Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Train reading: Australian life - the Corner Country 1

My train reading today has been John Gerrison's Tibooburra - Corner Country (Tibooburra Press, Tibooburra, 1981. Before going on, this is a photo of Tibooburra from Gordon Smiths's lookANDsee photo blog..

For those who don't know, the corner country lies in the far north western corner of NSW near the border of South Australia, NSW and Queensland. Tibooburra is the main settlement in the the corner country.

To help you orient yourself, this is a map of NSW. Tibooburra is up in the far left hand corner, just about as far from Sydney as its possibe to get, almost 1,200 kilometres, over 16 hours driving time.

If you want to come from the coast of Northern NSW  such as from Coffs Harbour, the drive time is over eighteen hours!  This distance means that while Tibooburra is technically in Northern NSW, it has very little connection with other parts of Northern NSW. Its focus has been south to Broken Hill, south east to  Bourke or Wilcannia, north into Queensland or west or south west into South Australia. It belongs to NSW by accident of history and the rigid lines of the cartographer.

.This is dry, dry country, marked by recurrent droughts. The Aborigines who knew the country well trained their young men in the land and all possible sources of water. The expansion of the European population was due especially to the discovery of gold combined with pastoral activity. They struggled with lack of water and with drought. It was so dry that horses or bullocks could not cope in dry spells. For that reason, this became camel country.

Today, fewer people live here than existed in Aboriginal times. In later posts, I will look at some of the special features of this inland part of Australia.  


Anonymous said...

What a super blog that lookANDsee effort is! Lost myself for hours.


Jim Belshaw said...

it is a great blog, kvd. It's been a real favourite of mine for a number of years.