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Retrace 1996: Cadney Homestead
Tuesday 17th September 1996 - 10 pm
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Against my better judgement we are camped on a lawn outside the Cadney homestead which actually looks just like a petrol station. For this privilege we have had to pay $24 plus the expenses involved in drinking beer with bush characters and playing pool with the children who have had a great time swimming, having showers and eating chips. There was a large room at the back, opening on to the swimming pool with a huge bar, a television and a few assorted characters. While Susan talked to a couple of fellow travellers who had very neat swags, I sought out some local knowledge and found a red haired and red faced freckled man (a bit like me but not as bald) who owned a property nearby with his brother. He said he'd never been to the western border of his property, it was somewhere near Western Australia. Over a few beers he gave me some very helpful advice on where to camp near the Olgas and how to get from Kings Canyon to Hermannsburg.

The children, especially Bonnie were entertained wonderfully by the driver of a Coca Cola truck who had a hundred table tricks with matches etc and drank Kalua with milk and ice. We all ended up at a table with Susan and the young couple until there was a general exhausted wandering off to our respective camps.

Sixth street in Quorn

Our day had begun slowly with a look at Quorn where I took a few photos while the children agitated for clocking up kilometres. This we then did, with a few brief stops for fuel. At one of these I found a newly published book by Kurt Johannsen. At a glance it mentioned the expedition. I will buy it at some point when it seems cheaper. We passed through expansive salt bush country near Woomera and wonderful dry salt lakes. Jack went for a walk across one of them in which some wag had stuck a black metal shark fin. The salt was curiously sticky.

Jack and I on a salt lake

When we came to our first belt of mulga scrub we stopped and examined every detail and took photographs of ant's holes etc.

Mulga ants nest

We drove into and out of Coober Pedy where every second car/truck/ute had an explosives sign on the roof and my favourite flavours of anarchy hung in the air.

Finding a camp was particularly difficult because of the sharp stones everywhere. At one attempt we found a dry creek bed but within moments of stopping squadrons of mosquitoes found Susan and Bonnie and it seemed best to press on to this roadhouse in order to avoid argument. Although Susan has a headache and heat rash, I must admit to enjoying the swim, the shower and the beers. We are sleeping under the stars and the only worry is that road trains will pull in all night and make noise. With luck we should make the Olgas tomorrow.

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