Remote, in the great Outback north of Adelaide rise the Flinders ranges. The scattered vegetation is aligned in green bands on the walls of orange rock. As the day progresses the colours soften on the mountain chain, passing through their blues, mauves, reds or sombre ochres before vanishing with the night.
The Adnyamathanha aborigines have lived here for at least 10,000 years. The red ochre of the Flinders ranges was sought and used throughout Australia. Settlement by European graziers in the 1850’s had a terribly destructive impact on the aboriginal people living in the mountains. In the end the region’s difficult conditions drove the graziers away, only a few years later, leaving the Flinders ranges deserted.
Today it is a national park offering wonderful beautiful walks. Although we put on hats as soon as we are up the sun soon beats hard and the climb up Mount Ohlssen Bagge quickly reminded us what is it to be hot…
In Port Augusta we had some things to do before pushing into the dead centre of Australia… like, how do you change engine oil when you’re a nomad?
Go to the tip, find a tin can, make sure it will hold the old oil. Install yourselves in a car park. See a bloke approach to tell us that “Sorry, but you can’t do an oil change here, not permitted”. Drive round looking for a quiet spot. Say to ourselves what we need is a big basin. Brake violently because right there on the side of the road is an old plastic bath. Not to linger, because this looks a bit like we are tramps. Get going. Say to ourselves we need to get old cartons from the tip to avoid soiling the ground. Brake frantically for the second time because some big cartons are lying right there on the roadside. Tell ourselves a super-genie is materialising our thoughts. Think maybe we need a million dollars. Realise the genie has his limits. Stop in the quiet parking area of a slightly decrepit footy field. Finally make the oil change. Freak out when a bloke pushing a row of shopping trolleys stops next to us and makes a call on his phone while looking at us. Rush. Shove all the really black muck into the van. Speed to the tip which closes in 30 mins. Drop everything there. Mission successfully accomplished!
Next step : find a shower.
Thanks to Graham Fisher for this amazing translation.