Canberra to Balranald

Nothing new to report till after Wagga Wagga. Out across the Hay Plain for the first time in 40 degrees one wondered again at the marvel (lunacy) of the Sturts and Mitchells of the world in their heavy ridiculously inappropriate english clothes, trapsing without offline HEMA maps and google earth to tell them what lay ahead.

Caravan park in Balranald is right on the Murrumbidgee with the classic stands of River Red Gums and thousands of Corellas.  A challenging 43 degrees sees the little pool jam-packed with kiddies, and the Coolibahs jumbucked.

The river is a bit lower than usual at this time of the year, due the camp owner said to the vicissitudes of the many weirs. Still it is a great river with the banks carved metres high by thousands of years of floods – and weir adjustments.



The River Red Gums are majestic. One of the more impressive Eucalypts, although not quite as amazing as the “Heysen” gums of Wilpena Pound.


I went out to the Yanga Woolshed, built in the late 19th century to cater for 3000 sheep and 30 shearers. The heat must have been astonishing, and unlike at caravan parks, I bet obesity was not evident. All the buildings are still there although unused now for 20 years. It, too, is right on the river. I suppose more than one shearer had a refreshing dip after a day’s hard fleecing, and before a night’s purposeful drinking.


Have seen lots of birds. One I have never seen before is the Striped Honeyeater, right on the southern end of its habitat.

The Peaceful Dove too was right on the southern extremity of its habitat.

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Perhaps the oddest sighting was of the Yellow Crimson Rosella (platycercus flaveolus), which is literally a crimson rosella which is yellow. It is endemic to the Mallee in quite a limited area.

Last but not least is a huge population of White Plumed Honeyeaters. As the birdbook says, they certainly like a bathe, and as well as being widespread through the red gum forests, are seen dipping into the river and clearly enjoying it.

Was supposed to go on a long 8 hour tour of Sunset in the famous Mungo NP but the rain, although not dramatic, has been enough for the rangers to close the most interesting tracks (the china wall) so it has been cancelled.

More from around here tomorrow.


Michael Monaghan

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