Talc Alf

After 2 good walking days we decide to carry on north further up into the Flinders Ranges. We love the scenery and remoteness up here. Our first stop is Blinman, SA’s highest town which is set amongst a stunning backdrop of sparse, hilly countryside. We stopped for a few provisions in the general store. There was very little choice but what was interesting was that the owners two children were being made to do their school work in a back room on purpose made desks. Obviously they were being taught at home because the nearest school was too far away. This is quite common in remote areas of Australia.

We then took a 30km scenic route through the Angorichina Gorge to Parachilna. The drive was slow and bumpy but stunning crossing many dry river beds and some because of heavy rains still very wet. When it rains in these parts many of the roads are closed and we can see why as these dry river beds quickly change into raging torrents.

At Parachilna (population 5) there is just the Prairie Hotel, a great place for a cold beer. A railwayline runs in front and you can watch Australia’s longest coal train go by. It’s about 3km long. We just missed it and there’s only one a day.

Next stop was Leigh Creek and then Lyndhurst (population 6). This is now very much outback country and we meet Talc Alf. Talc Alf is a local character who uses cast off slabs of talc (where talcum powder comes from) from a local mine to made sculptured statements about politics, religion and his bazaar theories about the English language. He lives remotely up a long track in a ramshackle homestead. You could be tempted not to stop but Alf is an engaging character and kept us occupied for an hour or more with his theories and sculptures. When we left we couldn’t decide whether Talc Alf was a genius or just barking mad. However, if you ever pass this way – although we don’t know why you would – do look up Alf. He’s doing his bit for local tourism.

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