Mad Max: the world of no water and no fuel

Km travelled: 5908

WINS: 

  • Met Baz who has been building his Emu Export caravan castle since 1999
  • Met Lenni (Lynette) who packed up and sold her life in Melbourne and moved to Gwalia
  • Decided Gwalia would be a great set for the next American Horror. Seriously

LOSSES

Not so much my losses but a but things that happened….

  • Leinster was cut off from water, which frankly is inexcusable
  • Menzies has no working fuel pumps so I could be here for a while
  • Some professional thieves tried to steal the ATM at Leonora
  • Basically it’s Mad Max out here and I’m thinking of pimping up the jeep with bones and stuff.

So this blog encompasses Zeus and my journey through the UpsideDown of the central Goldfields.


I left an allegedly ‘broken-hearted’ Jurgen out with Peace Gorge in Meekatharra and headed south towards Mount Magnet. That said, I was to discover Jurgen tends to stick to you a bit like a movie where the quotes run around in your head for a few days – we’ve spoken every day since as he’s been having computer problems. I assisted as best I could, my attempts to ask questions like ‘what does it say under control panel’ were interrupted by raucous renditions of boomerang-related poetry. 

True story.

Driving through Cue was like driving through a ghost ghost town. I literally did not see another human. But the buildings were beautiful and the wide streets with a gazebo in the centre of a round-about reminded me of the Victorian goldfields – Ballarat. Stawell. Bendigo.


I have nothing pictorial from Mount Magnet but did discover I had landed well into Prospecting Land.

Discussions about gold, locations thereof, weeks spend bush during ‘the season’ and fears of potential rainfall dominated conversations.

Turns out the new gold detectors are so sensitive they detect increased mineralisation after rainfall, rendering them almost useless. It’s always a good idea to hold on to the older technology as well. Also the caravan park had a great camp kitchen where Zeus was subjected to further abuse of a second wash. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. The chap I was camped next to told me he had been tasked with moving the Gwalia bulk head back in the 1980s from the site of the current open-pit mine on the doorstep of Leonora to the now-museum. I did not appreciate what exactly he was talking about until I saw it…

On to Leinster, which is a company town where BHP insists on reverse parking only. Which is weird.

En route we passed through Sandstone, home of the ‘London Bridge’ which until that point, I’d never heard of. And also pro-gay marriage windmills, although I’m not sure that was their intent when said windmills were erected. You may guess, from the expression worn from Zeus, that he was not so keen on getting out of the car for photographs as it was pretty hot.


My favourite thing about Leinster is the golf course. We walked nine holes on our first day and the full 18 the following morning. Dinner was at the BHP Mess and I now understand why FIFO workers come back to Perth with a bit more of them to love. I think I ate enough to feed the French Foreign Legion. 

In terms of accommodations for what I thought was good value, we got a powered site with water, showers and toilets for $20.


However,  it turns out Leinster’s water supply had been cut off. The whole town. I am not sure how many toilet flushes they had in reserve but I had to think it wouldn’t be long before the situation became a bit dire.

Even worse, THERE WAS NO COFFEE AS THERE WAS NO WATER.

I knew the trip to Leonora would be touch and go. 

Upon arrival, I fuelled up on caffeine from the $1.50 Shell service station before heading straight out to the Gwalia museum where I met Lynette (Lenni) who had packed up her life in Melbourne to move to Leonora as a…what would that be… A dust change?

She told me since starting at the tourist ghost town 15 months previously, she had met many people who had grown up back when Gwalia was open and had lived in one of the tin shanty huts that now host items from a long-forgotten past.


Lenni fed me soft drink, and babysat Zeus in her airconditioned office as I traipsed around the museum section of Gwalia and the spectacular Hoover House. I would one day love to rent the whole of Hoover House out with mates and just have a killer time. 

The townsite itself was just… Eerie. Like a set for American Horror. See:

 
The bikes and pressed tin particularly left an impression:


Back in Leonora three things happened:

1. I met Bazza, the ultimate fish out of water. He is waiting for his Lotto numbers to come up so he can finally leave Leonora – where he’s been since 1999 – and head deep sea fishing to the coast. He even has a boat. His castle of Emu Export and camel skulls has been carefully crafted over the years and is by far the most interesting camp site I’ve ever seen. Obviously I’m not alone as he has featured on the cover of a magazine:


2. I discovered the tourist bureau – on the corner of Trump and Tower Streets, had been closed all day as thieves had broken in to the council building next door. Apparently They’d were ‘professionals’, cut the alarm system and didn’t leave any fingerprints in an attempt to steal the atm.


3. We met Mila, the beautiful pug-staffs cross who sadly had been mauled by a Mastiff of some description a few weeks back. As a result she had become fearful and bitey towards other dogs. Her owner and I struck up a conversation and Zeus relentlessly annoyed her with friendship… Until she stopped snarling and, to her owner’s delight, started playing. Mila and Zeus had a pug sprint around the caravan park to the delight of everyone who had known about the attack on Mila.


Zeus and I took a walk around Malcolm dam in the morning before heading back out to Gwalia for one last look…

…now we’re stuck in Menzies because there’s no fuel, and I’m thinking of pimping up the jeep with flame throwers and bones to get all Mad Max because seriously people!

Next edition will feature the Lake Ballard statues and how to scare the bejesus out of yourself on a salt flat.



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