Sunday, October 11, 2009

Often the surface soil was of fine red 'cornflour' and was voluptuous and cushioned the Michelins around the curves of the drive in the National Park where trace of ancient megafauna could be sensed (such as the giant obese wombats and the towering kangaroos) and all the roads led to Vigars Wells in the middle of nowhere to the path taken by the horse drawn coaches.
There any romanticising of the west dissolved away.
The deserted dry outpost was windswept. Why did the old coaches cross the sand dunes instead of taking an easier path? Even today compacted wagon wheel tracks are still visible. Imagine the strain on the horse teams.

Vigars wells (in the previous photo) were build at a natural soak and were a vital watering and resting point used, for instance, by the famous Cobb & Co coaches whose services linked settlements literally from one end of the country to the other (in the eastern states).
By 1870, Cobb and Co were harnessing 6 000 horses per day and were covering 45 000 km each week. They moved the station people (farmers and pastoralists), shearing teams, wool buyers and public servants. The last coach ceased operating in 1924 in North Queensland.
Slower wagons drawn by horses or bullock teams took wool to the river ports of the Murray river and river boats cut the delivery times to Adelaide by as much as 3 months.
(The data is from intrepretive signage. I wonder if it has any exaggerations. And how well did the company manage all those horses?)

1 comment:

Leif Hagen said...

Awesome capture of the kangaroooooos! Timing is everything! Super!