We’ve been kicking around the dust in Western Australia now for some months having a simply glorious time. We’ve also been getting involved in stoushes over freecamping vs caravan parks. Why? I do not know as they are as far removed from each other as anything could be but many people do not see this. I have heard and read more than one comment on the comparisons between the eastern and western states when it come to free camps and rest area’s.
Perth … is the most remote city around the globe and ‘a world unto itself’. If Aus’ is to be considered as sparsely populated then Western Australia holds the crown amongst the States of Australia. Western Aus’ is more than 3½ times bigger than Texas and is the 2nd largest state/province in the world. It is 33% of the Australian continent. It has barely 10% of the Australian population and and 92% of this population live tucked into the SW corner of the state.
Millions of years ago, when life emerged from the waves it was stromatalites and thrombolites that made it possible. They breathed oxygen into the atmosphere and life eventually moved onto the land once water had begun to fall from the heavens, nourishing the earth. 600 million years ago the ancestors of thrombolites and stromatolites produced the oxygen needed for life on land to exist and their ancient colonies can be found today in only a few rare places around the world.
They look like rocks but are really ancient forms of microbial communities that produce energy from sunlight. These ancient forms of life are found in specialized environments around the world. They require water to survive. Stromatalites need saline water and thrombolites require a greater measure of fresh water.
The most striking thing about entering the North West corner of the continent, the top end of Western Australia from the remote NW Northern Territory, is the magnificent old man boab (also the baobab of Africa & Egypt). These wonderful trees, which have captured the rains of the monsoon dot the landscape and are found from the coast of WA east into the Northern Territory, bloated in their push to survive an ancient red and harsh country.
They were a valuable food source for the Aboriginal tribes not only in their abundant fruit but also for providing water trapped in hollows in their twisted trunks. The tribal people chose the slightly immature (greenish rather than brown) fruit and found them best roasted. The pulp is similar to stewed fruit in texture and taste. If however the fire is too hot they will explode, so take care. The seeds in the fleshy fruit can also be collected and roasted and eaten like peanuts. Even the sap can be added to water to make a drink. The pith will dry to a fibrous sherbet with the seeds mixed in but this, though pleasant tasting will drive on a considerable thirst. Continue reading
The lure of gold has driven men (and women) to many depths and lengths over the centuries of history and I do admit to a woeful lack of knowledge when it comes to the gold history of anywhere else but Aus. A smattering of history from the gold fields of America is as good as it gets, along with the background knowledge that a lot of gold came from the Inca’s or South America’s. A lot of it plundered with the arrival of the Spanish and English seamen centuries ago and I would love to hear of some current living history from anyone out there.
However it is a personal thing to me when related to Australia. I once loved to pull out our little vial of gold-flakes and itty-nuggets and tell of the days when we panned from the creeks of the hinterlands of the Great Dividing Range with our four kids when they were young. That little vial is now gone, replaced by others with different stories born of our experiences. These all represent great times though, those times spent camping in the hinterland mountains with the wild dingo’s calling to the rising moon as they gathered their hunting pack and were heard later snooping around the tents at night looking for scraps and stray kids… yes I am serious. Days when we enjoyed showing our growing brood of little bruisers that there was more to life than ice-cream’s on a boardwalk by the ocean, or bums on seats at adventure parks. Life is rich with experiences and rewards if you cared to really look about you.
Now a-days hubby breaks out the gold detector when we are bush and waffles around having fun, digging up old bullet cases, scraps of metal and the odd gold piece, be it small change or nuggets, sometimes even jewellery. It is something we take for granted in Australia, this freedom to reap of the earths wealth be it gold or gems, it is a great way to spend a couple of weeks.