A stone’s throw west of Kimba is another town with a strong heritage in agriculture – Wudinna. Information brochures speak of the giant granite outcrops with unique rock formations that can be seen throughout the region and we saw plenty of these.
However, in the main street, service stores dominate and huge harvesting combines park up the pavements and streets like giant Tonka toys. It’s unnerving to walk alongside and realise your head only just reaches the top of the wheel hub. But it’s business as usual for the locals who provide farmers and the grain industry with a variety of services: butcher, chemist, bank, Foodland grocery store, bakery and a small cafe. The 1, 000 people who call Wudinna home have the essentials covered but accessing larger services and health specialists is a long drive to the nearest reasonably sized town.
The granite sculpture in the photograph above is on the Eyre Highway and regarded as one of Australia’s “big things” (and who am I to question this claim). But it does stand an impressive eight metres high and weighs in at 70 tonnes. It is a stylised work of the farmer and represents the pioneering settlers to the region and carries carvings that symbolise grain and sheep industries.
North of the town centre is Mt Wudinna, claiming to be Australia’s largest monolith. It was an easy walk to the top and the views were impressive even though the rock may not look so in the photo. In parts where the land is inhospitable and arid, it is desert-like. We were the only people around when we visited and it was quite an eerie experience. You get an idea of how big this land is and wonder if you disappeared would you ever be found.
We continued to Polda Rock, another granite outcrop and here we learned, through information boards about how early settlers, recognising the potential of the land, overcame the shortage of water.
As we clambered over both Mr Wudinna and Polda Rock we noticed the low stone walls constructed around the base of the rocks; and at Polda Rock you can still see the drains and a dam that once provided precious water to local pioneering farmers. The walls, drains and three and a half million-gallon tanks were constructed in 1919-1920 and the reservoir in 1922.
The irrigation system has not been maintained and is now defunct except as a point of interest and testament to the ingenuity of pioneering minds and the tenacity of folk to endure to birth a vision in such an unforgiving environment.
But there is one more rock we visited today and that was Pildappa where we camped overnight. The flies, the flies, the flies … Yes, the flies limited our stay to just the one night and we were pleased to bid farewell to the area despite how interesting it had been.
View from the top of Pildappa and we are the caravan and truck furthest from the rock. Pildappa doesn’t have the water capturing wall-surround but it is interesting wave formation.
It wasn’t until we stopped to set camp that we realised how much the shaking, rattling and bumping over corrugated dirt roads was damaging the caravan. The glass stove top had shaken loose of its screws, the gas cooker and ejected a number of screws that were rolling around on the floor and inside the caravan resembled the landscape with dust on every surface and in every corner.
It has been a mission to regain ground. While Basil tinkered away on the outside, I concentrated on cleaning the inside and we can say the Coddiwomple looks like someone loves it again.
- Still being able to clamber of rocks to enjoy the view from the top
- Information boards to learn from
- My HTC smartphone with a good camera
- The beautiful garden in the middle of town