Monday, July 21, 2014

Strzelecki Desert Trip - Part 8. Fort Grey.

Fort Grey gave me time for some R&R. Like Montecollina Bore there seemed to be concentration of birds and other features here to keep me occupied for more than just a 'camp stop'. Actually, I could have spent a few days here.
The note in the information shed informed visitors that due to heavy rains in previous years the walk to Sturts Tree was closed, as the track was still very boggy. I don't when they were out here last but the track was now just as dry and dusty as everything else was around here. The rains had germinated a good crop of Coolibah trees on the flats before you get to the 'lake' and there were 100's, possibly 1000's, of seedlings, 30-40 cm high, covering the ground. As one of the signs said, good follow up rains are required to ensure the survival of these seedlings as if not the more mature trees will dominate and take up any moisture in the ground.
Although Lake Pinaroo was dry there was a good coverage of herbs and grasses and this had attracted a large number of Red Kangaroos and Emus. As a matter of fact, I couldn't get over the vast numbers of Red Kangaroos that were there. At times, across the other side of the lake the whole ground seemed to move as they hopped around.
I enjoyed walking around here, at times it seemed like I was the only person left on earth.

Days 11 & 12, Wednesday - Thursday 9th - 10th July.      Fort Grey.

A dry Lake Pinaroo, Fort Grey.

As you cross this last dune and return to the Fort Grey campground, spare a thought for Captain Charles Sturt and his expedition party.     
    Sturt set out from Adelaaide in August 1844 with:
16 Officers,  11 horses,  30 bullocks,  1 boat and boat carriage, 1 horse and dray,  1 spring cart,
3 bullock drays,  200 sheep,  2 sheep dogs,  4 kangaroo dogs.  Total Cost in 1844 2,500 pounds ($5,000).
One man died on the trip.
...........The inclusion of two sailors and the boat shows us that Sturt was very sure that there was an inland sea
in Central Australia. His theory was based on waterfowl flying towards the centre of Australia seen from Adelaide and Melbourne.   .....if he had come in a very wet year he might have found his inland sea in the Cooper Creek area but it would have been fresh water. wet years this area teem with waterfowl and in some places the Cooper runs out to over 200 kms (124 miles) wide.

Red sand dunes suround the lake.

The dunes that you have crossed to get to Fort Grey run along in the same directions - south west to north east. These 
'Longitudunal Dunes' are formed by sand transported by winds that prevail from the south west, hence their direction.
It is thought that the sand was blown in from the Strzelecki Desert during windier and drier times when there ther was 
less vegetation and moisture to hold the soil together. Eventually the prvailing winds 'pushed' the sand into their current formations.

Just like the beach, only red.

Love in the dunes.

Reminder of the old Fort Grey Homestead.

 Fort Grey Homestead riuns.

The old and the new.

A fungi breaks through the sandy crust to peak at the sun.

These discarded seed husks tell you what these ants eat.

Shade in the afternoon means I'll be getting the sun first thing in the morning.

Living like a king.
One small tin of peas, one tin of baked beans, sausage, carrot and potato (all day breakfast) and a sarsaparilla.
No wrappers on the tins means that they were heated up on the stove, all I have to wash up is a spoon.

A moon-lit walk to the old mill for a haunting photo.

The only eye reflections I could get in the spot light were spiders. There were 100's, wolf and trap-door spiders.

The Sturt Tree walk, 6 km (4 mile) return.

A reminder of its pastoral history.

The red sand of the dunes meet the white sands of the lake.

The nest of  Bag Moths. The caterpillars of the moth will devour all the leave off a tree.

A beautiful day for a walk in a lake.

Wedge-tailed Eagle carrying large stick to nest. Fort Grey.

Trees from better times.

Emus on the lake at Fort Grey.

Some of the many Emus that were feeding on the plentiful greenery.

A time of plenty.

Sharing the same track.

Remains of an old boundary fence.

The fence wire even went through living (then) trees.

Remains of the old steam driven water pump and sheds.

Walking Beam

The timber supports of a shearing / crutching shed.

Now Like Headstones .

The rusting wheels of time.

Lonely Webs.

Sometimes you need to take more than one photo.

...........and just one more.

Somewhere in the distance is Sturt's Tree.

Red Kangaroos at Fort Grey, Sturt National Park NSW

One proud roo. Welcome to my place.

Count the number of Kangaroos.

Pointing Home.

Sturt's Tree, Lake Pinaroo, Fort Grey.

"We dismounted and led our horses down to water before I went to a tree under which I had directed Mr Brown to deposit a letter for me....."  
  'As soon as we unsaddled the horses we went to the tree and dug up the bottle into which, as agreed, Mr Brown had put
a letter informing me that he had been most relunctantly obliged to retreat ......He said that he should fall back on the old Depot".......
Sturt 1847.
 The scar you are facing is believed to be the original blazed by Sturt or Brown in 1845. with the exception of the above, Sturt's Journal makes no further mention of a tree he possibly blazed. About 76 years after Sturt in the early 1920's a Surveyor retracing Sturt's steps blazed the eastern side of the tree and engraved 'Sturt 1845'..... 

Sturt's Tree, Lake Pinaroo, Fort Grey.

Trying to take in that they actually dragged a boat all the way out here.

I'm just happy that Emus can't fly.

Memories of dancing with Roos.

Some of the birds that kept me company.
Clockwise from top left:
        Blue Bonnet Parrots,      Red-backed Kingfisher,     Crimson Chat,       Tree Martin,      Black-faced Woodswallow,  

End of Part 8

Scroll to bottom of page, Click on 'Older Posts' to go to Part 9

Camera:  Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

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