Sketches from the outback

Winter is the best time to travel in Australia’s outback – the nights are cold but the days are generally warm and sunny and not too many flies have started to hang around, looking for any living thing to bother. We have been on the road for about ten days now. First campsite was Nyngan in the west of NSW on the banks of the Bogan River. Pelicans sailing up and down, looking for the huge quantities of fish they need to survive, a spoonbill, numerous other birds making their living along the river.

Next stop was Wilcannia, a new very small caravan park on the banks of the Darling, once again full of birds. We hadn’t intended to stop here but the head winds were so strong that driving on to White Cliffs was too exhausting and the diesel consumption was ferocious. Black, black clouds gathered and rain poured through the night. The weather didn’t improve much for White Cliffs, still cold with bursts of rain but we were able to wander around fossicking for opal in the mullock heaps thrown up by the scores of miners who have sought their fortune over the last 150 years or so, and take a tour in a working mine. These are all small operations, one or two people working each claim, many with just basic tools, but this one was more sophisticated, with powered diggers and machinery for sifting and crushing the rock that was excavated.

Tibooburra was next stop, last chance at phone signal or Internet then on towards Innamincka through the Sturt National Park. We always think of how harsh the conditions must have been for those intrepid (and sometimes stupid) early explorers. It’s hard going even when you are as well equipped as we are, and with satnav and decent maps. (The satnav was pretty confused at times though, urging us to ‘turn right in 200 metres’ even when there was not even a hint of a track …) Bush camping at lovely small campsites near abandoned properties for the next couple of days, then Innamincka, on the Cooper Creek, near where Burke and Wills died. Now a couple of days in the relative civilisation of Birdsville, we can have a shower and wash the dust off our clothes before heading north.

Please leave comments, but I may not be able to respond for a few days, just depending on when we get the next Internet access!






Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

12 thoughts

  1. Anna ! … I really think we ought to be treated to a picture of you the intrepid outback artist under that flynet 🙂
    What lovely little sketches and paintings of your treasure finds . Opal fossicking … did you strike lucky I wonder .
    I love these outback adventures of yours .. I had to google to see whereabouts you are heading , you’ve done some mileage by the looks of it .
    Catch up soon x


    1. Thanks Poppy! I was thinking I should add some photos … not at all glamorous I have to say … we did find some tiny opals but probably too little to do anything with. I have missed seeing your posts, the internet we get is sporadic and so slow, but I will look forward to a good catch up in a few weeks! x


  2. You must be having a lovely time judging by your inspirational visual and written art. How wonderful it is to travel, observe and render what you see. Especially your last two pages of drawings of ‘dead bits’ remind us what a harsh physical environment you are in.


    1. It certainly is a harsh environment Julie. I think a lot about the explorers and even more about the early settlers, their lives must have been difficult and so lonely. I love it out here but we have all the modern day things to make life simple. (But limited phone and internet! How tough is that! ) I have looked at your last post but when I tried to comment kept losing signal. It looks amazing, everything you hoped for. I especially liked the photo of the maiko laughing with her hands over her mouth, such surprise and joy.


  3. I thought of you the other day when Richard and I got to spend the afternoon visiting with some friends in Stockholm and he pulled out his sketchbooks, also filled with glorious drawings and watercolors. I wanted to sneak away with all of them crammed into my pockets, but resisted because I like Erling too much. 😉 Your work never ceases to fill me with inspiration and admiration in the same ways!


  4. Ah, I’m traveling with you and loving every minute of your details you post. Me being on almost opposites end of the globe find this all so fascinating. Thank you for the beautiful glimpses into you vacation and world. You leave me so inspired, especially to see more!


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