Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 2 Losing it outside Goondiwindi

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Lost in Australia can be frightening. Particularly when you don’t know where you are, the petrol gauge is showing empty and you have two German tourists in the car that are already fed up with travelling and fearful of the wildlife Australia has to offer. Not to mention that we had no provisions with us including water.

We left Goondiwindi with a plan – head off on the A39 to Toowoomba. We passed the point where this plan could change, or so I thought. How wrong could I be. Roger made a sudden decision we should head north finding the coast again around Gympie (north of Noosa, our destination). Seeing a road off to our left with a destination signpost he swung in quickly. The road quickly turned to gravel. Our GPS had us travelling cross country. Our car although used to dirt roads was shaking us to pieces. We drove and drove with no end in sight until suddenly we hit the dingo fence.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

The dingo fence is the world’s longest fence and one of the longest structures (5,614 kms) in the world. Built in the 1880s to keep dingos from the sheep properties of south-east Queensland, it stretches through Queensland starting in the Darling Downs, travels along the NSW border and through the Strzeleki Desert then turns at Cameron Corner (where the three states Qld, NSW and South Australia meet) and then travels down to the Great Australian Bite.Although it appears effective in keeping down the numbers of dingos it is expensive to maintain and as there are now no predators the other animals have flourished, leading to competition for pastures.

We had a choice to make however and we needed it to be the right choice with our lack of petrol and water. We opened the gate and went through, closing it behind us. We drove west for a short distance with the road becoming worse. We turned and retraced our steps and continued on our original dirt road heading north.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

Probably we would have made it to the road heading to Moonie no matter which road we took but finally, immensely relieved, we hit bitumen. Our German guests have not recovered from this trip and the next time and any future time they come they have insisted that they just want to sit at our house. They feel they have seen as much of Australia as they want to.

For myself, having survived the experience, I look back on it as an adventure that took me to a part of Australia that I wouldn’t expect to see without a four-wheel drive vehicle. The dingo fence. Something that I had learnt about in school but never expected to see.

Thank you to Norah Colvin who nominated me this challenge. Norah’s passion is childhood education and even if you don’t have children, there is always thought-provoking insightful writing that keeps those grey cells working. She even writes flash fiction in the Carrot ranch 99 word prompt. Catch her onion story.

The blogger I am nominating today (with no pressure to join in ) is Raewyn from Having Fun with photography who does just that. Flowers and life in New Zealand plus more. If you wish to participate it is 1 photo a day for five days add a story fiction or non-fiction or poetry, link to the person that nominated you and nominate 1 person each day.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
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14 Responses to Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 2 Losing it outside Goondiwindi

  1. This must be a real experience, not fiction. Harrowing adventure for all. So glad you’re all safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes this one is real. It was a worry at the time but afterwards, for me at any rate, a thrill. It would have been a different thing if it hadn’t turned out well like a couple of tourists (husband and wife) who argued about the way back to their campsite. They went two different ways. She was found dead through dehydration several days later. Not such a good outcome.

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  2. Norah says:

    I’m pleased you can look back on it and consider it an adventure, Irene, and that you all made it out safely. I remember one night years ago we drove through the bush for hours up Rockhampton way and over towards Duringa. A warning light was on the whole time and I didn’t know if we’d make it back safely or not. Fortunately we did, but the car wouldn’t start the next time we wanted to take it out (dead alternator). Maybe it had similar feelings to those of your German tourist friends. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TanGental says:

    Now I had no idea there was still a dingo fence; I know of the rabbit proof fence from the film of that name (any link or were they different?) but who knew? Thanks Irene. Getting lost can be kind of fun or terrifying, depending on context, can’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They were different. The rabbit proof fence was a much earlier attempt to keep rabbits from moving into the crop growing areas. They found this didn’t work but rather kept larger animals such as brumbies, wild boars, kangaroos and emus out and the foucus changed in farming to more livestock so the dingo fence was born. It is still operational but has been decreased in length from 8,000 kms to nearer 51/2,000 kms. Maintenance is expensive and they are using poison to supplement it in parts. Getting lost is fun after your found.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So fascinating. You live in a world so different from mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, yes — an adventure! I love hitting back roads and finding where they lead, although I do understand that lack of gas and water often cuts short the excursion. Interesting about the Dingo Fence. In the West, we are always grappling with issues of wildlife, especially predator and prey, and finding the balance.

    Liked by 1 person

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