Saturday, 5 September 2015

Camp Fires, Holy Ground - The Way Home (Part 3)

Looking across the dry Lakes - beauty to behold but also fear if the rain falls; we could be stuck for days!
As we left Menindee we turned into the National Park.  I had been here in 2012 and remembered the road was closed then.  I wondered "would history repeat itself?" but this time I have a few mates with me!  The Park has awesome views of this wonderful country (as the picture above shows).

Photo taken by David Richardt
Camp fire Bindara Station, our camp for the night 

Dinner came with a talk about the life on the Darling River; the good, the bad and the scary. Barbara told of the "boom and bust", the drought and flood years - of no rain and the river drying to pools. Government red tape was hard to deal with - Barbara told of a time when water was to be let from the lakes but the banks had broken.  The banks of the waterhole next to the pump had fallen and needed a bit of work. "This will be seen as damming", she was told by a government official.  "You have to pay for a permit to fix the waterhole.  Because we will then need to check what you've done, this will take some time".  But Barbara said that water was going to be let out of the dam in a shorter time frame than what the red tape was going to take. 

Things did get sorted out but it involved hard work building up a damaged bit of the bank.  Life here is hard enough without government "red tape".  When a flood comes these communities can be isolated for 3 months, though more often than not they have time to stock up and move animals around.

Dawn on the Darling River 
The Bus
                   Lake Mungo tour

As we arrived at Pooncarie it was time for fuel and a coffee, thanks to one of the great fellow travellers.  We went from here to Mungo Lakes again, but as we were late there was no time for photos.  John Williams explained the sand dunes and the changing sizes of trees/shrubs. John and Austin Evans gave us great info on the changes in the landscape. Graham the guide gave us some info on the way out too. I'm not writing too much about this part of the trip, as I wrote a lot when we visited this area last year.  I could go on and on as I find this place so good.  Go, if you get chance!

Next we headed for Wentworth and a boat trip to the end of the Darling River, where it flows into the Murray system. We did the cruise just so we all could be on the water.  We also had David Richardt talk and hand out his book "Release the River!" which came out of his study over 10 years ago.  A number of people joined us on the cruise, who had been a part of his work back then, so their church got a copy of the book too.

Up next, we had communion in Junction Park around a park table.  Three of the group led a reflection of what the Tour meant to them then I presided of the communion and finished with a prayer. To serve the group again is such a humbling moment with such mixed people at the beginning, to now a community.  Then we prayed for the two who had to leave our Tour. Having done this we fuelled up and headed back to Broken Hill for the last Forum.  What a great welcome was waiting for us!

We were blown away by the work put into this scene of Creation in the Hall at the Broken Hill Church (see above).  The Forum followed  the wonderful dinner we sat down to. The photo to the right is of the speakers at the Forum: (left to right) David Reichardt, Austin Evans, Miriam Pepper and John Williams. (Ivan Roberts missing from photo.)  We left for Nyngan the next day, taking a last look at the Darling as we passed through Wilcannia.  A few of our group took photos of the bridge (looks the same as the old Bourke bridge) but this one is used only as a foot bridge, not for vehicles.

We took off to Emmdale Roadhouse for fuel and good coffee, plus clean loos and nice food.  I am known at this road house!  This is also the geographic edge of David Shrimpton's Patrol area, part of the Broken Hill Patrol.  Lunch at Cobar was a great time of fellowship and good church food. Our accommodation that night was at the Nyngan Tourist Park.  For dinner I took a group out to Don and Mel's Farm, where they put on lamb & veggies in a 1950's style shearer's hut.  It was a good night even though I couldn't find their drive in the dark!  We didn't get lost, I was just confused! The next morning was church at Nyngan Uniting Church, led by Rev Jo Smallbill.  Jo, with husband Lou, work as patrol ministers in Cobar and the Nyngan area.  A great service.  Our input was a talk from Rev Myung Hwa Park , our Moderator, then Di and Ted Torrens sang for us. Di is Chairperson of  UAICC NSW & ACT.  It was so good having them as part of the group on Tour; their wisdom and such warm friendship meant a lot to us.

Well, the Tour has ended! I have learnt much, but more than learning I have connected with a number of people I had never met and with others, a deeper connection has grown. The River moves but we humans try to control the water and hold it.  That water has brought life over time.  Yes, and death sadly to some.  But for me God's creation is a gift of life for all and how we see it has to change - from a throw away gift to one that is treasured and valued, for a better one is coming.  I sense the Kingdom of God is!

No comments:

Post a Comment


View My Stats