Past Events

 a week in the flinders


a week in mike's backyard
the flinders ranges

from 11th to 19th May 2013

A great week has sadly now come to a close. But, to start at the beginning. Our bush camp was at Rawnsley Park Station (Latitude 31.64465 South, Longitude 138.58159 East, Altitude 443 metres  situated just outside the National Park south of the Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Normal access is from the South West, via the sealed road from Hawker (31kms).

Friday 10th May, was warm and sunny. The day saw six early arrivals set up by nightfall and a small campfire established.

Saturday 11th. Whilst the remaining 14 trailers, and a tent, arrived during the course of the day, the early arrivals went on a short! (4kms) walk to Clems Lookout. Only two, Stan and Mike, finished the walk correctly - earning themselves an ice cream each!

By the evening the fire was lit and everyone settled down to planning the week’s activities. We all agreed to an initial drive in convoy through the area to enable the group to get a “feel” for what members could do individually, or as a group, during their visit.

Sunday 12th. A cool change was in the offing, with low cloud clipping the peaks’ tops, as 15 vehicles, led by Mike and with Peter as tail end charlie, set out to do the Bunyeroo Gorge Trail, Brachina Gorge, and Moralana Drive. Lunch was taken at Coolamon Camp with the group able to sit by a scenic dry creek bed.

Monday 13th. Eleven vehicles spent the day tackling the Arkapena Self Drive 4WD Track. For some this was an “interesting” introduction to the joys of 4 Wheel Driving. From the stories around the camp fire that night a good time was had by all.

Tuesday 14th. Whilst most of the camp decided to have an easy day, Mike, Grahame, Peter, Dinny, Bob, Julie and Tim set out on a day’s (12kms) walk to climb the Rawnsley Bluff (950metres). By mid afternoon their mission was accomplished with many photos taken as proof of the ascent!

That evening all members attended a very interesting talk by Tim (Rawnsley Park Tourism Manager) on the Flinders Ranges, the social history, and geology of this ancient landform

Wednesday 15th. No planned activities were planned for the day. Members spent the day exploring areas of personal interest. An informative campfire discussion occurred that evening on the day’s sight seeing.

Thursday 16th. This was to be the day for a longer trek by eleven vehicles in convoy (some cars carried 4 people to reduce car numbers) to the Nuccaleena Copper Mine Site.  Morning tea was taken at Blinman and very soon the Quandong Pie Shop had sold out. Driving through Glass Gorge the group continued on to the mine site for lunch and an exploratory walk around examining parts of the ruins.

After lunch the trip continued with a drive back out of Moolooloo Station, down to the bottom of Parachilna Gorge, then a climb up the Gorge back to Blinman for more Pies (a second batch having been baked during our absence) and back to camp! A 250kms round trip.

That evening the group was able to attend an interesting talk on the history of Rawnsley Park presented by the current owner Tony Smith.

Friday 17th. As the very enjoyable week was fast coming to a close, members spent the day “doing their own thing”.

In the evening we all sat down to a very enjoyable meal at the Woolshed Restaurant. It was very nice to see for once with whom, and indeed what, we were eating!

Saturday 18th. The last day was spent reluctantly starting to pack up. Some had already left by then for other commitments.

That evening around a very large final camp fire, the group presented Mike with a lovely Peter Dobré panoramic picture of Wilpena Pound in appreciation for his effort in arranging a great week.

The final deed was the burning of Big Bertha, a very large log brought all the way from the Wellington AGM. The ashes from this log have been collected and will be presented to Rob at the Batlow AGM in September!

Sunday 19th. Camp was awoken early by the sound the local Hot Air Balloon being inflated 200 metres away, and then fired up for take off on a trip with the aid of the prevailing wind, across the Wilpena Pound.!

We packed up and reluctantly said our goodbyes. The week was over.

As readers of this report will perhaps have realised – Chatham House Rules have applied! What happened in camp stays in camp! Suffice to say I believe everyone attending had a good time and does not regret coming to South Australia to visit the Flinders Ranges.

In closing and on a personal note, I would like to wish Mick Bretherton, who had to make a trip to Port Augusta Hospital on Friday at short notice, a speedy recovery and, wish him and Narelle, Bon Voyage. Get well soon Mick.

Thank you everyone for contributing to a lovely week. It was my pleasure to meet you all.


Mike Fretwell


Quandong Pie Bag



Mike – Organiser from Burra, SA
Doug and Diane from Sydney, NSW
Peter and Dinny from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
David and Lena from Heathcote, Victoria
Craig from Sydney, NSW
Mal and Ros from Sydney, NSW
Dianne and Dave from Sydney via Birdsville
Ken and Joy from Orange, NSW
Peter and Nikki Gosper from The Entrance, NSW
Tim and Julie from, Sydney
Narelle and Mick from Heathcote, NSW
Ian and Edythe from Helensburgh, NSW
Stan Bryant and Robyn Curtis from Kandos, NSW
Ian Grose and D’sley Stuart from Brisbane, Queensland
Bob and Julie from Adelaide, SA
Gary and Francine from Helensburgh, NSW
Lindsay and Sandra from Werribee, Victoria
Rob, Eveline and Ann from Warragul, Victoria
Bruce and Virginia from Helensburgh, NSW
Phil and Sandra from Woonona, NSW
Grahame from Lithgow, NSW




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