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Port Augusta and 1950’s flashback at Iron Knob

It’s an interesting little town I’m in right now.  Whyalla is about 80k from Port Augusta and about 150k from Pork Lincoln.  It’s far from just about anywhere… And when I saw online that there were some courses I could take in Port Augusta, I jumped at the chance…

What’s an hours drive?

Well, turns out their office was in Port Augusta, but the training is in Adelaide.  that’s about 4-5 hours away… oops.  I found this out on the day of my course and phoned the lady – thy were okay with it… but I’ll have to go to Adelaide for training in the upcoming weeks… oh well, I was already in Port Augusta, so, I did what any normal tourist would do and have a look around.

stunningWhat a stunning place!  It’s just gorgeous.  Okay, so maybe I did go a bit hardcore with the saturation, but cameras these days don’t do the eyes justice.

After killing some time driving around this little town, I arrived to the Wadlata Outback Centre.

Wadlata outback centreNothing says “Australia” like a windmill on top of a corrugated iron building.

snake or croc? Inside you walk though what appears to be a snake (or a croc) and you travel back in time…

oldest worm ever?Apparently this is an imprint one of the oldest worms ever to have lived.  Kinda strange really – it looks nothing like a worm, it’s flat.. but it was native here in South Australia…

They had other cool stuff like another magical snake.

Magical Snake

And an example of what the aboriginals ate, honey ants,before the white man appeared with their cheese cakes, and buffalo hot wings with blue cheese sauce.

Honey Ants These little buggars live under ground and when it rains, they fill with yellow fluid in their abdomen – apparently, it tastes like honey – but sometimes you could pick the wrong ant and then they’ll taste like lemon… i say, when you have Honey Ants, why not make lemonade – just combine the two!

To get to the sweetness, you need to be all barbaric and pick off their end and squeeze the juice out. I guess, when you’re in the outback and hungry, there’s really no choice to be all PC.

Charles Sturt

Australia had a lot of explorers checkin the place out and the one story I find the most fascinating is Charles Sturt’s for the soul fact that he thought there was a lake in the middle of Australia – it’s big enough, i can see where he was going with this – so, he took his own boat with him.  (probably not the actual boat)

the boat

They carried it with them – the poor fella never found his epic lake and came back to civilisation a broken man…

The museum also had a few other interesting things… like this concrete tree carving:

not the real tree?Carved by one of the early explorers – it states that this is the actual tree.. But, I’m thinking that they probably didnt have concrete trees back then so it’s kinda a big fat lie.

And, my personal favourite….

preggo?Ladies, please use if you’re looking for some good material while traveling!

Information on the Wadlata Outback Centre can be found here:  http://www.wadlata.sa.gov.au/site/pages/what_will_you_see.php?resetbrand=1

Later that day, I headed to Iron Knob – population 199.  Yep.  This is Australia.

Iron Knob's knob.I passed five cars on the way there… it’s an hours drive from Port Augusta. This mine has kept this little town going – it’s got such incredible Iron Ore that it’s been considered the birthplace for the steel industry.

The mining ended in 1998 but most of the people stayed.  There is still a working pub with self proclaimed best chicken schnitzel this side of the mine (or 70k radius), museum and emu warning signs.

Emu crossing

This town is a bit of a ghost town – and still feels like it’s stuck in the 1950’s because every home has a rusting car from that era on it’s front lawn as a ‘feature’ piece.

I made it to the visitors centre – it felt like a remodelled  house with someone’s private collection.

Iron Knob MuseumI think the floor is the coolest part.  Like, man, this place should be in a movie.

Just after I arrived, one of the owners/probably old miners/probably the guy who collects all this stuff… who just happens to be straight out of the 50’s wearing an adorable hawaiian shirt with beautiful blondes printed on it came up to me and offered me  all day tea and coffee and a six minute move describing the history of Iron Knob… well, traveling solo, I always have my first instinct of all the great Aussie Horror movies and true stories  that come to mind… Wolf Creek… Snowtown… Dying breed… you know where I’m going with this… so, i kindly said thanks, but no thanks… and continued on looking at stuff – keeping watch with the eyes in the back of my head!  Though I hope to return at a later date accompanied  🙂

more cool stuff

Here are some “REAL MAN” tools – and stuff…

Real man toolsThe sledge hammer puts it all into perspective.  yep, they’re some MASSIVE TOOLS (be a good name for a band)

I’ll be revisiting Iron Knob for Part II – including a private drive tour of the Mine.  That’ll be cool… also, we’ll meet mr 1950’s man.. he seems like a pretty interesting creature.. but being alone not so much… watch this space… more to come!

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A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!

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