After our walk on the lake, we stopped at Mutonia Sculpture Park at Alberrie Creek to check out some of the weird and wonderful sculptures from mechanic-cum-sculptor Robin Cooke. We also passed many old water tanks from the Ghan’s days of steam. A quick calc shows these each held more than 50,000 l of water.
The weird and wonderful Mutonia Sculpture Park at Alberrie Creek.
About twenty kilometres from Lyndhurst and bitumen, Kris and I were congratulating ourselves on traversing this iconic stretch of the Oodnadatta track without incident. A few minutes later and without any warning I heard a deep rumble from the caravan, meaning only one thing, BLOWOUT! We had reduced tyre pressures and were travelling at about 50 kph, so doing everything right. We had been over thousands of kilometres of worse roads, so c’est la vie I suppose. Sam took the photo below and interviewed me whilst I changed the tyre, which was almost too hot to touch.
After all that excitement we limped into Leigh Creek (where we noticed the other van tyre was almost flat too!). The first thing that struck us was that the town seemed orderly and quite new. It turns out that Leigh Creek was relocated back in the mid eighties to make way for the local coal mine. This was a town built from scratch only 30 years ago for mine staff, a bit like Tom Price but even more orderly. The caravan park manager told us that the Leigh Creek mine was closing in less than a month and no-one seemed to know what would happen to the town after that. Indigenous housing? Refugee camp? These were some of the options that are apparently being bandied about. One thing we noticed was the town’s water quality was exceptional, not the often saline and sometimes sulphurous taste typical from artesian bore supplied systems.
We were there simply to restock and reduce our ‘to do list’ of jobs before heading further south into the Flinders Ranges to meet up with Eric and Michelle from such previous entries as Hallett Cove! Plus I now had “fix the tyres” added to the list. So Sunday was spent doing just that and Monday we attempted to restock best we could (at a Foodland that was trying hard to run its stock down). Fortuitous I suppose that we had allowed an extra day as travel contingency ‘in case we blew a tyre’. Damn you karma.