Southern Hills Station Exploration

Day Four Tuesday 26/09/2006
All up early as so much to see & do, at 6-30 a B double road train came driving down Southern Hills road heading for the mine & then at 6-30 a 4WD drove past the homestead so we guessed that would be Derek. We virtually followed him to the mine as he hadn’t seen our camp. Had a good chat to Derek, he was arranging to truck out a load of granite so said to come back about 3-00pm & he would have more time to talk. We went back to the homestead for more of a poke around & we almost trod on the guardian (quite a big python).







Derek came back to chat with us for a bit as he needs some stuff from the shed, he was most interested in our knowledge of the past as it differed to what he had found out. He thought the shearing quarters had been erected after the house burnt down but Marcus Wood told me all about that. Marcus & his wife went for a holiday to South Africa & arranged for people to stay in the homestead, the people weren’t happy with the 32 volt so bought a 240 volt lighting plant, the wiring couldn’t take the high voltage which burnt the place down leaving the shearing quarters virtually unscathed except for very singed rafters. It looks to us as though the laundry would be the original as it is very close to the house along with the thunderbox which is now septic. We decided to visit Fraser Range Station so set of quite early on a nicely graded road but it didn’t fit our directions so came back & went along a bush track past Healy`s dam. The latter part of that track, near Eyre Hwy was very very rough so not keen on going back that way. Met Teen Ryan at Fraser Range but they all seemed to be under pressure there so didn’t gain much information from her or her husband. The Caravan Park Manager reluctantly talked to us for a while before we left. Tim asked Teen if we could shower but she wasn’t too keen as they had just cleaned them although a bit later she did offer as long as we paid, we didn’t bother. They did give us permission to drive through their property though so that we could go back to the homestead past North well. Not a bad track back & we decided to have lunch at the dump. This was paradise for Don he found so many things to fill up the nooks & crannies in the Cruiser. Found the remains of an old Sunshine Harvester, real old cars, all the burnt iron from the house, just amazing how much stuff was dumped, it was just behind the House Dam.






Went down to see Derek & decided to climb Mt Malcolm first as we were a bit early. Fairly easy climb & it gave us a very good idea of the Station as it is the highest point. Back to see Derek & he was good value, the mine is not in receivership but stopped mining in January as there is a large wastage with cracks in the Granite. He has been trying to arrange sales for the smaller Granite blocks & once that is fixed they will start up again. He told us that North well was really interesting as they had dug a well which was about 35 mitres deep. Amazing how things get out of proportion as we measured how deep the well was & it is about 10 feet. Perhaps the original hole was 3.5 metres not 35 metres. We found an old camp not far from the well & we could imagine Tom camping there as it is quite a distance from the homestead. There was a real old table in the camp & also big steel buckets used to lift the dirt from the well. Long discussions around the campfire tonight as we are starting to get the feel of life at the Station & the amount of effort required by both Tom & Paula, they are an amazing couple.

Barry Dennis