12th September – Tuesday

We left this morning heading for Halls Creek. On arriving we fuelled up and visited the info centre. I enquired if there was a museum, unfortunately “no” was the answer. The best we could do was unhitch the van, leaving it in the car park opposite the info centre, and then drive out to Old Halls Creek about 15 klms out of town on a (you guessed it) corrugated dirt road. We saw a possible Skene (although spelt SKEEN) brass plaque where the butcher shop was once upon a time. We then visited the old graveyard which despite having about 30-40 people interned there,  now only had about 10 or so headstones. Mum and Dad informed me that Norman Bourke Welman, the chap I was trying to find some info on was buried out at the Ord River Station that we had already passed the turn off for on the way in. I would have had a mutiny on my hands if I had have back-tracked, as the level of enthusiasm for my history tour was very low. This wasn’t helped by the fact it was at least 39C, and I told the kids we would go out to the gorge for a swim, but changed my mind when I realised that would involve a 50klm return trip on a corrugated red dirt road. Plus I was keen to get back to town to rescue the the caravan. We left Halls Creek heading for the Mary Pools rest stop. We had lunch here,  but given it was still stupid hot (39 c) and it was only around 2pm I figured we could get some more k’s under our belt and in doing so spend the rest of the hot part of the day in the car’s air conditioning. Our next stop was going to be Ngumban Cliff rest stop, which is where Maree and I had a memorable free stop on our trip around Australia 16 years ago. When we arrived here today though there were several small bushfires burning with lots of smoke around. It looked quite spectacular actually as all of the hawks were riding the fire thermals. Unfortunately as has been the case MANY times on this trip I haven’t been able to just pull over to take a photo because of the limitations placed by towing a caravan, as opposed to the bongo van (Daihatsu Delta) we had last time. Being forced again to continue we pushed on to Fitzroy Crossing where we fuelled up before racing the sunset again to the next free stop at Ellendale. The sun won, having finally adjusted our clocks and watches to WA time, we mistakenly thought sunset would be at the same time (7.30pm), which it wasn’t (5.45pm being closer to the actual sunset time). We got here on dark o’clock, but found a good spot and set up for the night. Another big day and we all feel a bit weary, no doubt helped by the heat. Another hot night too. At least yesterday when the sun went down it got cool. No such luck yet tonight…

ELLENDALE FREE REST STOP