Out & About in Alice

A day exploring Alice Springs . We started with a short drive and a visit to the very beautiful Simpsons Gap. I really like this place. It’s peaceful and fascinating. It’s also home to a clan of black footed Wallabies. We didn’t see them though. They were hiding somewhere doing whatever black footed Wallabies do when they’re hiding from tourists. Polishing their little black feet? Checking Facebook? Who knows?

From there we moved on to Angkerle (Standley Chasm) for a group photo.

I very rarely do selfies, but somebody offered today, so I thought why not? regular readers will notice that I have added another silly hat to my collection. I make no apologies, I think hats are fun. My clients have been ripping me that I look like I’m off on safari. I have to say looking at this photo I think they’re probably right.

From there, we moved back to the town of Alice Springs for a quick lunch break. From there we moved on to the School of the Air, where children living on remote cattle stations are given their school lessons over the radio or more usually satellite internet. I really think this place is wonderful. I find it upsetting to realise how we failed a generation of children during lockdown, when in the UK, one of the most developed nations in the world, we were unable to do any kind of effective remote schooling. Here in Australia. They’ve been doing exactly that for ages.

What created Alice Springs? It was originally a Telegraph relay station for the Telegraph line connecting Australia to the rest of the world. Before the Telegraph, it took 2 to 3 months at least for messages to move between Australia and the UK. with the arrival of the Telegraph, it took less than a day. There’s a photo below of the stockyards. They had to be self sustaining, because supplies were only delivered once a year. This was a hard and tough life for the original white settlers.

The day finished with a visit to the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) visitor Centre. This is another extraordinary and profoundly impressive. Australian innovation recognises and looks after people who live remote from the main town area. Bush flying into remote, dirt airstrips, sometimes at night, makes the kind of flying I used to do like work for beginners.

I thought that today, the school of the air and the RFDS represented the very best of Australia. Tomorrow we board the Ghan train from Alice Springs to Adelaide. The area we travel through is so remote that there is no phone signal for a majority of the journey, which takes 24 hours. This means that you’ll just have to wait for photos. Sorry about that. I just love long-distance trains, so I’ll get as many photos as I can. Next post in about 48 hours. Until then, G’ight, John boy.

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