Desert Lake, General, Art + Environment

Part 3; Bogged at Boolcoomatta

The third stage of our trip in April was to Bush Heritage Australia’s Boolcoomatta Reserve which lies about 100 kms west of Broken Hill in South Australia. It is a jewel of a property in great condition and wonderful for watching birds, emus and euros. There was a large gathering of BHA staff, board members, volunteers and supporters for the weekend. As usual I slipped straight off outside or to the nearest hill to sketch when ever I could and spent two days out an historic copper mine site, painting another 6 panel work. Faye ducked off to the dump per usual and collected some old steel radial wire and fabricated 2 beautiful semi spherical vessel shapes over the visit.

Rain showers were moving across the vast chenopod landscape and once again I had to move canvases and sketches under cover and into the 4WD every time if got too damp. It was disconcerting to see the landscape so verdant and when I painted up at the mine, even the mullock heaps were tinged green from the copper and the red ochre soils were littered with many green mineral fragments lying around. This required quite a modification in my usual palette.

I largely completed a 6 panel work on paper, later finished in the studio.

I distinguished myself by getting well and truly bogged on the way to the mine site and had to use the personal satellite beacon, EPNRB, all visitors are required to use when not at the base and within an hour, two staff had arrived and pulled me out. I was mortified of course especially as all the rest of the group were waiting in vehicles to visit a site.

Anzac morning was freezing and clear and the more intrepid of the group climbed to the top of a hill where the last post was sounded apparently somewhat in advance but otherwise formalities were observed.

We drove back to NSW the day after Anzac day through tough mulga country around Cobar, stripped bare by a goat invasion, then struck locust swarms again as we headed further south. Our part of the world in central NSW looks much drier and the ground cover worse by far than most of the “desert” country we travelled though in South Australia, with the exception of Cobar. However the streets are being paved in gold there, well massive pavers of shiny polished granite in pink and black anyway, the minerals boom is rampant right through the outback it seems no matter where we travel.