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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Flinders Rangers, South Australia

The Rawnsley Park Station Caravan Park is right here

Warm colours

Wilpena homestead, circa 1869

Views in every direction for miles

Giant gum trees over 400 years old

It just goes on

and on

Beautiful gum trees

in every direction

One of Hans Heysen's Flinders paintings

The Flinders Ranges cover 80% of South Australia but has less than 1% population. They stretch for 250 kilometres north of Adelaide and then go on for another 800 kilometres into the outback.

A visit to the Flinders Ranges is hard to describe. The consistent granduer everywhere you look, mile after mile, is almost overwhelming, too much to take in. I've never seen anything like it before and it took my breath away. It brings to mind that famous poem by Dorothea McKellar called 'My Country'.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly