From Yeelirrie to Jones Creek by Lucy, Jim and Bilbo:
Walking Day one
Leaving Yeelirrie we said goodbye to Little Kev, Mrs Kev and small Kev (Karen, Cass and Toshi), and K-A. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped, and blew us west down the Albion Downs -Yeelirrie road. The children had fun dodging the Willy Willys, while the rest of us hunkered down once we reached camp in record time. At some point in the night, we woke up with the thought: this it, this where we take off … hang on, we are already in Oz….
Walking Day two:
The wind still prevailed at the walkers backs, pushing them east to the next camp at Albion Downs station. The one good thing about the wind is that it blew all the flies to Alice Springs…. We left the last of the spinifex country we will see for awhile. Around sunset, the wind finally died down, and the walkers gathered round the fire to hear the story of how Marcus came to be walking and campaigning. It was a beautiful camp, looking east to the Barr Smith Range. The full moon made an epic entrance rising over the range into a clear and starry evening….
Walking day three:
Waking to frost on the swags, the cold got the walkers moving into what was to be an exceedingly short walking day to camp, 8 kms down the road. This is one of our favourite camps and we look forward to stopping there every year. In a field of beautiful grass, nestled in the foothills of the Barr Smith Range. A white quartz hill looks over camp, part of the dreaming story for the area, and again that night the not-quite-full moon rose to stunning effect over the hill. A group spent the afternoon carving Mulga into what is hoped to be various cutlery, another group jammed the afternoon away with four guitars and a lot of home made percussion.
Walking day four:
Road graders were our wake up call at 6.15am ….. After the last three kms of the Albion Downs-Yeelirrie Road, and a right turn on the highway, the walk begins its southerly journey towards Leonora. Luckily its only a short walk of 11 or so kms on the highway dodging road trains, before the walkers turn off onto the old highway. Over grown, quiet and covered in wildflowers it takes us right into our rest day camp at Jones Creek. We shifted camp this year to the other side of the creek, to get away from the constant traffic of road trains in and out of the Kathleen Valley Goldmine. The mine has six more weeks until it moves into shut down and reveg, so next year perhaps we will be able to return to the Traditional Owners camp site. Kado and his daughter Ambigah joined us that afternoon for a couple of nights, and the evening we spent sharing stories around the fire.
Another frosty morning, the kind of morning where you watch the condensation inside the swag freeze in the sunlight as you sit up and take in the sunrise. After breakfast Kado told us the Dreaming story of the area, the white mining history and the Traditional Owners struggle to stop the Nickel and Goldmines nearby. Kado, Aunty Shirley and Jeanette then led us out into the hills for a walk to see a few sights associated with the stories he told earlier, and to a permanent soak that Irandia and the kids dug out for us. This soak would have been under a mountain of overburden from the Nickel mine had it gone ahead. We stopped to look at all sorts of plants and flowers, learning their medicinal or food properties. On the way home, Irandia gathered bush lollies for the walkers to try. Crystallised and chewy resin from a few different acacia bushes and trees. During the afternoon, the walkers were lucky enough to be invited to use the showers and washing facilities at nearby Yackabindi station. Over the years the station and its different managers have been generous to the walk, giving us water, fruit, and meat, letting us use the showers and washing machines and even having us camp on their front lawn last year. The evening wound up with chats around the fire and an epic beef stew cooked up by Jim, Marcus and Bilbo.
To make a donation to the Walkatjurra Walkabout you can direct deposit in to our Bendigo Bank account
Account Name: Fremantle Anti Nuclear Group
Account Number: 137443347