Birdsville Track-Marree

We have both always wanted to see the Birdsville track and last year the track was flooded by the Winton flood waters, so we had to miss it. We have returned to this area to do the track now. Most people do this track in the winter months of June July and August because it is too hot (for normal people) but we are looking forward to doing it out of season and we prefer heat to cold anyway. Marree is a tiny town at the junction of the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks and once called Hergott Springs. Once a thriving centre for transport and communications, relics of bygone years remain. Afghan Cameleers, Aboriginals and Europeans lived in relative harmony as the fortunes of the town came and went over time. We arrived in town on a Sat and we saw only one person out on the street. It felt like a ghost town. Also it was cold. Not what you would expect! M

map birdsville
This sign makes it look pretty easy. Just skirt in between a few deserts and some salt lakes and sand hills and you are there!

road sign birdsville

Before the railway line camel transport was widely used in central Australia and most cameleers were from the middle-east (although they were often called Afgans, apparently many came from India). A replica of the original mosque used by the cameleers still stands in Marree.

Marree was the home town of the legendary outback mailman Tom Kruse who features in the movie “back of beyond” which follows the challenges he faced as the mailman on the Birdsville track in the 1940s and 1950s.   One of his old trucks is on display in Marree.

Some of the artefacts, signs and murals in Marree including some diesel locomotives from the old “ghan” railway line that closed in 1980 after the rail was re-aligned about 300km westward.  Also a camel shaped sundial made from old railway sleepers

lake eyre yacht club
The nicest building in town was the Lake Eyre Yacht Club. Lake Eyre is a salt lake that floods every 10 yrs if you are lucky! That’s looking on the bright side!
kidman info
Kidman- Australia’s biggest cattle baron and rural property owner had property  all around this area. He used to drove his cattle on horseback across the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks and load them on the train to go to market. Now it is road trains that do all the work. It is one of these old stock routes that we will now drive across. M

 

 

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