There were lots more folks in camp ground than we expected due to NSW long weekend. Apparently it was packed out the previous day. We had a great campfire on our first night. We had considered having a guided tour of Mungo but decided it was too expensive. We had read a lot of available literature and did the self-drive tour. Self Drive Track First morning at Mungo was a lazy morning and we left for the self-drive tour at 10:30. There was green pick right through park, except for a few red soil mulga areas with very varied scenery. We walked the dune opposite the first lookout ramp & viewing station. (Café mobile possibility- but windy). The views were great and the winds light. We walked on less eroded ground on the right side of road where there were lots of surface bone fragments and some bigger pieces in wash-a-ways, mostly small mammal bones. Rob found an ancient Aboriginal fireplace and lots of flints which he took us back to see. There was also lots of charcoal. This is a great area for rambling for finds. You have to envisage where people would have camped out of the wind 40,000 years ago. We didn’t find a clay ball oven here, but did see them later in the trip elsewhere. Lunch was at Mallee walk picnic tables, 35 km from start of drive. On the walk there were no flowers out except some mulla mulla and saltbush berries. The Goat Trap we saw in 2006 hasn’t been used and is in disrepair. Zanci Tank, homestead, stables and underground shelter/larder are still there in good order. It was part of the settler/sheep farming occupation. Yet another example of small holders going bust and moving away. The old rubbish dump at Zanci had bottles, wire and bits of machinery left around the ground. Zanci was finally closed in 1982 and there is almost nothing left of the homestead but the chimney. Will this site will still be available for visitors in 50 years? The artefacts and buildings are too fragile and subject to too much environmental damage. It is weird that the 40,000 years of Aboriginal occupation suggests a massive slump in population as the area dried out after the last ice age 12,000 years ago. All that remains of their occupation are charcoal and clay ball fireplaces, stone implement flakes and bone fragments. Even less is likely to remain, in 100 years time, of the early settler occupation of sheep farming for round 150 years (1830-1980). Neither culture has left an enduring mark on the landscape. It really seems that the arid centre is steadily continuing to empty out of occupation. Mungo woolshed was moved from Zanci to the Mungo station site near the visitor centre. It’s in reasonable repair, but will need continuous maintenance which it does not seem to be getting. There is a nice up-market accommodation resort about 5 km out along the western road from Mungo. Stylish and run by French chef; we had a beer and coffee late afternoon. Meg walked round the mallee scrub track from camp ground but returned very soon after her departure, spooked by a weird guy (in his 30s?) in long black driza-bone, white cowboy hat & wrap round sunglasses. She hid in scrub to observe him loitering and decided to retrace her track. Later Terry walked track with her and we ran into him. Terry also thought he looked odd. Later we saw him camped near us with an older man who may have been his dad.
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Grey Gypsies of Australia
NSW Desert Parks
Lake Mungo
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