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Retrace 1996: Flinders Ranges
Monday 16th September 1996 - 7:45 pm
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It is an exquisite clear night with a slight breeze blowing over the native cypress and river red gums around us. We are camped in the Flinders Ranges near Quorn at a place called Warren's Gorge.

This morning we packed up and took the ferry across to Mannum. By day light it turned out to be quite an interesting little limestone town with river boats everywhere and a general feeling of distant prosperity. We drove through attractive undulating country up to Hahndoff where we thought it appropriate to feast on apple strudel. (Although I remember Hahndoff for its black pudding).

Bonnie feasting on strudel at Hahndoff
Bonnie feasting on strudel at Hahndoff

(Although I remember Hahndoff for its black pudding). We had to go into Adelaide to buy some blow-up mattresses for the girls who were complaining of discomfort. The cheap rubber camping mats I bought them at Kmart were obviously inadequate. They were not so prepared to suffer as I was at their age, and why should they. Emily is still in low spirits after being forced to come on the trip and is a bit off colour as well.

The drive up to Port Pirie was remarkable only for the verdant green wheat fields and occasional glimpses of the gulf to the left. The bustling Port is really quite an interesting town with some attractive old verandas attached to buildings.

I managed a swim on a little beach called Solomontown where there was a jetty from which Jack tried fishing and a fresh water shower with shade where we had a lunch of Hahndoff salami, tomato and cucumber. Susan found it too cold and Bonnie was identifying with Emily's aggrievement, so it was not as joyful as it might have been.

As we approached Port Augusta we decided to head for Quorn because I wanted to see it and a girl in Port Pirie had suggested we would find somewhere to camp there. We entered the salt bush country just south of Port Augusta.

Salt bush entering the Flinders Ranges

Driving over the hills into the Flinders Ranges was a delight with little blue green bushes covering the rounded hills in the afternoon sun like a Tuscan calendar. Every now and then the road crossed the old narrow gauge Pitchi Ritchi railway line. It must have been fascinating to travel on in its day and now part of it seems to have been restored for tourists.

The unchanged station at Quorn

Quorn itself appears to have been frozen in time judging by the photographs in The Flight of Ducks. I like it. Nothing except the station palm tree seems to have changed since 1933. We called into the local butcher just on 5 pm to see if we could get some salt bush fed lamb chops for dinner. He was not very talkative and was eager to close. He muttered about Warren's Gorge. So we drove out to the north about 25 kms with a huge flock of white cockatoos sweeping in front of us all the way. We found our spot further up the gorge, away from a few other campers who were close to a trickle of flowing water and probably mosquitoes.

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