Posts Tagged With: outback

Weekly Photo Challenge : (Extra)ordinary…

The winner

The winner

Racing is ordinary, camels are ordinary (well sort of!) but put them together and you get the extraordinary sight of camel racing.

Not only is that extraordinary but look carefully at the photo and you will see the jockey has no reins to steer with AND the camel has all 4 feet off the ground. A very fluky and extraordinary capture.

Click here and come back in time with me to the camel races in Winton. It is dusty and hot but a great tradition in the Australian outback.


The weekly photo challenge from Cheri asks “this week, surprise us with something or someone (extra)ordinary.”

Categories: Australia, camel races, extraordinary, outback, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 18 Comments

Thursday’s Special : Traces of the Past 03

Paula is asking us to look into the past for today’s “Thursday Special”

Farming was an important part of the settlement of Australia. The early pioneers saw a vast and empty land that they believed belonged to no one and was ripe for farming. But the land and climate was vastly different to their European farms and a new type of farming was required. So in the outback large acreage were needed to support livestock and so grew the empires of outback cattle stations, thousands of square kilometres in area, with the nearest neighbour being hundreds of kilometres away. Anna Creek station in South Australia is the world’s largest working cattle station.[3] It is roughly 24,000 square kilometres (5,900,000 acres)

These cattle had to be taken to market, which was also thousands of miles away and in the 1800’s the only way to get there was to walk. So evolved a tough breed of man, the drover.


This double life-size statue pays tribute to the a drover as he moves from job to job with only his saddle bags, containing all his possessions. It is in Newcastle Waters in the heart of the outback, it has a rich, vibrant history as a gathering place for drovers on their gruelling overland cattle drives. It is at the junction of three major overland stock routes, and was an important source of provisions and a place to rest before drovers continued on their way as they took huge mobs of cattle along the droving trails.

It also had a reliable source of water and many birds pass through on their migrations.


It grew as a major township with a pub and store.

Now it is a ghost town.



The basic corrugated iron shacks that a family once called home are now deserted, the few meagre possessions left. Rough hewn wooden shelves draped with gingham to bring a scrap of colour. The large kettle on the wood burner stove. How hot it must’ve been in summer cooking on that stove with the sun beating down relentlessly. In winter the wind would howl and find every gap and crack to bring the bitter cold inside.

 Aborigines had long played a big part in the cattle industry where they were competent stockmen on the cattle stations of the north. In 1950 it was legislated that the Aboriginal workers were now to be paid cash wages. Previously they had worked for their keep and their mob/family had been allowed to live on the station and provided with food. With the advent of railway and roads crossing the outback the cattle were moved by road trains and droving became a dying occupation.

In 1988 the bicentennial of Australia a grand plan was made to recreate the droving years with “The Last Great Cattle Drive”


On the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory is a small township called Camooweal. It was there that we found the Drover’s Shed. A large corrugated barn that has been dedicated as a museum to the drover and his life style.  Here the droving era of Australia is being preserved for future generations and recognizes the contribution of drovers to the development of the nation’s cattle industry.


We had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Pic Willetts. Then took a tour around the shed with a retired drover who explained how tough the life was and had many stories of his time with the mobs of cattle.



A project is also underway to create portraits of the remaining drovers and collect their stories.

into nt pc 003_3264x2448

What is more iconic of the past than this sweat stained and battered Akubra hat.

Categories: Australia, outback, photography, Thursdays special, traces of the past | Tags: , , , , | 34 Comments

Bench Series : August, coloured benches

This month Jude wants to see photos of a bench that is painted or stained or otherwise coloured in some way. Not the plain wooden variety unless there is some colour detail

purple pub-2

Here’s Jack, sitting on a purple bench, with 2 friends, a mother and her son, he made in the outback of Australia at Normanton. We were at the famous “Purple Pub” an iconic watering hole.


purple pub-1-2

This humorous saying was pinned on the notice board inside the pub…

purple pub-1

I couldn’t resist taking a copy of it…

Categories: Australia, bench series, outback | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Travel Theme : Grey



This is Western Australia, the climate is brutal. Summer is hot, sometimes reaching temperatures in the 40’s. The wind would blow the fine red dust into every thing and winters are cold. Can you imagine living in this grey corrugated hut, no electricity, no running water, no insulation on the corrugated iron. The nearest shops approx. 20 kilometres away. Life would be very hard. But then imagine spring with the carpets of wild flowers all around you, the stars sparkling in the vast sky, the only sounds those of birds and the wind rustling in the trees. Yes it is hard but I think it would also have it’s good side.


Another part of life in the pioneer days was the use of camels for transport in this dry and arid land. This was a monument to these beasts of burden created, appropriately, in grey corrugated iron, another material that the pioneers used extensively in the treeless outback.




When I came to these camels, as I dug through my files of memories, it brought to mind Rajah, a magnificent ship of the desert, that I rode for 4 days across the Thar Desert in India. He is not grey but I fell in love with him and his feisty temperament.

It was way back in 1986 and the photo has been scanned from old film. The day pack hanging on the saddle horn is a dark grey so I guess it can just qualify…



Thanks Ailsa for this weeks theme of “grey“. It has brought back many memories for me.

Categories: Australia, grey, outback, photography, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Reward

The winner

The winner

The reward

The reward

In the dusty, red outback of Australia camel racing is a unique and exciting part of the culture. We were in Winton the day of the races, click here to come back with me and share that day.

This young woman certainly deserved her reward. (this weeks word from Krista at WP)

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, camel races, outback, photography, reward, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Photography 101 : Swarm 2

This is the most amazing swarm of budgerigars. We were camping in the Australian Outback and were woken by the noise of birds. Thousands of small green budgerigars turning and wheeling in tight formation. Dipping down briefly to snatch a beakful of water from a small puddle before swooping off again with a hawk darting in and out of the swarm. I stood entranced before grabbing the camera.

It is a once in a life time sight that I would like to share with you for this “photography 101” theme of swarm. 

Jacks budgies jc sx130 031

Just a small number of the thousands as they flashed by.

budgies Barkly homestead pc a720 020

Then they would, briefly, dip down into this shallow puddle before wheeling off again.

What an amazing sight.

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, budgeriagars, outback, photography, Photography 101, swarm | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Travel Theme : Horizons

A field of dreams stretching to the horizon

A field of dreams stretching to the horizon

A dream is the bearer of a new possibility,

the enlarged horizon, the great hope.

Howard Thurman

Snowy Mountains undulating to the horizon

Snowy Mountains undulating to the horizon

You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon.

The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy,

the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.

Ethel Barrymore

Red dirt, spinifex and a lone tree struggling to survive on the horizon

Red dirt, spinifex and a lone tree struggling to survive on the horizon

Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential.

Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance.

Always, I am on the threshold.

W. Eugene Smith

Drought in the outback

Drought in the outback

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction

that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The sad effect of the drought

The sad effect of the drought

People say to us how brave we are, fighting the wilderness, braving the isolation of the Outback. But these are easy opponents, compared with drought. To watch your land shrivel and die, year in and year out, to see beautiful fields turn to dust bowls, to watch your animals starve and die. To suffer all this, only to be then washed away in a flood, your home and your family treasures lost and destroyed. And then to pick up the pieces and start again. The farmers of the South are brave! “

SARA HENDERSON, From Strength to Strength
The road travels endlessly to the horizon

The road travels endlessly to the horizon. This year there has been rain, what a difference to the previous photo.

Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step;

only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.

Dag Hammarskjold


A horizon for me is a challenge. A wanting and needing to find out what lies beyond. An excitement, a constant need to explore, be it a good or bad experience it is never boring.

Take the road less travelled, look for adventure and constantly head for the horizon.

Thank you for this weeks challenge Ailsa.

Categories: Australia, horizon, photography, quotes, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Letters

Curtain fig tree

Curtain fig tree

Walking through National Parks all over Australia I am awed at the beauty and diversity of nature, but what really enhances the experience are the information boards that explain how and why the tree grew this way, or the history of the pioneers.

So it is words that educate me about the beauty I am looking at.

Detailed information board

Detailed information board

This amazing tree grows in the tropical rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands.


Pioneers having a picnic in the outback of Australia

Pioneers having a picnic in the outback of Australia

Now to take you to another part of Australia. This is a very old photo that is on an information board.

Matilda hyw pc sx40 019_4000x3000

We were in the Australian Outback, miles from civilisation and when we saw a small sign pointing along a rough track to Combo Waterhole. What a delight the information boards were. Old photos of pioneers enjoying a picnic and vividly portraying how life was in the bush.

Read this and then close your eyes and visualise how it was.

Read this and then close your eyes and visualise how it was.

That song is the well known “Waltzing Matilda”

Maybe Banjo Patterson also sat here when he composed some of his poetry.

Maybe Banjo Patterson also sat here when he composed some of his poetry.

Matilda hyw pc sx40 019_4000x3000 cropped


I had more photos of the track and surrounding bush to show you, but then disaster struck and ALL my old photos on the external hard drive suddenly disappeared.


I’ve tried to recover them but so far no luck. I guess I will have to now leave it till Monday and call in a computer wizard to, hopefully, perform some sort of miracle.

I do have all the photos backed up on another hard drive back on the Goldcoast, thousands of kilometres away. So all is not lost, but I will not be able to search for photos for the challenges that I so enjoy. Looked at from another angle I will now have to go out on photo sorties to collect another batch of photos.


I’m sure most people have heard “Waltzing Matilda” but in case you have missed it here it is…


In response to WP photo challenge this week I have been forced to use lots of “words”…

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, letters, Malanda, outback, photography, Tablelands, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

A to Z Challenge : O for Outback

The road travels endlessly to the horizon

The road travels endlessly to the horizon

2010 was a good year in the Australian Outback, the rains had fallen on the usually dry and barren land and the shimmering  silver of the Mitchel grass plains stretched to the horizon to meet the relentless blue of the sky. It is an unforgettable sight.

It was the year we travelled round Australia. Photographs cannot convey the splendour and immense beauty of this land. The emptiness and vastness, the feeling of isolation, it is a land that must be experienced.

The life giving windmill

The life giving windmill

As sun sets we find a place to camp among some spindly gum trees and listen to the quiet whirring of the windmill as it draws the life-sustaining water from deep in the earth. We drift to sleep under a huge canopy of stars.

For thousands of years the Aboriginals lived in harmony with the Outback. I came across this inspiring YouTube as I searched for music to add to this post.


 I really enjoy this challenge from “Frizztext”. It is open to so much interpretation and I like to check out what other bloggers have chosen. Click here to visit other posts


Categories: Aboriginal history, Australia, Frizztext A to Z challenge, outback, photography | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

A Word a Week Challenge : Figure

Today I am going back in my photographic memories to a camel race I had the pleasure to watch in Winton in the Australian outback. No fashion on the track competitions here, no high heel shoes and fancy hats. Nearly all the hats were Akubras worn by the men, and some of the women, and the clothes of choice were jeans and shirts.

The sun radiated down from a brilliant blue sky, it was dusty and hot, but the atmosphere was happy and excited.

camel races winton pc sx40 050_4000x3000

camel races winton pc sx40 015_3443x2140

camel races winton pc sx40 065 go girl

camel races winton pc sx40 047_2971x2144

It is a fast and furious sport the jockeys have very little control over their camels, notice in the photos they do not have reins to steer or even stop their mounts, it is just hang on and hope for the best. Surprisingly only one jockey fell off.

This was the overall champion rider with the most points through the day

This was the overall champion rider with the most points through the day


camel races winton pc sx40 115_4000x3000


This was the second place getter. Most of the riders were female !!!

This was the second place getter. Most of the riders were female !!!

It was an entertaining day, something quite different and unique to the Australian outback. The word challenge from Sue this week was “figure” and it made me think of all the interesting figures and characters I saw at the Winton camel races.

A lovely trip down memory lane for me.


Click here to see more posts about what figures in other bloggers lives.


Categories: A word a week challenge, Australia, camel races, figure, outback, photography | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Blog at