The Great Artesian Basin

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Media this week: 2 interviews with ABC Radio (Danny Kennedy) and 4LG Radio (Anthony Priwer).
The Family of Rob and Debora Chandler was home for us here in the Outback. They run the Ironbark Motel in Barcaldine.
The Tree of Knowledge is the attraction of Barcaldine. It was a eucalyptus papuna (Ghost Gum) until it was poisoned around May 2006. The Trunk and branches were removed and transported to Brisbane for the preservation process before returning to Barcaldine to form part of the Au $ 8 million Tree Of Knowledge Memorial. The approximately 3500 batons recreate the canopy of the original tree as it stood in 1891.
The land is cattle country and so we had never so much and so good meet. Kangaroos are all over the place. On a water hole Rob showed us to catch crayfish; soon after we saw a dingo (wild dog) and emus. The properties are huge. Rob’s brother John owns 110’000 acres (440 Km2) with 3000 cattle and 12’000 sheep and the fence is about 400 km long. That is about half of the department of Thurgau in Switzerland.
To get an idea of John’s property we climbed together with Mac the 190 steps up the TOP of the outback, a 60 m Antenna. It was just great after our last climb in Brisbane some week ago:
John explains us that live out here is only possible thanks to the Great Artesian Basin. There is 65000 millions mega liters of water (1 mega liter is 1 Million liters), enough to cover all the land on our planet under half a meter of water!
The bore behind his house is 600 m deep. The water temperature is 52 degrees and is millions of years old. Because the water is so crucial the people in the outback taped their bores and run pipes to avoid evaporation. Like this they use it very sustainable.
John loaded just 88 cattle on a road train to transport them to Rockhampton to the abattoir 700 km away. Like this we got a lift towards Barcaldine with truck driver Tom Lipsett. His truck has 600 PS and needs about 1l Diesel per km. Last year he travelled 248’000 km to carry cattle from the outback to the coast. That is 8 times around our globe!
Back home Salina and Andri were playing while Mac prepared another rump on his barbeque. Suddenly Salina came and asked if the snake is dangerous at the entrance… It was a baby King Brown one of the most venous ones. If you get a bite you best do a bandage and then you have another max. 20 minutes to see a doctor and get the anti-venom.
Again we have been busy with our TOPtoTOP project in the schools. Here the School in Jericho.
Students to the first school presentation in Alpha.
Students to the first school presentation in Alpha.
These students are used to travel on the weekend 600 to 1000 km to play football with another team. We estimated that the feeling for distances between somebody from the Outback compared to a Swiss is about factor 10-times more: means 60 km for a Swiss is approx. 600 km for a local here.
Tom Luckie took us to Longreach to the School of distance education. Because some properties are so far away the parents started to do home schooling over the HF radio. The school covers about the surface of Europe. We were welcomed to visit the schools; saw how the teachers communicate with the students and thought: “That is the school for Salina!”. We just posted the enrollment papers and please cross fingers that Salina is able to participate! The Principal Rachelle More (see picture) is quite keen to have Salina and TOPtoTOP on board.
In Longreach was Qantas founded! In the old days distances were so huge that there was a big demand for air services. Today you can visit a very interesting site: In the middle of the Outback is a 377 Jumbo and a great museum (website) with the story how everything started. This Jumbo travelled 200 times around our globe and covered 10 years of flying time. It was a great experience for Sabine and me on the wings and Salina and Andri in the turbine…
Finally it was a great time in the outback and thanks to the “White station Circle” we may stay healthy in the future?
A big thank you to the whole Chandler family who made all this possible! Thanks to Queensland Rail we made it back to Pachamama in time. Many thanks again to the Gold Coast City Marina and our friend Bill Dobson for the berth, so that we were able to visit the schools far away from the coast.

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