Outback With The Wire Man.
By Joe Mortelliti
Over a number of years of 4wd touring I have made a life long friend of the “Wire Man”…my friend Paul.
How did I come to call him the Wire Man?.
The first trip Marion (my wife) and I met Paul on was when we rendezvoused heading out through the Dangali Conservation Park in South Australia, having just passed through the Murray Sunset Country in Victoria.
IMAGE :The red sandy soil of this outback region
The small convey of our 4wd adventure group that Marion andI was part of was well stretched out as we cruised along this red desert regions sandy tracks. We kept in touch by radio.
As I rounded a tight bend I looked ahead and saw a cattle grid with a fence line either side… I saw fresh skid marks leaving the corner in the sand the skid marks skewered off the track, narrowly going right of a tree,then broken through a wire fence, taken out a few star posts on the way through and out the other side, the 4wd had continued back onto the track and stopped on the other side of the cattle grid and fence line.
We slowed and came up along side as it was Paul who had lost control of his vehicle. His wife was very shaken as that large tree passed within inches of her door. Their was no damage caused to vehicle as it was protected by a bull bar. Paul was fine also, and was rummaging around in the back of his vehicle looking for something.
Out comes a small roll of fencing size wire and he heads toward the damaged fence. I will fix it he says so the cattle don’t get out.
We start laughing and say, so do you make a habit of taking at fences at speed and come equipped with spare wire to repair them as you go?
The whole scenario was so strange and comical.
Paul it seems was a past roof rigger and he used wire ties for fixing his work in place.
He still has large stocks of these wire rolls that he used in his previous contracts where they used to carry these small wire rolls on their hips.
So he has an OBSESSION with fixing things with wire.
You or I might use a plastic cable tie, or a piece of string or rope, not the Wire Man, he will wire it up, give it a twist with his pliers to lock it off and its fixed for good.
Now its not just the guys that benefit from his special talents. Later in the trip my wife was making pykelets that were going to be shared by the group. Were out in the outback and we really liked the idea of whipped cream.
Not a problem, I have a portable battery drill, but we don’t have a wire beater, you guessed it !…Wire Man bends up a multiple petal wire beater that would make a commercial one look limp.
We put it on the drill and we had more whipped cream than we knew what to do with.
So there we are, in the outback wilderness in the dusk light eating pyklets and whipped cream, shear heaven.
I will add that the unit did need some attention in the area of balance, because it got up a bit of a vibration at certain speeds. We did have cream flying in all directions at one stage that made for some splattered faces and bodies and people ducking for cover amidst a lot of laughter, yelling and fun.
I now have an exhaust system that no longer rattles as it has been wired up by the Wire Man, a back gate that is secured by a wire loop and this list could go on and on and on.
So is the Wire Man obsessive?….you decide…normal people put things on their roof rack and tie them down with ropes or straps. The Wire Man ties off roof rack items with a twist of his pliers… “much better it never comes undone” he says.
But rest assured having the Wire Man as a traveling partner will get you out of trouble when bush mechanic methods are needed, more often than not when on the road.
A little more about Dangalli Conversation Park that introduced this piece. The Conservation Park covers an area of about 250,000 hectares and is a desert outback location extending across SA and NSW.
The Park was classified as Australia’s first Biosphere Reserve.
IMAGE: Out building relic on historic Canopus Homestead.
Remote basic camping facilities are here and a Ranger lives on site at the Canopus Homestead. You can explore the homestead history, enjoy interesting self drives, see a lot of Mallee Scrub, bushwalking, bird watching shearing shed, old artifacts from it’s pastoral history.. The Ranger is was very welcoming and made himself available showing us around an extensive area.
IMAGE: Historic shearing shed and yards at Canopus Homestead.