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Not Your Average Suburban Block

Page 5

Adrian Cloonan

The farm ute had a distinct list to the passenger side and became known as the “expletive-deleted ute” when it broke down – as it did at 7am in +30c heat. This happened after we had checked on a bore which the telemetry system had shown as not pumping. (The issue turned out to be grit under the ball valve – easily fixed).  We could not re-start the vehicle at all. 

So a hot walk down the dry river bed to the roadside camp – and lo – we found a solitary car and caravan with a diesel mechanic passing through.  After a quick breakfast he drove us back to the ute, which started without his assistance of course! (Some weeks after our departure the visiting mechanic declared the ute unsafe as it had a cracked chassis - it was scrapped).

Mining companies exploring for minerals; neighbouring properties mustering; Department of Primary Industry dropping wild dog baits; passing tourists chatting car to car – remember, everything can be heard on a station UHF radio!  “Hey – a sign to a station property – let’s see what they’ve got”.  Our reply – “Nah – wouldn’t do that if I was you”.  Silence greeted that reply.  Were they checking the property for fuel, tools or vehicles to be stolen perhaps?  We’ll never know.

What were our rewards? The warm thanks of the owners; an increase in the 11-page station manual to 16 pages; the peace and isolation; the sunrises and sunsets; the night skies; the rugged scenery; some new friends; and a fund of great stories.


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