Posts Tagged ‘outback Australia’

Roadhouse to sleeping bag.

I settle in, under the stars.

To dream …

Just before light,

Painful screams (mine)

Awake me (& everyone).

People rushing to assist.

Thinking disaster but …

The scream comes from

An eerie dream sparked by

An eerie place fuelled by alcohol.

Ending with severe cramps …

and blood-curdling screams.

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Bus rumbles along

Through hours of red dusty landscape.

One diversion, cards,

More engaging when

Playing for money.

Mr Ellem joins in.*

Pontoon, for cash.

Coins on a makeshift table

In the aisle of a bumpy bus

We play for hours.

Mr Ellem loses heavily

Schoolkids win,

My winnings … big – about $9.


* I am pretty sure this game took place along the Stuart Highway as we headed towards Alice Springs. The map below gives you a rough idea of our itinerary.

A, N=Penrith; B=Mt Isa; C= Camooweal; D=Three Ways; E=Katherine; F=Darwin; G=Alice Springs; H=Uluru (then known as Ayers Rock); I=Coober Pedy; J=Port Augusta; K=Adelaide; L=Mildura; M=Canberra




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A long school excursion,

Travelling for a few weeks


Transport: buses
Accommodation: camping
Travellers: interesting mix – oil & water.

Male teenagers & retirees.*

Teenagers guard(ian): Geography teacher.**

Steve & I are in.


Outback NSW & Queensland,

Darwin, Red Centre,

Simpson Desert,

Salt Lakes,

Simpson Gulf,


Barossa Valley,

NW Victoria




* Below is a (poor quality) picture of the traveling troupe. I am in the front row fourth from the left. Stephen is immediately to the right of me. Some others I think I can identify are:

John “Trapper” Trevena  – front row on the left of me.
Craig Bale – front row, immediately to the right of the lady with pink cardigan
Michael Bale (Craig’s cousin) – on the right of Craig.
John Welch – the tall guy right at the back, in a direct line back from Michael Bale.
The bloke waving his hand is (I think) Arpad Rapsak

** I am pretty sure the teacher was Mr Ellem.

*** In Short Memory #18 I recalled an event happening at aged 16. Only a few days later some of my alumni (Garry, Ruth, & Jenny) suggested that the event happened at least a year earlier. Recalling this excursion and it’s timing (3rd form – or year 9) pretty much confirms their opinion.

The Touring Party for a NHS Geography Excursion circa 1970

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