is remarkable:

                COINCIDENCES

                 I had been having the WAGS genealogical mag. sent from Oz for three/four years, and when renewal was due March 05 I accidentally picked on the A$ amount for 6 months March–September instead of a year as normal. John (the Australian who researched Will and later took me on the camping trip,) contacted me for the first time in the July and by September had found Elsie, Will’s only remaining child. I didn’t need that mag. any more after my unintentionally curtailed subscription expired in September.
                 Edward Stone (one of John’s ancestors) was educated at Chigwell, wife’s maiden name was Cousins – my maiden name. And Chigwell was where my late husband and I went on our very first outing together, on his old Royal Enfield 350 cc.
                 John’s son David’s birthday 4 March - same day as mine.
                 John’s maternal grandfather b. 1884 educated at Buckhurst Grammar School, Esse.x. Buckhurst was where my late husband lived when we started going out together.
                 On the evening of 28 Sep. 2005 a strong thought came into my mind that John would find Elsie, although I knew she would be 88 if still alive. Next day I had an email from him sent at 10.06p.m. on the 28th saying he had spoken to Elsie. Not my first telepathic experience.
                 December, 2005 my friend Janet had the radio on and up came a programme "Wire around the World" about the connection country by country of the telegraph system at the end of the 19th century. When it came to the Australian stretch she rushed to the tape recorder, switched it on and taped it for me. Later she rang me and that evening I went to the BBC Listen Again website and listened to the half-hour programme. Why they were doing this topic I don't know, there was no particular anniversary at the time.
                 Vic. a new-found cousin, had lent me the DVD of Victoria’s wedding (she was Elsie’s grand-daughter), and in January 06 I was halfway through watching it when there was a knock at the door – the postman bringing a huge parcel from Elsie. The postmark was 17th Dec. 05. It could have arrived any time but it came just then.
                 I did a brief piece about the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, (near where I was born and where Will had worked) for the Will-page that John and I have done on his website. 3 days later I was browsing Arsenal websites to see what it was like now. One site had a page called "People", looking for those who'd worked there. The first entry was asking for "Bowdens from Hatherleigh, Devon." These are the Bowdens from whom my mother is descended and which I have researched. I emailed the questioner, and he turned out to be my second cousin twice removed, still living in Plumstead, London a few streets away from where I was born and brought up.

                A strange list, I think you'll agree.
                As to the film you mention, Cecilia, yes it was on TV just after I came back from OZ (another coincidence) and I watched it. It was based on the book Rabbit Proof Fence, by Doris Pilkington, whose aboriginal name is Nugi Garimara. It was her mother Molly and her aunt Daisy who were the two children featured in the account. There was a third sister, Grace, but she returned to the Moore River Settlement where the girls had been taken when forcibly removed from Jigalong. The film, you will remember, was the account of the girls' escape from Moore River and long, long journey following the rabbit proof fence back to Jigalong. My friend Janet had bought the book and gave it to me before I went out there.
                Will had spoken in one of his letters of the aboriginal jin as they called their servants and how a terrific storm had arisen taking off the corrugated iron roofing, rushing through the building and sweeping off all the tea-things that had been set ready on the table. The jin was terrified. I had the idea that the aboriginal girl might have come from Jigalong as Mundiwindi was on that land. As I mentioned in this thread John had to get permits from the aboriginal authorities for each of us to be able to conduct our seach there.
                I decided to contact Doris Pilkington, because there just could be a faint chance that an elderly aboriginal might have memories of the white folk who worked on the telegraph lines, with one of their people as their servant. The book was published by the University of Queensland Press. I emailed them saying I wanted to contact the writer and could I send my letter to her c/o the Uni. I gave full details of my quest and forthcoming visit to WA and why I wanted to contact Doris P.
                I had a lovely letter back, but asking me to send my letter unsealed as they vetted all correspondence for her. This I did. Back came a very kind reply, confirming that the letter had been forwarded and wishing me the best of luck.
                But I never had a word in reply, not even the courtesy of a "Sorry, can't help" from a secretary.
                Cecilia, thank you for your remarks, I think you are one of only two people who really understand what I have been trying to tell in this, perhaps, overlong thread. And I appreciate it. It is foreign territory to most people, I suppose, almost alien. But you understand how I feel about it.
                Last edited by wherrygirl; January 12th, 2013, 19:53.
                Ivy

                "To thine own self be true.......
                Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                Comment


                  Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

                  A lot of coincidences, that is true. Even your late husband is involved. I think everyone has the experience of funny coincidents and is smiling about the possibilty of a hidden connection. Mostly i recognize my experiences to a higher sensibility to a certain topic. But obviously in your case there are connections to your family. That is really thrilling.

                  I think, i can understand Doris Pilkington. It can be strange if there is a question about someone, who was probably representing the "wrong side". These are porbably details she doesn't want to remember in detail.
                  Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

                  Comment


                    Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

                    Wednsday, 27 February.
                    Cyclone warning received from John which is coming ashore near Port Hedland, where I saw the iron ore ship, the massive train and the salt pans:

                    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDW60281.shtml

                    http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDR162.loop.shtml

                    The state of Western Australia is 8 hours ahead of GMT/UTC

                    Thursday 5a.m. WST: danger from winds has now passed for Port Hedland, and the eye is east of Marble Bar. Red Alert issued for the area Pardoo to Nullagine where we looked over the diamond and gold mines and Marble Bar itself.
                    Last edited by wherrygirl; February 28th, 2013, 01:09.
                    Ivy

                    "To thine own self be true.......
                    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                    Comment


                      Re: With Wherrygirl to the outback and beyond

                      The tropical cyclone seems to have whirled itself clockwise almost back to where it came ashore and is now disappearing off the coast at Dampier, south west of Port Hedland. These cyclones are regular occurences here at this time of the year and a very severe one had occured the year before I went out in 2007. We saw the result when we visited Indee station, where all the oubuildings had been destroyed. The ground had been cleared and it was ready for rebuilding.

                      A bit about "Rusty" http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...stralian-coast

                      Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gvWH...abWq4WZMbdcJxV
                      Last edited by wherrygirl; March 1st, 2013, 13:31.
                      Ivy

                      "To thine own self be true.......
                      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                      Comment


                      • nari
                        nari commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Whew!
                        Great thread, Ivy, with absorbing detail that will take me a while to read through. Quite brave of you to take on WA after a life in England. it is really quite a beautiful state in any ways, especially its ancient geology, but far too hot for me!!!
                        Nari

                      Yes Nari, it was an adventure that few people get to do, but it was a personal search for me and will stay in my memory. I'm glad you are enjoying it - I thought you would! Hot - YES. But oh, so beautiful.
                      Ivy

                      "To thine own self be true.......
                      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                      Comment


                      • nari
                        nari commented
                        Editing a comment
                        There's a place not far (in Oz terms) from Newman called the North Pole. It's not on maps because it isn't a place, just exposed rock and scrubby trees.
                        However, along with Greenland and I think part of Baffin Island, the Pole has the oldest exposed rocks on earth. The geologists got terribly excited some years ago when they realised this and they are still hunting for older rock.
                        3.5 billion years old!!! Difficult to imagine such oldness...

                      There's a place not far (in Oz terms) from Newman called the North Pole.
                      Yes, I've just found it on my Pilbara map, although it is nearer Marble Bar, just west of it, in fact. We camped quite near it when we were on the Marble Bar - Port Hedland road, that night I lay in my tent and watched the lights of the iron-ore road trains as they swept past in a roar. Of course, I didn't know about it then and maybe neither did John. Wiki mentions stromatolites there which, as you read, I saw down the coast at Shark Bay.
                      Ivy

                      "To thine own self be true.......
                      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                      Comment

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