Monday, March 11, 2013

Outback Trip - Day 5 - Muloorina Station to William Creek - Part 2

Having taken a few pics of Lake Eyre from the viewing point we were ready to hit the track again.

It doesn't take long from the viewing point to arrive at Coward Springs...

It was lunch time so it seemed a natural place for us to stop.

History - it's here in spades.  in terms of the Old Ghan Line the place was once called Coward Springs Siding, and the line reached here in 1888, and it was once the westernmost point on the line.  Apparently there was more than the buildings that are there now.  That said the Engine Drivers Cabin has been restored using traditional methods and it serves as a museum.  Definitely worth a look.  The Stationmasters House has also been restored and is the residence of the owners of the site.

About a year or so before the line reached Coward Springs a bore was sunk to support the trains travelling on the line.  The flow wasn't controlled and eventually the pipework rusted out, creating a wetland of abot 70 hectares and a pool that was used by the locals.  In 1993 the bore was rehabilitated and the flow controlled.  The wetland remains, the pool is gone but there is an outback spa!

So after a quick dip and some lunch we had a wander through the site.

The wetlands behind the spa and pretty interesting.

It is $2 per person for a day use visit and $10 per person per night to camp here.  The facilities are fantastic.  Definitely worth a stop if you have time.

And it's worth having a read about Thomas Coward - who the springs are named for as well.  The short version is that he migrated to Australia from England and settled in Adelaide, joined the goldrush and escorted gold between Bendigo and Adelaide, became a policeman, and with Peter Wauberton he discovered the springs, he accompanied MacDonnell on his exploration of Central Australia, was fired from SA police for gross ill treaement of a horse.  He was sent to Queensland as a detectivve to hunt Frank Gardiner.  The reason I mention this is that Frank was caught in my hometown (Yass) trying to sell stolen horses.

If you haven't heard of Gardiner his story is worth a read - his story is probably one of the most unusual in terms of Australian bushrangers!

From Coward Springs it is another hundred or so kilometers to William Creek.  Arriving mid afternoon we decided to camp for the night, and a couple of folks from the party booked flights over Lake Eyre.

A quick set up was called for, in the shade of the trees in the William Creek Hotel campground.  This place is a true outback experience.

Depending on where you do the research, there are either 3 or 6 permanant residents of William Creek.  In tourist season there are a whole lot more, particulalry when there is a bit of water in Lake Eyre.  Pilots come to town and run flights over the Lake, Anna Creek Station and the Painted Desert.

Across the road from the pub is a small park with relics from the nearby Woomera Prohibited Area, once a nuclear and rocket test facility.

With the sun setting we popped in to the pub for a meal - which was fantastic, watched some football on the pub's TV, sat around the campfire chatting with other campers, and decided life was pretty good.

A William Creek Hotel sunset...

Our campfire - probably one of the best campfire pics I have taken!

Next time - William Creek to Oodnadatta

No comments:

Post a Comment