The drive to Farina is a time for contemplation, reflection and memories for me, as my family has come to the Flinders Ranges for holidays since the 1970s and for work between 2000 and 2004.
Driving through the Pichi Richi Pass, one notices lots of signs warning of flooding and depth markers to show how deep the water is. For most of the time not a drop of water is to be seen.
This is the Saltai Creek crossing closest to Quorn, with a build up of mud, ironically caused by water swirling and slowing due to a depth indicator post, just visible behind a bush on the right of the car. Around the corner was a culvert, which had been washed out leaving a huge cauldron of swirling raging water. Now a causeway has replaced it. This trip and most before this has been a serene spot and the creek bed next to the road a camping spot.
Not long after this photo was taken, flood remediation work has been carried out so this is generally not an issue Trapped at the time was a brand new Suzuki Ute, and some people thought to cross using a railway bridge, there were Police at one end collecting a “toll”.
The Suziki’s engine bay, cabin and tray were full of rocks and mud. Sometime later when it was recovered the owners talking to Police mentioned claiming on their insurance policy, his answer, sorry, ”No” the road was officially closed.
Stories are many of people camping in a lovely spot, a creek bed with gum trees. They go on a hike and return to find the camp and vehicle washed away.
Before about 1980, the road from a few Km north of Hawker was a dirt road, and a VERY interesting drive if you happened to be caught in Old Leigh Creek with camper trailer or caravan after rain.
North of Hawker there are signs to indicate Edeowie and Commodore swamps. Lush vegetation is in evidence beside the road. In flood condition the road is under water.
The next photo is of the road below Leigh Creek after flooding, the bitumen was intact, but the mud had flowed down the usually dry creek bed.
2018 - 24th and 25th May, (Thursday and Friday), the road trip was without incident, although toward the end a few problems beset my 28 year old caravan.
Arriving in Farina I was met by quite a number of people from my previous volunteering times and they were all busy at work setting up the Bakery sales area, Patterson House and a myriad of other things needing to be done to get this season up and running.
At home, I had done some soldering towards a radio installation, and decided that I didn’t need to bring the gas torch, WRONG. The crimping tool is probably right where I left it with the intention of packing it in the vehicle. Oh well, I guess it will all work out in the end.
26th May, Saturday, I was rostered on at the Patterson house, but after morning tea I was released to have another go at the Laundry CB. I reasoned that a heat gun in addition to the soldering iron melted the solder and allowed a connection to be made. The laundry now has an operational CB for our ever expanding comms network, already hints have been made of a unit in the Patterson House. During the afternoon I was an odd jobs man.
The water tank which supplies the laundry, showers and toilets is filled by a solar powered pump on a bore, unfortunately the sun has not made its presence felt and the water is very scarce, showers are locked, but hopes are that the position will improve or alternative arrangements will need to be made. There has been no real rain up here for the last year. As in previous years I can survive on what is in the caravan water tank and some bottles of spring water I brought up.
A far cry from the previous bit about flooding!! There has been a select crew up here for a week prior to the opening of our season and they have been busy erecting the Marquee and setting up the retail side of things, plus other pre commissioning necessities. Unfortunately the delivery / transport schedules have been altered from weekly to fortnightly, so no supplies for pies and pasties. A couple will head off early on Monday, to drive to Pt Augusta(320Km), load up and drive back.
Laundry CB, instructions and emergency contact (phone) numbers to the right. The whole unit and shelf just lifts out at the end of our season.
27th May, Sunday, I was assigned to Patterson House and did a few odd jobs, but just after 11am the air was moist, then a few rain spots. I returned to my caravan, by which time there was light rain. Rain has been forecast for Sunday – Monday, so only time will tell how it will affect us.
The photos below show the rock Gambions which are along the front and sides of the house. The plan, I think, is to fill the space between them, then lay slate capping under the veranda.
The second photo is the rear of the house. The horizontal steel girders were installed by the pre commissioning team, a section of Hebel flooring is installed for where the wet area will be. Pallets of Hebel are positioned ready to be lifted onto the girders for laying.
A back breaking manual job made so much easier by Tim and his equipment, a small portion of which is visible in the first photo..