Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Burra and continuing north

We stayed overnight in Burra in a historic miners cottage.  The cottages are set in long rows around a square and had a separate bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom.  They were certainly unique but lacked in some of the more modern day necessities – there was one power point in the bedroom (accommodating the queen bed and a single bed), none in the lounge, and one in the kitchen powering the small fridge, the small hot plate, jug, and toaster.  This provided a challenge to run the one heater which the cord allowed only to be used in the bedroom, and power up i-phones, i-pads, i-pods etc.  A lesson in how life used to be especially when none of the boys knew how to turn on the lights using a pull cord!  Tim and Jake slept in the lounge in which we were able to light a small open fire but typical of an old style fire, most of the heat went up the chimney.  Fortunately it wasn’t too cold overnight and we all slept well.

This morning we explored the town a little – the houses and buildings were all built out of light coloured old stone bricks.  The younger boys enjoyed playing down by the river looking for the various native birds and taking lots of photos.  We visited the information centre and also the regional council rooms as we wanted to see the fossil display – the fossils of ancient creatures were found east of Burra and provided a history very different to today.

On the way out of town we stopped off at a lookout to see the copper mine that operated in the area until the late 1800s – the levels of the mine could be easily seen with the various tall buildings high on the hill above.
We continued on and our first stop was at the site of a wind farm – there are four wind farms in South Australia which provide 20% of the state’s electricity.  There was a blade of a windmill on display and we were all amazed at how big it was – it was 44 metres long.  The wind farm we saw provided electricity to some 40,000 homes.

We stopped off at Peterborough for lunch – cooked cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches using the small gas cooker at the rest area in the middle of town.  There were at least ten caravans parked up at the same time – reminders to us of our travels over the last couple of years.  Obviously most of these people were heading to the Flinders Ranges.
Peterborough is a town in the mid north of South Australia, in wheat country, just off the Barrier Highway. At the 2006 census, Peterborough had a population of 1,689

We continued on to Hawker at the south end of the Flinders Ranges and then taking the road to the west of the Ranges we travelled north initially to Parachilna.  Unfortunately time does not allow us to explore the Flinders Ranges.  We had initially planned to stop overnight at Parachilna but a vote was taken to continue another sixty kilometres to Leigh Creek to reduce the travel tomorrow.  We have driven through some pretty arid sheep farming land today and we have been surprised to see the number little lambs.  The ruins of many old cottages are also scattered along the highway telling stories of life in the area. 

The landscape is now much more scrubby with only the occasional flock of sheep – Tim has been on kangaroo patrol as he is very keen to see a mob of wild kangaroo but as yet has only seen a couple.  We continue to see quite a few emu and the odd hawk.  Other than that the only evidence of wildlife has been the road kill which the boys are quick to point out.

We are now staying at Leigh Creek which is 66 kilometres north of Parachilna.  South Australia generates about 40% of its electricity from coal mined at Leigh Creek – apparently almost daily the mine fills a 2.8 kilometre long train with nearly 10,000 tonnes of coal bound for Port Augusta.  With a bit of luck we just might see the train tomorrow.  Tonight we have stayed in a cabin but the weather is certainly getting warmer so we will tent from tomorrow.  We cooked our dinner of hamburgers followed by crumpets with honey outside on the BBQ’s while the boys played spotlight with the help of headlamps. 


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