Tuesday, 4 August 2009

A Wwooffer In Bindara

A little bit of water brings out all the wild flowers

My experience working in the Outback has been a great one. Its only drawback is that it's so isolated that without a car I didn't actually get to see more of the area. However, I was really after an experience of the life there, and that's what i got.

Double click on pic...

I could not have asked for better hosts than Barb and Bill. For all their quirky eccentricities, their deeply rooted distrust of foreign people, city people, Government, and more, they have been some of the most welcoming and friendly people I have ever come across.

I can now begin to understand what my friend Natalie finds so soothing about her allotment and the time spent there alone, working on it. I have enjoyed everything I have done, from the vegetable garden, to driving the mini tractor, from fruit picking to looking after the solar panels.

Driving the tractor with Bindi, Santa's little helper, on board...

I think I have missed working. As mad as this may sound, six months on a constant holiday can become a bit tiresome.

However, I am not thinking, even in the slightest, about moving to a place like this. It is remote beyond my worst nightmares, even getting to somewhere on your day off is a task that needs serious planning.

I got up early in the morning on Saturday and crossed the river in the canoe. I knew, after talking to Charles and Barb where the road was, just 2 kilometres to the East of the river, so easy to find with the help of the sun. But I think I headed too much to the North, though eventually I managed to get to the road.

The road TO nowhere FROM nowhere...

Somehow I had this idea that I would see some traffic on this half sealed road, and someone would pick me up and just drop me conveniently in Menindee, 50 kilometres from the farm. After an hour's walking I realized that not one single car had driven by, and that it soon dawned on me that I was in the frakking middle of nowhere...I thought Attepeu, in Laos, had been isolated...this goes beyond anything I have ever experienced, though in this case I thankfully didn't have, as in Laos, the pervy landlady trying to get in my pants.

So I decided to head back to the farm. Sadly, by this time, the sun was not in the same place, and I got lost for a wee while. Not completely lost, as I had found the Darling, so Bindara on the Darling, the farm, could not be that far...But every river bend looked the same than the one before, every tree did too, so after walking down river for a while, I walked all the way back and then walked further on. Then, when once again I realised I was on the wrong path, I turned around, un-walked what I had just walked, and walked further downstream.

Eventually after three hours of ever increasing circles I managed to find Bindara. By that time I had saved a stupid sheep that had fallen down a hole, and was digging herself further into it.

I have decided sheep are not very bright.

Bindara cemetery. The climate is so dry there are stones from 1837 in which you can still read the markings...

Sunday was not meant to be a day off, something odd that also has to do with the fact that Barb and Bill are 7th Day Adventists. So, although they were away, I still got up early ready to do some work with Charles. A couple of issues with machinery later and we ended up with nothing to do for the day, so I just sat and relaxed with my book and a coffee, enjoying the sunshine. Gusts of cool wind reminded us that spring was yet to come. Nonetheless, it was this fact, that spring had not arrived yet, that allowed me, in my head, to walk freely around the farm, enjoying the sight of emus, kangaroos, parrots, but at the same time knowing that snakes were hibernating.

Bindara homestead built in 1895

Bindara serves as campsite for caravans, tents, and they even have some small cottages, giving the family an extra income stream during these hard times, as the persistent drought does not allow for a lot of animals to live off the land. After having spent months with people that have been considerably younger than myself, I have suddenly found myself spending a week with people well above my age, not just the people living on the farm, but all their customers.

Barb and Charles preparing breakfast by the camp fire


  1. That was one lucky sheep!!

  2. I would say that was more a stupid sheep, bless her....

  3. Good Stuff. Sounds bloody remote!