7th January - Charlotte Waters, gibber plain, Kidman country and a pretty girl

Woke this morning at a little railway station about 17 miles from Charlotte Waters. By the time we were up and about the train had pulled in and we were met by the local cop, (now of the Federal variety) two cattle men and three black stock boys. The country here is still more stony than that further south. It is practically dead flat. The average rainfall is only about three inches. There is scattered grass of a sort, as well as a little salt bush.

Properties up here are many hundreds of square miles in area and all the beasts one sees are in the pink of condition, although one sees literally hundreds of corpses along the track and even rabbits killed by the heat and lack of water. We spoke to the cop and cattle men, who were, on the whole, very decent types and heard them praise that part of the country very much. They said that Kidman leases a lot of the gibber plain at 4 shillings a square mile and only brings in stock when it rains. They seemed very amused at the fact that someone had got run over by a car in the Alice. These men come from up to ninety miles away to greet the fortnightly train and to collect supplies.

There are very few stations at which the train stays for less than twenty minutes and it often stays for up to an hour at some. At one there was a very pretty girl of about nineteen who had come in ninety five miles with two pack-horses for the station goods, mail etc. All along the line the train acts as a paymaster to the gangs of government maintenance men. It also brings them their stores and the result of the second test.

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