Left Coward Springs after a very enjoyable couple of days. Further south on the Oodnadatta Track we came upon the Curdimerka ruins.
This was a siding for the Ghan Railway and it is still in good condition, mainly due to the fact that the Curdimerka Bush Ball is held here every year.
There is nothing for miles around yet the ball brings big numbers. The railway lines are still there as are the original telegraph poles. The ball is apparently a pretty wild time and you would certainly need something to bring revellers to such a desolate spot.
A few kilometres further south we passed the southern shoreline of Lake Eyre South. Here the railway lines are gone but the sleepers still lay as though ready to receive new rails. I walked out onto the lake until I was on the actual lake bed. The crust was black with a whitish salt residue. A fascinating place. As I was the only person interested in walking on the lake to soon I had to return to shore so that we could resume our journey.
If you look closely at this photo you can just make out a figure (middle of picture) out on the lake surface. That is me. There where a lot of camel tracks on the lake surface.
We then turned off the Oodnadatta Track making for Roxby Downs. We passed through the BHP/Billiton Olympic Dam mine site as the road traverses this mine. Arrived at Roxby Downs about 2:00PM Saturday afternoon to find the only thing in town open was the supermarket and the pub. This was lucky as we where badly in need of supplies. It was strange being in a “company town” after visiting so many historical townships. Roxby Downs was built from scratch to service the mines by providing accommodation for the mine workers and essential services for them. So everything is new. There is no “old” part of town.
Left Roxby Downs for Woomera and arrived there about 5:00PM. Made for the caravan park. There was a cold wind blowing and it was not pleasant. However the caravan park has a bar so that improved things. Apparently as Woomera is Commonwealth land normal licensing laws do not apply and the area administrator has granted the park this licence. Probably a unique situation. All the houses in Woomera are owned by the Commonwealth and if you are leasing one and the employed member of the family works less than 30 hours a week you are obliged to advice the area administrator and then have 28 days to vacate the house. There is no unemployment in Woomera!
Next morning it was 9 degrees. Not very nice after the desert. Unfortunately we had a bit of bad luck here. Bob’s car had been playing up for a while now, being hard to start. This morning it would not start even by jump starting. The only way to start it was tow starting so we had no option but to make for the closest town where repairs could be carried out – Port Augusta. So we did not see the museums or rocket park.
120 kilometres of boring and very straight bitumen and we arrived safely in Port Augusta.
Port Augusta would seem to have a bit of a crime problem. The caravan park has high fences topped with barb wire, massive gates that are closed at 9:30PM and notices in the facilities from the police about theft. There also appear to be a significant police presence in the town.
Our future plans will depend on what Bob finds out tomorrow when he takes the car in for repair.