The Track That Disappeared

Bulldust flowed down the windscreen like rain in a tropical storm.My turbo diesel Patrol growled defiantly as it surged through the enveloping cloud of power sucking dust. I was on my way to Andamooka, South Australia enroute to Western Australia but this part of the journey began in Lyndhurst.Lyndhurst is a small supply point in the north of South Australia between Leigh Creek and Maree. I had read about a little used and at times undefined track through pastoral land to Andamooka and although it was marked on my map I decided to get some up to date information and where else do you go for such advice in a bush town but the pub. The publican revealed that the track should be OK, ( bush parlance for it may not be easy) but sometimes it may disappear where it crosses a clay pan. Meandering cattle often obliterate the track, " but look around and you should pick it up somewhere". Armed with this comforting information I made my way to the service station to fuel up. When answering the attendants question, “Where are you off to mate?” he asked me to deliver a newspaper to `Whitchelena` a pastoral property on my way. So off I went with my precious cargo for `Whichelena`.The track to the homestead was uneventfull and I duly attempted to deliver the newspaper but was greeted by a dog with an unwelcoming ferocity that left me in no doubt I was intruding on its territory. Blowing the car horn I was unable to procure any human inhabitant. I therefore decided to throw the newspaper on to the veranda and take my leave. In the rear view mirror I could see the dog happily wagging its tail.Soon after leaving `Whitchelena` I encounted the aforementioned bulldust. This dust, common in outback Australia is like fine talcum powder and can be a trap for the unwary. It often hides deep suspension busting holes and can occur for long distances. Having successfuly negotiated this obstacle I soon made camp for the night beside a dry creek bed.Not long after leaving camp next morning I came upon a clay pan and true to the Lyndhurst publicans word the track disappeared. I searched far and wide on the other side where I thought the track should be but to no avail. It wasn`t until I went looking elsewhere far off to the right that I discovered a faint track. I followed this track for some distance across dry creek beds and small dunes until I came upon the `dingo fence`. This fence runs for 5,320 kilometres from Jambour in Queensland to the Eyre Peninsular on the Great Australian Bight, 2,225 kilometres of which are in South Australia. The fence was constructed to keep marauding dingos out of sheep grazing country. This was not what I wanted to see as according to my map the dingo fence was north of where I should be. I was comforted in the knowledge however, that the dingo fence crossed the Borefield Road that runs down from the Oodnadatta Track to Roxby Downs and if I could reach that I would be OK. I continued to follow the track along the fence line but my confidence was dented momentarily when I came to a gate in the fence. Fearing that it may be locked I was relieved to find that it wasn`t the case. A few kilometres later I reached the Borefield Road and turned left for Roxby Downs. I hadn`t reached Andamooka as planned but I did find a way out of that clay pan albeit the wrong track.

The Track That Disappeared

Terry Everson

Whalan, Australia

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Artist's Description

An account of a section of a journey I took in outback Australia where the track disappeared and I ended up on the wrong track.

Artwork Comments

  • rightasrain
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