2020 Aus Across the Tropic of Capricorn to Newman
Across The Tropic of Capricorn to Newman
It seemed amazing to me that even 190,000 acres of land was so spent and over grazed to aridity that it could not support a family of four who had to rely on us passers-by and the salary of a policeman to survive. We wished Blair well in their endeavours.
We were passing golden grasslands and where the earth was being mined for her rich treasures of gold, emerald, iron ore and ochre. In addition to the kanga roadkill there were now the bloated corpses of healthy looking cattle being fed upon by, to our amazement, Wedge Tailed Eagles standing hunched and hairy legged looking at us as we passed. Pairs would be feasting on one animal and because they’re heavy and their take off is slow, many eagles themselves are falling victim to whirling wheels as they pass.
Where the number of roo kills decreased and cattle increased we wondered if they still shoot roos. Roo Shooters used to earn a lifelong living shooting roos to sell their fine hides and to delight the farmers where they competed for the grass with the grazing stock.
It was now becoming decidedly warmer and sometime during the day we crossed into the tropics, so warmer days but still cool nights. Still three blanket nights in our little tent.
This was becoming heavy open cast iron ore mining country and the massive loads being transported between sites, some taking up almost the full width of the road and causing oncoming traffic to perch on the shoulders like the eagles; and the long four carriage ore road trains were numerous. Also were holidaymakers returning from the north coast, their roof racks full with surf- boards.
It was a long day, that one, 670kms long but it got us to Newman, a 24hour NEWish miners’ town built for the mining MAN and woman, many of whom sat in the Red Sands miners’ pub courtyard with us still wearing their high vis jackets.
Some clever civic brain had the industrious idea off sectioning off part of the local football pitch for campers and the car park for caravans while matches were not in progress. We just had to sprint across the pitch to the loos and shower block. This was also a new idea because so far the hundred or so campers had to share one key to the wash block. No problem. The key was kept in a key safe to which we were given the code. The risk was being locked in the loo if the person in with you hadn’t heard you and was re-locking the loo door, “because there are some backpackers around who will take advantage of free showers if you’re not very careful” the lady in the tourist info sagely informed us.
The same key opened the mens and ladies rooms. All went well until the key decided to jam itself in the padlock into the disabled loo. At least we were now safe from being locked in and thanks to the hands of fate the ladies was open. So now 100 men and ladies, at different times, used the ladies with its one working tap out of three. Bear with, bear with we’re nearly there. This will not do I thought and hunted around the two taps to see why they weren’t working.
Ah, there, some silly billy has turned off the cold water inlet, so I turned them on again thinking the ratio of 1:33 was infinitely better than 1:100 and started out back across the pitch, proud of my achievement in the pursuit of human comfort and cleanliness until I realised that they’d probably done it for reasons of personal distancing. Seemed a bit odd really to turn off the means of people keeping clean, just like taking out the soap in the loos at Emu Point at the beginning of lockdown to prevent vandalism!!? I read a book once titled ‘Straight and Crooked Thinking’, I remember the title but not the book.