I look in the rear vision mirror to see an enormous cloud of red bulldust ‘following’ me. Nothing else. Just this dust. And it just keeps on keeping on. I go straight. It goes straight – sort of. I turn a corner – same with the dust. I go over a hill – maybe it thins out slightly, just momentarily, but just as I think I might have finally shaken it off – there it is again, in all its glory.
But this is part and parcel of the outback and this is where I am heading for. That wonderful, amazing, spectacular, superb expanse of land that does, after all, make up most of the landmass of Australia. It used to be considered the backbone of a nation – and as far as I am concerned it still is. Yet – most people from urban Australia and from overseas know very little about it. In fact, ask most such people about the ‘country’ and they’ll be able to tell you quite a lot about farms – the wheatbelt, cropping, dairy cows, pigs, hens etc etc. And yes that is the country – very much so but I am talking about the outback – that huge area that cannot rely on its rain. Actually it cannot rely on anything much, apart from the usual – taxes and death!
And it has everything to offer. It has amazing scenery – if you really look – it is there. It has history galore – I understand the continent of Australia is actually one of the oldest in the world, if not the oldest – it’s just that we have become inhabited only ‘recently’. Geology – some of the land formations out there are just amazing. It has mystery – a lot of that, so I discovered when I have been travelling throughout this huge area during the research trips for ‘Red Dust Dreams’. And sooo much more – really, the list is endless.
Ok, so it doesn’t have the rainfall – in fact, much of the outback is suffering through years/decades of pure drought. Yes, it’s dry – it’s parched. Thus the reason for that cloud of dust mentioned at the start of this. Turn on a tap and nothing happens – quite the norm out there. And it’s not because you haven’t paid your water bill – it’s because there is no water to come out. You might be lucky to get a burst of that dust but water – what water!
And yes, I can vouch for all the above and so much more about the outback – I originate from a sheep station in South Australia. And while I have lived in the city for most of my life, I have and will always remain fiercely passionate about this area – almost to a fault. So much so that I have written my book, ‘Red Dust Dreams, about it – it has been a work in progress for about three years now and about to be published. And to say I am absolutely thriving on this would be the understatement.