I’ve never experienced another destination quite like Farina in the far north of South Australia. To a first time visitor it’s hard to imagine just why you might choose to have a holiday in a ghost town of stone ruins, on a dry and dusty sheep station in the outback, but spend a bit of time here and you may just get bitten by the Farina bug, figuratively not literally.
I have a favourite poem written by an Australian woman named Dorothea Mackeller, called ‘My Country’. She wrote the poem at the age of 22, while living in England and homesick for her country, Australia. It was first published in 1908.
It’s one of the best known poems and probably most Aussies would know a verse or two of it, especially the second verse which is widely used on its own.
A sign that greets you as enter the town of Parachilna in the Flinders Ranges, gives you the Adnyamathanha peoples original name for the location as Varratyalinha. The word means Dead Finish Splinter – dead finish is the plant species Acacia Tetragonophylla. Another theory is that the Nukunu people lived in this area and referred to it as ‘patajilnda’ meaning peppermint gum trees, but little is known of the traditional owners who were dispossessed of their country from 1849, and much of their language has been lost. Sadly this is all that is recorded for this particular area as any other connections to traditional or dreaming stories has been lost over time.
No matter how many stories I’ve had printed, it’s always a thrill to see another one in a magazine. I have a number of stories in the pipeline at the moment with a few different magazines, but they’re in the lap of the gods (or should I say editors) as to when they get printed. Happily I can say though, that the current edition of On The Road magazine (September / October) has a story I’ve written on Port Augusta, known as the crossroads of Australia and the gateway to the southern Flinders Ranges.
Our first night back in South Australia was an overnight stop at Marla Travellers Rest, a good old reliable spot to camp with fuel, food, power and amenities all together. It’s far enough off the highway not to hear too much road noise and spaces fill up the later it gets in the day.