Macdonnell Ranges and The Min Min
Grey Gypsies of Australia
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Our plan had been to drive no more than around 400km each day and always be in camp by about 4pm. An early start the following morning saw up packed and off by 9am to tackle the 500km drive down the Developmental Road to Boulia. We recommend this drive on a narrow blacktop road where you have to pull over onto the gravel if you meet an oncoming truck or car. The countryside looked fantastic still a bright emerald green with red-brown ranges of hills and mesa rising behind the plains. At 3.30 that afternoon we arrived at Boulia, home of the famed Min Min although as we were to learn the Min Min could be found all over the area including the road we had just driven on. So far we had ignored most tourist entertainments on the trip being happy to be photographing and sketching instead but at Boulia we visited te Min Min Experience a recreation of many of the local stories of the Min Min presented in a series of areas you wander through. Animatronic models of bushmen, housewives and truckies all told their tales as lights and sounds created a semblance of reality in the intricately presented scenes. Back in the caravan park Professor “Joe” a university botany lecturer gathered us up in the late afternoon and took us to the world’s largest site of the rare acacia peuce in one of only three places where it grows. This fussy and attractive wattle looks almost like a conifer when it is in its juvenile stage but grows out of this into a tall more wattle like tree. Our first night in Boulia we drove out after dark for 50km hoping to catch a glimpse of the Min Min. What are they? Strange rolling or tumbling lights that weave an erratic path across the plains. They are mostly seen by stockmen or truckies out at night who come across them accidentally. The only light we saw was a cold blue one on the horizon that we guessed was coming from the Springvale Homestead’s machinery shed. After two days in Boulia, population 200, we left the hospitable little town to take the Kennedy Developmental Road to Winton.
Boulia Acacia Peuce Professor Joe Boulia