As Summer was threatening to end in Australia, I thought it would be a good time to head to the Outback. Get in touch with the country that I have loved and been an unofficial ambassador for over years of travel, life and music. I was at one with the red dirt in the Far North QLD, AU. Rock structures slippy with the red ochres we understood to be the land as children. I had no idea what I’d discover.
30 bumbling hours in a long haul coach had me humming the Cobb & Co song, past civilisation out beyond where Metropolitan folk go. Sounds like Colorado. Parts of it really brought me closer to my Rocky Mountain Home. Though in a snap, I realised realities about our desert nation.. starting with the fact that lovable Roos (the proverbial Kangaroo) becoming a side affect of society, over 2 dozen dead in a stretch. No reception. Signage is becoming scare.. and then boom. In ‘The Isa’. Australia’s largest regional mining town. Surprisingly, new ground for me to break. This is what I found.
A town that I simply became obsessed with. The first town in Pioneering Country, started in 1920s with minimal population and some unusual luxury. The town founded by a Uranium mine, had it’s own outdoor cinema, stadiums and the newest power installations. In the century prior, famed explorers Bourke and Wills passed through an unremarkable monumental spot halfway between ‘Mary K’ and the Cloncurry. Then tremendous storms began. When the drought had become a long term ailment. I wasn’t surprised about these remarkable circumstances. Though had to go to my special town, not as far as the most luminescent quarry waters (filled in after the uranium mine stores were depleted) – just to ghost dry river that ran between what would have been the town centre, and what I named ‘Rec City’ (see instagram posts and stories across @beachsaltco @mariatenshi @miamuze ). Can you imagine? The river was gushing! The remaining pads left behind as the only indicators of things in the town (had the buildings removed. Only the Cop Shop remained in the neighbouring town at the Mary Kathleen Memorial Tourist Park on the same named McIlwraith Street. Yes, I cared about all these details. The days at first were extremely hot, and seemed a bit drier than Arizona’s humidity.
The rains splashed into flooded waters and the towns surrounding the hub were cut off to them. Net went down, power and other infrastructural calamities. The thing of biggest concern was the immediate depletion of basic food stores of bread, milk and tobacco. The locals in this region were easy to get along with and I realised how my long term interest in Australia’s sociology helped me gain understanding through contact with the Indigenous Community.
Kalkadoon Country is wild, wonderful and I realised how all my life’s explorations had prepared me for this type of Wilderness. A ++ I now truly understand the song ‘Way Out West’ by Blundell and had an epiphany that many of my journeys have been simply to know all references in songs and media to do with the West. A generational interest initiated by Horigome’s before me.
I’d like to be able to bring a small tour back through this region. Stay tuned for that. It’s inline with my long term goals of bringing my tunes from the Wild West (USA) to the North West (Australia).
I’ve since returned to the Gold Coast to enjoy the local aspect of the Commonwealth Games 2018 and am in pre production for a few creative projects of which I will keep you informed.
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