Recent photos, Alice Springs, October 2010

Nirbeeja "feels the serenity" of Jay Creek

I know, you’ve seen and heard it all before – birds, wildflowers, rugged inland scenery, and me rabbiting (bilbying?) on about how much rain we’ve had in Alice Springs and how green everything is.  Well……tough.  Here’s a bit more. And in any case, we are leaving Alice next week to explore the broader region so I couldn’t resist one more opportunity to showcase the rare beauty of Australia’s centre in full bloom.

Jay Creek, West MacDonnell Ranges

White Paper Daisies, West MacDonnell Ranges

Golden Everlasting

Wildflowers, West MacDonnells

Honeyeater stretches to sample the blossoms

Those dark wavy lines are rivers of ants. More rain coming?

Afternoon scene along the Bradshaw Walk south of the Old Telegraph Station, Alice Springs

It's hard to think this luxuriant growth is in the centre of Australia

The wildlife continues to make the most of the abundant food and water, with populations exploding, very much in keeping with the boom or bust nature of central Australia.  Now is obviously boom-time, allowing populations of all manner of wildlife to recover, and provide a buffer during the next, inevitable dry stretch.

Nirbeeja and I had a recent day-trip out to the West MacDonnell Ranges, and after visiting the impressive Standley Chasm, we ventured along a dirt road to see where it led.  It took us to Jay Creek, full and flowing, a beautiful place with bird-life galore, including Nirbeeja’s “Holy Grail”, the Major Mitchell’s (Pink) Cockatoo. The most surprising thing about that visit to Jay Creek was that I managed to get Nirbeeja to leave.  Eventually.

Jay Creek is now a beautiful and tranquil place in the traditional lands of the Western Arrernte people, but like many such places in the centre holds much sadness from its relatively recent past.  In the 1920s and 30s Aboriginal people from the Western desert regions, including as far as the Kimberley, were forcebly removed from their homelands and housed in makeshift accommodation at Jay Creek.   A few ruins are all that remain to remind visitors of this history.

Yes – the wildflowers are still beautiful, though sometimes they are  difficult to see among the thick grass now covering the hills and valleys.   Indeed, some Spinifex Grass now towers at least two metres high.

We were thrilled to have Nirbeeja’s sister and brother-in-law Bev and Les visit recently for a week.  While I toiled away at work, Nirbeeja relished the role of tour guide, tripping here and there to virtually every point of the compass with our visitors.  Apart from loving the opportunity to show off the countryside, it was wonderful for both of us to catch up with them after far too long a break.  Nirbeeja has promised to write a blog entry on her adventures with our visitors.

We will miss Alice Springs and this beautiful area, counting ourselves fortunate indeed to have been here to witness the greening of the Red Centre.

1 November 2010