15th January 1933 (cont.)- distance, the Finke river bed, shooting bony bream

The walk entailed a climb of about 1500 ft, and from the heights we got magnificent views of the higher part of the range two to three miles off, as far as I could judge distance in this country. I found, from shooting at a target, that I was underestimating distance badly. The puffs of sand were so far short that my boasts of past income earned as a marksman in the Sydney University Regiment tickled Kurt Johannsen's Scandinavian sense of humour (not easily achieved).

We climbed down onto the river bed again and walked along the soft sand in great heat and argumentative spirit for a couple of miles, passing right into the heart of the mountains. The mountains here are very rugged and massive and many of them are very high and precipitous whilst the Finke river bed (all sand) is in places half a mile wide and runs straight off a plain through the range and then out onto the larger southern deserts where it is lost, though theoretically it runs into Lake Eyre.

Many huge white gums grow along the banks. In a few places we came across the emerald green wild orange tree. It grows a fruit pyriform in shape, perfectly green and about the size of a large mandarin. It contains a yellow slimy flesh with many huge seeds like an enlarged passion fruit. They are about the best wild fruit I have ever eaten, being very strong in their taste, but with a high sugar content. However, most people can't stomach them at all and they are supposed to be an aquired taste.

When we came to the next waterhole we found it to be a huge thing about 30 yards long and well up to the umbelicus in the middle. We spent many hours there and with Kurt's revolver we even caught half a dozen bony bream, each weighing half a pound. The ratio of flesh to bone is low and they are not a delicacy.

link to previous entry link to next entry