Friday, December 13, 2013

same trees 45 years on

it's a long story but in January 1968 my brother Denis and I set out in a little Austin 30 car to paint pictures. We headed towards QLD but changed our minds half way and headed to a place in South Australia we had vaguely heard of called the Flinders Ranges.

The little car which was laden with painting gear that I had been accumulating over a year,  and camping equipment, developed a problem of jamming between 2nd and 3rd gear... which we finally solved by driving only in 3rd and 4th gear.

We asked a friendly local at the Hawker garage where the good scenery was and he  told us that the Moralana Track had good scenery... and that the road was good!!! ... 20 miles of dirt track and bouncing through dry creek beds later, with me jumping out to help push the car up the creek banks in  100 degree plus mid Summer temperatures left the car with broken springs, no exhaust pipe, tyres peeling and a fan that had seized up and couldn't turn the fan belt... or turn the generator... or cool the engine, and it had to be push started in 3rd gear!

We camped on the bank of the Arkaba Creek near Rawnsley Bluff and once a week I would hitch a lift into Hawker for a few supplies, usually with the daily truck from the Barytes mine. At Easter we eventually sold a few paintings to the Smith's, owners of nearby Rawnsley Park Station and were able to drive to Adelaide to commence the next stage of our artistic journey.
I had my 21st birthday camping there and at that time we didn't own a camera to record any of the scenery or our experiences there.
I have always wanted to go back there with Denis, but unfortunately he died a few years ago... and I  finally made the trip back there this last week or so, camping not far from our original campsite and traversing familiar territory.

I was moved to recognize a pair of wonderful gum trees that I had painted 45 years ago, still standing in much the same condition... and sketched another version... here are the  gums painted as a 20 year old in 1968, though I modified the background later, a photo of the trees as they stand today, and my latest sketch of them.

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