Instalments one and two.
Day 6: Glenelg, Adelaide
I’m currently holed up in a motel in the Adelaide beach-side suburb of Glenelg. Kind of like Perth’s Fremantle without the hippies, or perhaps Melbourne’s St Kilda minus the cool. Sleeping 300m from an ocean beach is my idea of heaven, but turned into hell yesterday when the stench of 500 rotting carp dead in a nearby waterway wafted over the area. A cool breezy change is helping clear the air, and not a moment too soon.
I’ve spent the past couple of days in at the State Library of South Australia and the Royal Geographical Society of South Australia looking through albums of photographs from early exploration parties through central Australia. Exhausting work (no, really, it is!) and I’m already over it. It could, however, be much worse – the guy next to me in the library reading room appeared to be attempting to reconstruct a cricket test match from 1937.
Eating these past few days has been non-remarkable, partly because of fiscal restraint on my part, partly because of lack of inspiration. Restaurants abound in Glenelg, but most are over-priced Australian-fusion fare. But this morning’s breakfast at a café in Henley Beach was fantastic: creamy scrambled eggs with a side of warm smoked salmon tossed in baby rocket and served with perfectly browned toast and great coffee. I sat and ate as I watched a group of teenagers haul themselves out of a rough sea at the end of a 2km ocean swim. I had driven north to Henley this morning hoping to attach myself to an informal training swim held by the local Aussie Masters club, but took one look at the churning sea and thought better of it. I think I’ve a way to go before I’ll be swimming the 20km Freo to Rottnest.
During my meanderings through the archives I came across the following entry in an account of a government expedition into Ngaanyatjarra country in 1903. It was written by a young Herbert Basedow, whose life’s work was recently celebrated in an exhibition at the National Library of Australia. This one goes out to all my fellow photographers, who know as well as I do what a pain in the arse we can be:
“After I had spent some time with the natives and taken several photos, an old man gave me to understand that my presence was no longer required. In fact, he actually turned me round to face our camp and gave me a slight shove towards it.”
For those of you who have no idea where Ngaanyatjarra country is, here is a link to a map of the area that familiars call “the Lands”.
Given my pre-occupation with the library this week, the only photo I have for this post is of a gem I picked up in amongst shelves crammed crocheted footy earrings, decorated jewellery boxes and jars of tomato chutney in a little craft shop in Waikerie. The name of the shop, “The Cobweb”, doesn’t exactly in still a sense of confidence in the freshness of their products, but this jar of fig jam was clearly made with love. A lot of love. I’m looking forward to sharing it with Edwina, who will be hosting me during my stay at Warakurna community. Being a good country girl from Hay, she is herself a great enthusiast of the stuff. Thank you, lady number 53A from Waikerie, we will enjoy it.