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Monday, September 30, 2013

Meet The Wobblies of Never Never Land

Friday Sept 27

Mataranka, NT - a tiny, mostly aboriginal town. Most inhabitants seem to spend the day at the local watering hole, a.k.a. the pub and beer garden. The nearby Mataranka Springs is apparently very popular and very busy. But we heard a rumor of a nicer spring nearby which is much quieter. We followed our instinct and the dusty red road out of town and found a little paradise.  An amazing underground spring that fills a fast flowing river, crystal clear water of a constant 34ยบ. The spring is in a pocket of palm rainforest. Amazing bird life, flying foxes and... wallabees. Or wobblies, as Kees calls them. At first we got excited when we spotted one in the woods. Took lots of fuzzy photos. Then I realized we were surrounded. Wallabees everywhere. They came closer and closer until I was afraid they’d eat our dinner. I like them. They look cute and are nice looking. But the cutest thing was to spot one wallabee with a joey in her pouch! It peeked out, retreated back inside, then picked seeds of the ground as its mama bend over.  Cockatoos, pea cocks, budgies, lorrekeets - especially at dusk they all come screeching and chattering to roost in the trees above our heads. And then, as the sun goes down, bats glide on silent wings to catch mosquitoes and other insects.

This vast valley of the northern Outback is called Never Never land. Apparently due to a quote from one of the first white settlers who said “Once you’ve been here, you’ll never never want to leave.” I’m not quite sure I agree. In fact, after 5,000 KM of Outback I’d say it was all very interested but I’d never never come back.... The long, straight roads through flat country of all the same, sparse vegetation are getting quite monotonous by now. What WAS really interesting was to watch the movie, We Of The Never Never. It’s based on a book about the first white settlers on a homestead around 1902. It’s the author’s autobiography of the harsh life on a cattle station and how she tried to befriend the local aboriginals. If you have a chance to watch it, I recommend it.

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