The Northern Flinders Ranges,
mountains, minerals and mines.
The Northern Flinders Ranges, rugged, spectacular, quiet and magnificently scenic, can be reached by four wheel-drive and by conventional vehicle. Whichever form of transport is used, the traveller will be rewarded with unsurpassed views of this semi-arid part of South Australia.
Quite likely there will be encounters with kangaroos, emus, lizards, sheep, cattle, goats, wallabies, rabbits, foxes, possums and flies. The flora also will impress any adventurer with an eye for beauty. The scenery is one of harsh red rock escarpments, bold and remarkable.
There are breath-taking views of deep hidden gorges and equally deep shadows, alternating with wide open spaces, bathed in brilliant sunlight and covered with native pines and gums, or strewn with fine sand or boulders left behind by the last raging flood.
While negotiating the many bends, crests, dips and dry creek-beds, it is quite possible to imagine oneself in the same place a hundred or so years earlier, this time however without the air-conditioned car, esky and all other paraphernalia which seem so essential for today's travellers.
A hundred years ago, people using these tracks used bullockwagons, camel or donkey teams. They often walked besides them, taking weeks to cover what we do today in hours. They came from Adelaide, Ballarat, Cornwall, China and a hundred and one other places.
The book is a facinating glimpse into South Australia's early days when miners and their wives worked at places with exotic names like Nuccaleena, Yudanamutana, Bolla Bollana, Ediacara, Mochatoona and others, too many to name, hoping to make an instant fortune.
While it was normally profitable to build railways to inland mining towns, it was not so in the Northern Flinders Ranges. Even so lines of transport were carved out which helped with further development of towns and surrounding area. The largest town in that area in the nineteenth century was Blinman. Today the largest town is Leigh Creek, both mining towns.
This is no dry-as-dust history book. It is a human story about appalling living conditions, inadequate law enforcement, shortages of food, water and medical services. At the same time it is also a celebration of the tenacity of human nature against the odds. The book is filled with period photographs, including some unusual ones featuring goats and camels pulling carts as the only available means of transport.
This hardcover book of 368 pages has a large and detailed index, a bibliography, footnotes and many photographs.