The last leg of our 15,000 km trip. Fifteen fabulous weeks.
We stayed at Whyalla Foreshore Caravan Park, right on the beach which was lovely.
Point Lowly, Giant Australian Cuttlefish
The highlight of our visit was swimming with these amazing cuttlefish. it has been on our bucket list for some years. (See our last blog post for more details and pics)
Point Lowly Indigenous History – Singing to the sharks
The archaeological evidence suggests that Aboriginal people established camps at Point Lowly 10,000-6,000 years ago. These people, the Barngarla people, used to sing to the sharks. The men gathered at the rocks to sing to the sharks, while the women danced on the beach. The sharks gathered schools of fish and drove them towards the beach. The men then entered the water and collected fish. The last person in Whyalla who was able to sing to the sharks passed away in the late 1960s.
- Fish are not drifters, they swim with a reason. They have a well-developed hearing system. When fish larvae hatch, they drift to surface, feed on plankton and start swimming and looking/listening for a reef to live on.
- The reef itself produces a complex of various sounds – fish feeding, crabs fighting, sand and rock moving etc.
- Young fish listen to and follow these sounds.
- Singing to the sharks from the shore virtually creates a reef ‘symphony’, attracting little fish followed by predators and eventually large predators like sharks and dolphins.
- This tradition in Australia is unique to Point Lowly, possibly to Point Gibbon and North Shields – all Barngarla people territory.
Every reef is made up of different sounds, of low and high frequencies, signalling the health of the reef. It is this melody of a healthy coral reef – this ‘reef song’ – that AIMS researchers will be broadcasting underwater.
Hummock Hill Lookout
Hummock Hill was the site of the first European settlement and during WW2 it served as a gun battery and observation post. It was developed by BHP as a gift to the city to commemorate BHPs centenary year in 1985.
Whyalla Maritime Museum
We were held up in Whyalla for a few extra days getting the caravan brakes fixed and 2 van tyres replaced.
Heading home, our first stop was Broken Hill.
Line of Lode Miner’s Memorial
The memorial is built on a 30 metre high pile of mining waste material (mullock) overlooking the town.
Such a sad place to visit, but so very important to remember those who have died. Early on the main cause of death apart from falls, was lead poisoning. Later it was explosions, being crushed, drowning, being run over, falling. In one year there were 37 deaths. One every 9 days. Thirty seven sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, that left for work and never came home.
Next to the Memorial is The Broken Earth Cafe, which is currently closed for renovations.
Pro Hart was born, married, worked and died in Broken Hill and worked in the Broken Hill mine for 8 years before his art was able to financially support him and his family of seven. A lot of his early work was about the mines.
From Broken Hill we headed north, and crossed into New South Wales, the warmer weather beckoning us home.
Our first overnight stop was in Cobar, a free camp behind the RSL on what used to be an old bowling green.
So many feral goats for hundreds of kilometres, day after day. A real problem for wildlife and farmers. The trees were all eaten underneath to the height the goats could reach. Second night was another free camp, this time near Dirranbandi, at Balonne Minor River, just across the Queensland border. A beautiful spot.
Cotton is grown throughout this area and we saw many road trains loaded with harvested cotton. The roads were edged in white for many hundreds of kilometres. Cubbie Station, Dirranbandi, grows cotton and is the largest irrigation property in the Southern Hemisphere. Taking water from the Murray-Darling basin, it has a history of controversy.
Our final overnight stop was a free bush camp near Kumbarilla, just west of Dalby. At Dalby we filled up with water and dumped our toilet before heading home on the Sunshine Coast.
Home sweet home.
Cheers til next time, Helen & Tim