Melbourne (left @ 10.45 after a sleepless night) → Charlton (ptrol & hmbrgr; ntroduced H 2 Maria) → Hopetoun (@ 4.

15 on the bank of the completly dry Lake Lascelles). I couldnt sleep last night coz H woz ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------deleted--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Its gloomy. Shes in the front reading the pper. Im in the back sitting on the clothes box resting the journl on a piece of plywood on me knees. Its raining lightly. Ive got a stubby in a holder on Hs bed (whch isnt set up yet) & another 2 go. Im too knackrd 2 write much. Later 2night Ill listen 2 the Magpies vs the Bulldogs. But Ive got 2 pass a commnt on somethng Frank L said a couple of days ago @ Stalactites. We wer talking about what phlsphrs do & he suggestd they put in2 words perfectly what is already known but being xpressd clumsly. Frank has a way of making good statemnts & this woz another (I told him) but now I want 2 qualify it. U can only say somethng cant b mproved on in the way it is said if its the last occasion & 2 know somethng is perfect rquires an ndpendnt (abslute) criteria. I doubt if any phlsphr would claim 2 possss 1 or know what is meant by it. I thnk a way of puttng it would b 2 say th@ the phlsphrs say it more convncngly or more rtcu-lately. It is the prphts & rligious leaders who claim 2 hav access 2 the knd of knowldge whch can only b known from outside the frame (as if ther could b such a thng). Woz it the claim made by jesus of nazareth whn he said whn all else woz gone his words would remain? If so I cant imagine what he could have meant. Sunday 29/6/03. During the night when I woke intermittently I could hear

John sleeping and the rain on the roof – some good downpours. Got up late – one thing about winter travelling is the early-to-bed–late-to - rise routine which sees us cocooned
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from lights out (sunset) till well into the morning when the grey light of 9 am or so wakes us. After breakfast we got the paper at the milk bar in Hopetoun (not at its usual grapevine-festooned best) and then drove on to Patchewollock, Walpeup and Underbool. Read the paper at Loxton and found this gem of a cartoon which reflects both of us (me because I’ve just bought 2 of the latest Harry Potter for the library at school, and John because his guru Wittgenstein also features), and checked the mobiles ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------deleted------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Crossed the Murray at Waikerie and continued towards Burra. We’ve stopped for the night at one of John’s regular spots – there’s even a neat hole dug last time, which he didn’t use, but will be handy if he has a midnight call – about 3ks off the main Morgan-Burra Road, 20 or so ks short of Burra, on a track along a fence in the sparse shelter of a clump of Mallee eucalypts. I’ve never been here. It’s beautiful in the fading light, and the trees thicken across the fenceline to a continuous forest with saltbush and bare red-brown patches of exposed soil. The wind has dropped and though the clouds are low and grey, its not raining. There have been decent falls all through the area we’ve traversed, enough to green it up superficially, but not enough to fill dams. Still, it must be a relief to the farmers to know it can still rain. Time for hot soup and cold sandwiches and then into the cocoon again. Ther r ways of dsguising our claims r from ‘outside the frame’. It happns whn we talk of good & evil thgh in the case of clergymen @ least we acknwldge they get it from the bible whch we all know is a record of info from elsewher. 2 say th@ we speak on b½ of humnity or society r more ffective sub-trfuges bcoz it is easy 4 mmbers of a mjority 2 not notice that mnorities act dffrntly or in other places or times mjorities also do or hav done. I speak only from what I c & hear without claim 2 xtrtrrstrial info acknwldging I m shaped by large dscourses I m unable 2 scrutnize. The words I use & the contxts I put thm in2 whch r the prism thrgh whch I view my srroundings hav bn taught 2 me by people whos ntrst has bn 2 give thmslvs maximum promnence. We make ourslvs large by making others small. If some1 says 2 me I m mstakn (eg. in m@ers of hstorical ntrprtation but also in evrthng) I have 2 accept no m@er how hard Iv tried 2 b accur@ th@ they know dffrntly. I cannot lay claim 2 truth but I can xplain the process by whch I hav rrived @ a position. Most of what I hav said is an @mpt 2 xplain why I do not know but I m not so shy th@ I prvnt myslf from stating the lttle th@ I do with mphsis. Monday 30/6/03. Didn’t have breakfast this morning (except for 2 mandarins each) in anticipation of Wirrabara pies. We first discovered them on a trip to the southern Flinders quite a few years ago and they remain the Holy Grail of pies for both of us. When we got there (via Burra, Hallet, Jamestown and Gladstone) the anticipation was enormous and we succumbed like the weak-willed flesh-eaters we are. He had a steak and kidney and I had a steak and mushroom with 2 cups of strong plunger coffee for me and 4 for him, followed up later by a steak and pepper for him and a steak and onion for me. A walk on the 1k pier at Port Germein and a stroll around the town has done little to ease his discomfort (All that fat! All that meat! All that coffee!) so it looks like a sleepless night
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tonight. I’m feeling OK but haven’t lain prone yet which is when my hiatus hernia reminds me of my recklessness, if its going to. Our mutual propensity to indigestion wasn’t dampened by a long --------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------deleted-------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Saw camels yarded at Hallet – it’s nice and green around here now so they looked a bit out of place – and a couple of alpacas which are becoming the flavour of the month round the country, replacing the emu farms which took off like rockets some years ago and are now no more. Port Germein is sleepy as usual though they are doing up the roads and the house prices have risen. Someone from Tasmania bought the ex-pub right on the waterfront for $250,000. It was last up for sale about 6 years ago for $80,000. Its been partially renovated but still needs lots of work. I drank the 4 coffees bcoz th@s what it took 2 mty the jug. Im ncapbl of leaving a drnk ndrnk or food on the plate. But I have a solution : no t 2night, 1 Somac pill (the medcalized body), 3 stubbies (2 of Coopers Sparkling & 1 of stout). Wer in the van overlookng Spencer Gulf (shoreline 15 yards away; surface glassy; sounds of lappng water; a pair of pied oyster catchers (Haematopus ostralegus) nearby (& another doz hav flown in); the sun is about 2 set; chimney of Port Pirie smelter vsible on dstant shoreline). The van is on top of a s&y rise (firm bcoz of the recent rain) backing the shore. The doors & windows r closd as ther r mozzies bcoz of the mngroves but we hav xllnt vntlation from the pop top windows whch hav netting. Later well roll back down the s&hill 4 the nght. The book Iv brought is ‘Nietzsche and the Divine’ (Clinamen Press 2000; isbn 1903083125) a complation of ssays edtd by John Lippitt & Jim Urpeth. H is reading ‘The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life)’ by Martine Murray (Allen & Unwin 2002). Iv just opnd the 2nd stubby & my ndgstion is getting better already. I had plannd 2 write somethng about the way language is connectd 2 the body (th@ it is a contnuation of it) but now I thnk of it I reckn Iv givn as good an account as I m capbl of in prvious writings. Xplnation is 1 thng & unncessry 4 those who have direct knwldge but should any1 wish 2 @mpt a better ndrst&ng I rfer thm 2 the writings of Nietzsche who knew what he woz talkng about on ths topic. Many of those who hav bn rmmbrd 4 what they hav said hav known (or actd as if they hav) th@ the ‘truth’ or othrwise of what they say is 2 b judged by the ntegrty of the way they live (body & actions). Nietzsche who hated the legacy of Socrates dialectic claimed it woz a direct consquence of the ugliness of the mans physical ppearance. 4 Nietzsche (phlosphr of perspectivism (“At least we are today far from the laughable immodesty of decreeing from our own little corner that perspectives are permissable only from this corner. The world has rather become ‘infinite’ for us once more, insofar as we cannot dismiss the possibility that it CONTAINS WITHIN IT INFIN3

ITE INTERPRETATIONS. Once more the great shudder grips us – but who then would want straight away to divinize this monster of an unknown world again in the old way?” (‘The Joyful Wisdom’ 374)”) the ‘masters of truth’ (how very many ‘truths’ ther r!) wer the pre-Socratics. Heraclitus & the buddha gave away their possessions. Wittgenstein shocked his rlatvs (1 of the wealthier famlies in europe) by givng away his nheritance. Whn a rch man askd chrst what he must do 2 ntr the kngdm of hevn he told him 2 giv away his goods 2 the poor & follow him (who had nothng & nowher 2 sleep). I hav opnd the Coopers Brewery Ltd * Best Extra Stout*. I m pleasntly the slghtst bit dzzy.

Port Germein →Stirling North → Hawker → Wilpena Pound → 10ks out, just past the turnoff to Buneroo Gorge (where the road is closed). Went to Wilpena to see the new visitors’ centre (flash new building, National Parks info and a large supermarket cum souvenir store (where I got a tasteless capuccino out of an automatic dispenser and sent a postcard to mum). The Pound camping ground is strictly regimented with designated areas for school groups and buses, those requiring electricity and those happy to fumble about in the dark. I remember it about 10 years ago when everyone just jostled for position and there were no marked areas for vehicles or tents. However the more people go, the more need there is for structure and control. When we were there then I remember remarking how the ground was becoming like concrete and the grass was disappearing. Rather than be touristy (we aspire to being proper bushies) we headed out of Wilpena for a more private spot, where we promptly got bogged. John wasn’t paying attention (having his pre-dinner stubby) and neither was I (gawping out the window at the scenery) when we drove into a slightly lower spot, aiming to park between 2 callitris pines to get a bit more cover from the main road about 300 yards behind us. As it had rained previously, the front wheel immediately stuck in the soft ground. It took about 1½ hours to get out – we piled little stones behind the back wheels and used a handy sheet of almost flat corrugate d iron lying in the creek bed nearby – and about 3 “goes” before John was able3 to get onto higher ground. We decided to stay here rather than go back to Wilpena, so have had our evening meal and are hoping that it doesn’t rain too heavily overnight. The price you pay for not wanting to be one of the crowd. It woz the back
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passnger wheel th@ dug itslf in deepst aftr the nitial failure 2 rverse out. The mbrassmnt if we had stayd boggd woz caused by us not having a prmit 2 b in the park @ all shld we hav had 2 b pulld out. Wer taking a risk stayng here 2nght but @ least wer on slghtly hgher ground now & the van is levl so if we hav 2 spnd a day or 2 parkd while the ground dries out it doesnt m@er. But lets rturn 2 the phlsphrs & in prtcular Nietzs-che. I m nware of anythng Foucault writes about the politics of ‘truth’ whch hasnt already bn xpressd more elgantly by him. What Foucault has 2 say about the classical greek truthsayers is better said by Nietzsche about his masters of truth. Foucault has a habit of insffciently acknwldging the nfluences on him. His notions of ‘care of self’ or ‘rt of self’ also seem 2 b derivative. But mayb once a way of sayng somethng nters the language it has an ndpndnt xistence rgardless of the author. I have made statemnts whch I only subsqntly found out 2 b idntcl 2 1s made by Wittgenstein. What Nietzsche & Foucault say about truthsayers is al-ready mplied by Montaigne whn he claims his book is no more than hmslf. The sayngs of great men r 2 b judged by the authntcity (quality) of their lives. Though we r all xprssions of the dscourses th@ ntrsect in us it seems only some hav the capacity (is it self knwldge? courage? smplcity? training? gft?) 2 giv xprssion 2 thm (their prspective). Montaigne is prtculrly vhment in his condmnation of ds-honsty as if it wer the greatest of the sins. I thnk he mght b rght. Whn we speak ntruthfully language ceases 2 b a contnuation of the body on whch it dpnds 4 legitmacy. We make further dvisions in ourslvs whn we knowngly act the part 4 ther is nothng more ntmate than our body language. If we dvide ourslvs in2 many comprtmnts we nd up not knowng who we r. ( u r a master of dsguises I slash thrgh thm as thrgh so many sheets of tissue & still I dont c u u have shuffld the deck so well th@ king queen jack joker u yourslf dont know who u r ) Then we cant speak the truth evn shld we want 2. I thnk we live in an age wher we hav acceptd the sepration of words from body. We routinely turn a blind eye 2 lying by the advertising ndustry & the polticians. The frghtnng thng about the Tampa affair woz not th@ the polticians lied, we know they hav the habit, but th@ so many of us were capable of blievng the lies. The voting mjority were able 2 blieve th@ parents (if they were muslms) mght throw their kids in2 the c 2 drown
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so they could gain ntry in2 the country. Its as if we no longer knew how human beings bhave. I c dangerous times ahead. On occasions I hav bn prssured not 2 speak my mind on contrvrsial m@ers. Being in complete agreemnt with Montaigne I can assure any1 who reads my stuff th@ compared 2 the violence I would b doing 2 myself by not saying things as I c thm social acceptnce is barely an issue 4 me. The rain has set in. W ednesday 2/7/03. Ther woznt much rain last nght & its sunny – well b able 2 drive out. Some final commnts from ystrday. Those who liv by slogans cannot accept th@ truth mght hav many aspects. This is not what we mean by truths 2 liv by they say. We mean simpl thngs like love thy neighbour, thou shalt not kill, all is love, ther is only 1 god etc. etc. Yet in practice they amend their truths with as many qualfcations as ther r circmstnces (17/7/03. some say chrst is god prviding us with an xmpl of how 2 liv) in whch they apply thm. So good chrstians vote 4 gvrmnts whch lock up childrn, some of the best anglicans hate gays, & we pin medals on the misty eyed boys bishops sent off 2 dstnt parts rmd 2 the teeth with the latest technlogies 2 blow up almost dfenceless foreignrs with the least possbl coll@ral damage. & some mght object 2 the nazarene being listd by me bside other men but if comparisons r not 2 b made his life cannot b an xample. …. @ Dingly Dell. Im putting in 1 of the letters the park puts out 4 collectng fees. The way 2 go with these is 2 hav 1 on the dashboard

ndated & if queried u say u dont know how long u r stayng & since uv only got so much change in cash u cant make the paymnt till the last day. The day u r pingd by the ranger (it hardly ever happns) is the day u ntr as your 1st day so @ worst u r up 4 $10.50. Puttng it anothr way : I assume these thngs r aimd @ foreignrs or honest folks. We began the day (after breakfast) with John’s writing session so I went for a few small walks to get the kinks out – into a grove of callitris pines and then in the creek bed where there are magnificent red gums. On the way back I was feeling very peaceful and dreamy, so you can imagine my horror and shock, dear reader, when I spotted my better half hunkered down right next to the van with an expanse of bare bum waving in the breeze. “Don’t look!” he shouted (I was still a fair distance away) so I obediently turned my back and studied the scenery for a while. When I turned around, thinking the coast must be clear by now, he was still deshabille, only standing up. “Don’t keep looking at me!!” he roared, so once again I turned, my modest cheeks aflame (his were turning blue) to study the ground cover at close quarters, which I think were young pre-bloom Salvation Jane (Paterson’s Curse outside S.A.) At my final approach he was fully dressed and ready to explain that, suddenly, in the midst of deep thought and careful writing, nature called so loudly and urgently that he could do no other than he’d done. About 15 minutes later a ranger swooped down on us to warn that we were in a restricted area and that camping there was verboten. Probably someone in a passing car (there was an almost continuous stream of them on the main road to Wilpena , only 3 or
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400 metres away, with hardly any trees in between) had seen the flag flying and raised the alarm that someone was mooning the kangaroos. After a quick getaway, we travelled slowly, stopping at 2 lookouts, one of which gave a 360˚view of imposing peaks as far as you could see, and at Dingly Dell (a twee name for a lovely spot) near which we did a short walk along an iconic Flinders gorge which had a running stream in it. Turned off on the road to Brachina Gorge and then again onto the road to Koolaman and Aroona camping areas. We are at Koolaman now having had our meal and a short walk, sharing a bottle of Fruit Ballad rose petal and honey wine. The weather has been kind – mainly sunny, no rain, a few cloudy patches. The ngrdients 4 the close call this mornng r a daily diet of 250 grams of muesli wth mlk 4 breakfast followed by a large naml cup of coffee with mlk & thn more mlk 2 fnsh off whats lft in the cartn. What really tips the balance thgh is havng a couple of stubbies of stout the previous evnng. U wouldnt thnk th@ ther is anythng worse than gettng your car boggd but ther could hav bn. The Fruit Ballad Rose Petal Country Wine should be OK but. I m keepng the bottl coz its clear & I want 2 col-lect some 2 send off a few of my writtn pieces as bottld messges in2 the ocean. The idea came from Rod Cooper who told me last week @ The Make It Up Club how whn he woz a kid he snt off ½ doz bottl messges & 1 woz pickd up by a kid in Noumea. Hes still got the nwsppr rtcl. Mayb we could turn it in2 a ceremony : 1st the grog on, then the boat (hes got 1) trip out 2 wher the currnt is, the launchng of the messge (just turf it out), Rod could play a tune on 1 of his own nvntd nstr-mnts, then the fshng session (mght as well once your out ther & wed hav takn an esky & Vaidas mght come along coz hes in2 fshng 2), thn the trip back, & finally the nding of the cermny would b the cooking & the eating of the fsh washed down by whats lft of the stubbies.

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Brachina Gorge is quite magnificent, about 5ks of multi-coloured walls of Strata pitched at various angles from horizontal to 70° with a river bed between where the red gums stand out with their silvery grey trunks and complicated roots and branches. Acacias and callitris pine cling on to the rock faces, greeny grey against the red, ochre, white and cream layers. The striations are different layers of sediment laid down in a seabed between 100 milloin and 60 million years ago, so the comprehensive signage provided by the park authority informs those with a geological bent. It is visually breathtaking. Out of the gorge into the flat lands to Leigh Creek, a company town with good amenities where we did the coffee and paper thing and checked our mobiles (via land line telephone as we don’t have the remote area technology for direct checking). No messages for either of us. Past Copley (where there is a bakery, The Quandong, which rivals Wirrabara in the pie stakes – we ate great sausage rolls there on a previous trip, and judging by the cars and a tourist bus parked out front, its reputation is firm and rising) towards Italowie Gorge along a really badly corrugated road, through some extremely bleak but startling country composed of dark brown slatey rock where the vegetation was almost exclusively spindly acacia. Past Nepabunna, aboriginal township and the centre of local tribal land, to Italowie Gap where we’ve camped for the night. It’s more like the Flinders, though we are now in the Gammon Ranges, but is rockier underfoot. The place we’ve chosen is tucked under the side of the hill on which the road is located, and despite the remoteness we’ve heard at least a dozen cars since we arrived about 3.30 pm, and on a short walk along an adjacent creek bed (completely stony, with rocks of all sizes) we heard and then saw a bright yellow and black striped helicopter, like a giant wasp, which probably belongs to the parks administration. (12/7/03. Found out later when we dropped into the Pound on the way home that there is an operation called Bounceback on in the park to eradicate feral animals such as foxes, goats and cats, so the helicopter is no doubt used to spot them). Also on the way here we saw a group of ½ dozen horses, one of which was coal black with white legs, and a donkey. John says mules are feral here but are very cryptic. A flock of emus, some kangaroos and plenty of corellas make up the rest of the days wildlife sightings. H said wer bushies but really wer latte bushies. Still this is an nregulated spot & more 2 our taste. Wer here by ourselvs. Ther is a spring nearby 4 those in the know. A few more serious commnts about the southrn park wev spnt the last couple of days in. 4 the $10.50/nght fee u get trrfic facilties. I dont pay coz I m trying 2 keep my 40 yr record of nevr havng paid park fees ntact othr-wise I would not bgrudge it 4 a momnt. Its a pittnce as u spnd more on ptrol trav-llng 100ks & in the park u can stop in 1 spot 4 a week & do great walks evry day. The changes whch r comng thck & fast r no doubt all necessry. Since I woz ther just a year ago the main campng area @ Wilpena Pound has bn rdsignd & all cam-psites r dlineatd & numbrd as they r in the minor campsites thrghout the park. Chainsaws r bannd & u r not allowd 2 collect wood or evn kndlng @ any dsignatd campsite. The only way u can hav a fire in the outlying sites such as Aroona Ruins & Koolamon is 2 buy wood @ Wilpena or Rawnsley Park station 30-40 ks away & carry it with u. Hardly any1 is going 2 do it so ther r almost no fires being lit & if they r lit they hav 2 b in the formal fireplaces provided in each campsite. Ther r on the spot fines 4 rule breakers. Its a good thng as more & more travllrs carry chain saws & drive about in 4x4s & in the past groups used 2 make huge bonfires 2 sit about in
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foldout chairs late in2 the nght. Also people used 2 keep driving about off the tracks & cuttng up the countryside whch is very easy 2 do ther bcoz of the sparse vgetation. We cut up the ground substantially wher we wer bogged just in our 2 wheel drive van. The xtr rglations means evrythng is spick & span & I ddnt evn c a bit of papr or a can by the roadside. I m sure most readers of my notes would b happier in these condtions than wher we r now. I must say thgh its beautfully peaceful here now the evnng hush has dcendd. The only sound is made by the breeze in the mulgas on top of the ridges. Its like the sound of a very dstnt surf. A cause 4 concern in the sthrn park especially in the Aroona valley is the state of the rivr red gums some of whch appear dead, some almost, & most of the rest r xtrmly stressd. I hav never cn thm in as bad a cndit-ion in the 40 yrs Iv bn going 2 the park. It must mean the watr table has droppd below the reach of their roots. If major rains th@ rplensh the subsoil dont come this year ther is a possbilty of an eclogical dsaster. They ddnt look in as much strife during the so called 7 yr drought 30-40 yrs ago. Th@ drought woz broken by huge rains & the ntire centr woz wettr 4 3 out of 4 years than Melbourne. Evn if norml rains rturn they may not b enough 2 save the gums. We need a deluge here of the kind th@ makes the desrt poplars germnate again whch I havnt cn since those times. Consdring how dry it is in the ntire ranges its a srprise the spring here still has some watr in it . Good thng most toursts dont know about it. Time 4 a coffee (ovaltine 4 H) – no booze 2nght (as if we booze up every nght H says).

This is very dry, stony country so we left an offering (bacon rind and some bits of the meat) for the ants before we went on a walk up Italowie Creek in the Balcanoona Range.
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We had already walked for an hour before John realized we’d missed the creek entrance, so had to back-track till we found it. It was a great stroll past imposing rock walls (tillite) with tea-tree, river red gums, white tea-tree and occasional callitris pines. Its very rocky underfoot and looks as though huge volumes of water have rushed along it, piling up dead trees and underbrush against larger obstacles. The bed is wide too in parts, giving the illusion that a major river once lived here. Apparently nearly all the water in these parts comes from summer thunderstorms, as there are very few springs of permanent water. We heard a wonderful bird song – a complicated set of liquid trills, clucks, toots, etc sounding like a well-developed language – which came from a spiny checked honeyeater (John looked it up in the bird book when we got back to the van). On the way back we saw some native orange trees (Capparis mitchellii) called Iga by the aborigines – dark green leaves and a similar size to orange trees, with a large fragrant flower in the season (John says – they weren’t in flower) and a fruit about the size of an orange which is deep green and full of pulp. There is an aboriginal story about it on the parks noticeboard at the head of the Italowie Bush Walk (15.7ks between Italowie Gap, where we are, and Grindell’s Hut). Here it is : “The Iga lived in and around Italowie Gorge using the water from the springs there. Occasionally they travelled north to visit their relatives. One day they heard of some relatives living in the south at Baratta Springs and decided to visit them. As they travelled they spread out towards the Mt Chambers area (Awadinha). When the Iga reached Baratta Springs they met their relatives there. Their reception however wasn’t good. The Baratta Springs people told the Italowie Gorge Iga to go back to their own country. Today the native orange grows around Italowie Gorge and down towards Baratta Springs where only a few trees grow. Those trees are all “travelling “ Iga, as are other native orange trees in the Flinders Ranges.” This story is known to all the Adnyamathanha (“hills people”) who live here – this is the collective word for the 5 distinctive groups who have coalesced in the area : the Wailpi, the Kuyani, the Jadliaura, the Piladappa and the Pangkala. The aboriginal name for this place is Itala Awi. They must have been a very hardy and resourceful people. When we got back from the walk, the ants were having a party! Forgot 2 mntion ystrdy @ Rawnsley Park, the prv@ly ownd station caterng 4 toursts b4 u get 2 Wilpena, the ownrs hav bn grading an xtnsive network of tracks 4 years 4 no other purpose than 2 provide a driving xperience 4 ownrs of 4x4 vhicles. The tracks dsfgure & gash some of the most btiful & fragile country in australia & r prtculrly offnsive 2 the eye by the way they go nowher in prtculr. Ther is a new 1 u can c on the way 2 Wilpena whch goes strght up 1 of the small hills 2 a lookout @ the top. A sgn by the road says th@ the tourst park caters 4 “self-guided” 4x4 driving. Arkaroola, north of here, another prv@ely ownd park has sevral 00ks of 4x4 tracks 4 city people who use thm 2 confirm their slf-image as ntrpid xplorer types. These r the same guys whose wives dliver their kids in 4x4s 2 kndrgrtns in Ivanhoe & Brigh-ton etc. We r staying here again 2nght. The spot is (by my gauge) 86ks from Cop-ley whch is 5ks from Leigh Creek. We dscovrd this mornng ther is now a dsig-nated campsite only 10 mnutes walk up the road whch u nter past the roadside nfo board. The chrge ther is $6.50 as ther r no toilets. It woz mpty. $4/day must b how much they calclate is the value of the prvlege of crappng under a roof in camps with amnities. Its a lot 4 taking the fun out of it. Ystrdy we wnt 2 bed @ dark as is our custom. Th@ woz btween 6 and 6.30 pm (Melbourne time) & 2day we got out of
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the van @ 9.50 am. Th@s over 15 hours of bedtime & w r not sick. Givn the rght nducemnt I can spnd evn longer in bed. During the nght I woz again, 4 the mpteenth time, askng myself why I m doin it – I mean putting out these journl ntries whch I h& out 2 any1 rgardless of whthr they r gunna read thm or if Im evn going 2 meet the people I give thm 2 again. Ive givn various xplnations in the past : the satsfaction of ncapslating myself; 2 allow othrs 2 c@gorize me by being able 2 point 2 the folders of master copies & say this is what I do; 2 share a task with H; 2 b social; 2 occupy myself with on trips now I dont do 7,8, or 9 hour walks (but I thnk I would if I woznt writing); 2 mpress publcans & people in small towns; from habit; etc. etc. Montaigne kept finding new xplnations 4 why he woz writing 2. It makes me thnk the reasons r fbricated 2 satisfy the curiosty of any1 who mght ask. Ther r things u do, oftn the most satisfying, wthout justfcation. Its prbbly the case with me but 2 keep up ppearances here is a more laborate xcuse 2 add 2 the list. We all mpinge on each other contnuously. The tiniest thght in private revrbrates & leaves its mark both on the ownr & thrgh him on othrs. Passivty also nfluences outcomes by ffectively ndorsing the status quo. Moreover society is full of those who bombard us with advice on what 2 buy, how 2 act, whthr 2 screw 4wards or backwards. Gvmnts make us fill out heaps of docments. Little Johnny Howard (the Prime Miniature) tells us on telly who w r (decent, tolrant, freedm lovng, brave) & George Nucular Bush pontficates on good & evil. & whthr I like it or not I 2, 1 nsgnfcnt ndvdual (scarcely more than a bit of cosmic dust), m prt of the babble, this waxng & waning (Heraclitus). My views may b as ncomprhnsble 2 most othrs as theirs 2 me but th@s as it shld b if each of us is a dffrnt prspctve (thgh prhps of the same prsm). Those of us who make no claim 2 the ownrship of ‘truth’ may yet suspect th@ we hav a small purchase on it, a tiny contrbution 2 make (14/7/03. Its ntresting 2 consider the strategy I m guilty of in claimng the possbilty of evn a small purchase on truth (dspite earlier dsclaimng ownership) 4 its merely a longwndd way of sayng ther r @ least some thngs u do (eg. dstrbute writing) wthout the need 4 justfication. But I mbarkd on this passage (my elaborate xcuse) 4 the bnefit of those rquiring xplnations (reasons). So all I hav done is dsguisd (pushed out of view) the nxplicble by overlaying it wth prtty words. A salutary lesson – truth claims r usually suss!) wthout whch the whole cannot b completed (shld ther b such a possbilty). @ least I dont want 2 b held accountble 4 rmainng silent whn I shld hav spoken seeing as Im capable of it (16/7/03. I notice in 2days Age th@ Ian Chappell spoke up about the SAS boarding the Tampa. I congrtlate him.). I hope I rpay the pleasure I get from rcognzng I share my prspective wth those from the past by contrbuting 2 a like rcogntion wth the occasionl readr in the presnt. I hold a mirror 2 others who travl along minor roads, prferring winding tracks 2 highways, & who @ times r nclined 2 push in2 the wind.

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2day we got up @ 10.10 am. We havnt dcided yet wher we r going. 4 any1 who is ntrstd this is a great spot 2 stop @ 4 a week of walkng. Ive walkd most of the ridges & creek beds u can xplor in day walks & guarntee every walk u do from here will b btiful & spctaclr. If u r driving thrgh u wouldnt realize it as the gap is quite ordinry. U shld avoid going 2 the spring nearby now tank water is provided @ the nfo board up the road as anmals dpnd on it & springs r rare in the Gammons. A good day walk from here is 2 the top of Mt McKinlay, the hghest peak in the range, whch u reach along Doctors Creek wher we r prked. I wthdraw my prdiction of the possbilty of the rivr gums in Aroona Valley dying. I notice rght nxt 2 us th@ the gums have died off prviously & rgenrated from the main limbs as trees do after a bushfire. In fact Im sure its a chractristic of red gums 2 do it over & over which accounts 4 the large numbr of dead branches on thm & why all the top branches of the tree nxt 2 us r dead. It xplains why ther is so much wood lying about & being constntly rplnshd 4 camprs 2 use in fires. The spiny checkd honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) is chractristic of woodl&s thrghout the nl&. Ther r mallee ringneck (Barnardius zonarius) about 2. They r vivd green like meralds & not very shy. The crow here is the australian raven. Our campsite woz vsitd both mornngs b4 we got up. Ystrdy we got a wake up call from 1 perchd rght nxt 2 the van & this mornng probbly the same bird is rspnsble 4 the piece of bacon (double smoked) rind we had put out 4 the ants ystrdy being gone. H is doing the crossword in New Idea while shes waitng 4 me 2 fnsh off & 4 us 2 hit the road. Drove to Balcanoona which is the headquarters of the park rangers, 19ks from Italowie Gap, to fill up with water, use the toilet, clean teeth and phone home, where Dan reports everything is OK. The roads round here are heavily corrugated. We are now
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camped on a creek bed about 45ks along the road from Balcanoona on the Blinman road. It’s a great spot about ½ k from the road, and we’ll do a walk/walks tomorrow along the creek. Though the area is stony, like gibber country, it is not so difficult to walk through as the stony areas round Italowie. On the road from Balcanoona to the turnoff to Blinman there was spectacular scenery – the Gammons stretching along one horizon in shades of chocolate and mud brown fading to hazy blue in the distance, and the sharp white glistening strip of salt indicating Lake Frome on the other. Here there are small, rounded, rocky hills with lots of mudstone and slate and occasional small chunks of quarz picking up the sun. There are large brownish grasshoppers in plentiful quantities, and we came across a solitary flowering Sturts Desert Pea – a spectacularly large scarlet and black flower on blue-green foliage which is S.A.’s state emblem. There was a wedge-tailed eagle on the road from Balcanoona, feeding on roadkill. Its very warm here today, with a moderating cool breeze and the flies are out. We are also in 3-corner-jack country – the tyres and the soles of our shoes are studded with them. The language games we use 2 negotiate our world nfluence the way we bhave othr-wise ther would b no ncentive 2 talk this way or th@. Meanngs r contestd by polticians, phlosphrs, churchmn etc. U would thnk th@ the perspectvist view of the world I outlined ystrdy & whch woz championd so passion@ly by Nietzsche would guarantee humility providing a guard against the prsumptions of those claimng access 2 othr spaces (prtcularly gods realm) wher they claim meanngs reside. 4 what could b more humblng than 2 know othrs prceive dffrntly & hav as much claim & r as @achd 2 their point of view as I m. Yet whn Nietzsche wnt mad (causd by syphylis it used 2 b thght but now some1 says it woz from the same dgenr@ive brain dsease from whch his father had died) he woz known 2 stamp about naked doing dionysian dithyrambs muttrng I am god I am god. A grotesque & pitful spectcle whn u considr his oversize h&lebar mustache. Not every1 who goes mad says he is god : some may claim they r teapots or coathangers. I shldnt b facetious havng bn in rlated terrain. But evn b4 his collaps his heroic sage Zarathustra (of ‘Thus Spake Zarasthustra’), the mbodimnt of the notion of ‘overman’, & prbbly as close 2 an alter ego as Nietzsche could make him, woz the very oppsit of humbl. The xplnation is th@ if ther is no ndpndnt measure of what we r allowd 2 claim our ambitions r lmitd only by the prpardness of othrs 2 blieve our claims. Zarathustra used 2 come down from the heights on occasions 2 teach a few slect dsciples (15/7/03. in joyous dancing !?) & I cant rmmber if he deignd 2 talk 2 the rabbl in the market place as I read the book as a teenagr & it has compltly dsp-peard. Nietzsche hated (as do a numbr of my friends) the common herd as he calld it. His ‘overmen’ wer self created by their own will 2 powr (15/7/03. I rcog-nise now th@ my commnts on him r suprfcial & njust (16/7/03. but it doesnt m@er as they r only an xuse 2 talk about rl@ivism)). He @ributed a similar will 2 powr 2 the earliest greek phlosphrs, masters of truth, as well as 2 Socrates & the rlgious leaders such as chrst & the buddha. Rather than promote humility rl@ivism leads, I suggest, 2 a prolferation of would b gods, gurus, xperts & knowalls, life guides, polticians knowng good & evil, prsonl trainers, moralsts, preachrs, etc. etc. In this confused mess of self prmotion I try 2 isolate some few
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rules of language whch would provide a little stabilty (bcoz Im always adrift) but my rules usually turn out 2 b challnges 2 certainty. Sunday 6/7/03. We go from one beautiful spot to the next. We are camped about 25ks short of Blinman, off the road between Chambers Gorge (the road into the gorge is closed to 2 wheel drives) and Blinman in an island between 2 creek beds. There is a track going off towards a spectacular hill about 4ks away, and there are casuarinas along the creek beds sighing in the breeze. There are exposed rocks forming what look like old walls, with small bluegrey acacias growing next to them – at first sight you could think you were somewhere in Southern Italy among some diminished Roman ruins with olive trees dotted around. Its very beautiful. There is even an old fire ring waiting for a fire, which we’ll have tonight, the 2nd of the trip – the first was a t Italowie Gap. (I feel guilty burning the wood and adding to the greenhouse effect until I remember that the whole western world is busy pumping its oil and coal based wastes into the atmosphere with far more impact than my miserable little contribution). This morning we walked up the major creek bed into the hills, like walking along a well-formed track next to an almost continuous stand of white tea-tree. There were heaps of black and brown striped grasshoppers with bright orange legs leaping about. John had taken the compass, so after a fairly steep climb up a hill to get a great view of the area we headed back to the van cross-country over the hill slopes. We have driven through some impressively dry and sculptured country to get here, at one stage taking the track towards Nantawarrina 30ks away in the foothills of the Iron Stirrup Range for 5ks, which meets up with a track from Blinman on the other side of the range, but thought better of it, as it was likely to be only suitable for 4x4s, especially once it got into the range itself. John will enquire at Blinman if its passable and we may go back to it if it is. What is striking about the whole area is the emptiness – we’ve hardly seen any livestock (a few sheep, a very skinny bullock) so you wonder why the owners bother – they must be doing it hard most of the time since the land is so marginal. I suppose there aren’t many other options for them (except to become 4x4 ranges – we saw another station offering the off-road experience, “Mallee View”, on the way here). We hav bn eating @ 3 pm so th@ whn we go 2 bed @ dark my oesphagus isnt rritated by dgestive fluids. Ystrdy evnng we lay in bed lstnng 2 the Magpies vs North footy match. Later whn H woz asleep I lay awake lookng out the wndow @ a brlliant starry nght. A boobook owl (Ninox novaeseelandiae) woz callng nearby (17/7/03. in ‘Neitzsche and the Divine’ ther is an ssay by Jill Marsden whch I m readng 2day calld ‘Lunar rapture : Neitzsche’s religion of the night sun’) : bird of nght take me in your glowng eye 2 wher the pale moon guard my sleep On the walk up the creek this mornng I woz able 2 get a real good look thrgh the bnoculars @ a crestd bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) as it woz callng. Their calls r vntrloqual & by carefully watchng its beak movmnts I woz able 2 connect the sounds 2 the bird. Each of the 4 or so (2 main 1s) varied calls appear 2 come from a dffrnt drection & dstance (@ 1st I had thght a pair of birds woz rsponsble as hap14

pns with the duets done by mudlarks (Grallina cyanoleuca) & whipbirds (Psophodes divaceus)). I love the song of the crestd bellbird & 4 me its 1 of the most chracrstic desrt sounds. I can hear 1 now. We wer also seeing zbra finchs (Taeniopygia guttata) in the creekbed. We r parkd by a patch of casuarinas thrgh whch the breeze is making a faint roarng sound. I hav a favourit spot in station country in wstrn N.S.W. whch I call ‘the meeting place of spirits’ bcoz u hear the sound thrghout the nght. Contnuing the rmarks on prspctvsm (& its not a m@er of seeing the world dffrntly but of each 1 of us being a dffring aspect of it but I m not sure if most can grasp th@ so Ill write as if its about seeing). Lets do a thght xprment. What would b the consquences if we all saw the world (as if it woz out ther, in some other dmension, sepr@ly from us) in the same way? 4 1 it would mean I could find out about it smply by asking some1 else (authrities or tv) saving myslf the bother of nvestigating. It would b so easy it mght b habit 4mng whch would b a shame as Id b @ a loose nd & I njoy rlying on my own eyes & ears & nose & touch. & I thnk its not the knowng I njoy so much as the xrcising of my senses. Also ther would b no pleasure in writing. Why prsent my views if what I c is the same as what u c? Ther would b no point in trying 2 find othr ways of sayng some-thng (the founding blocks on whch systms of thght r erectd cannot thmslvs b dpndnt on language games. They r acceptd as (or agreed 2 b) true; we dont evn considr they mght b open 2 query. Whn u try 2 change the most basic blocks of a systm u dont do it by rgumnt but by prsuasion (Wittgenstein) whch can take any numbr of 4ms : mphasis, repetition, consistency, elgance, brevty, conviction (christ woz said 2 speak with authority), xample, sacrifice(15/7/03. ie. what we r doing is rcruiting supportrs)) if ther is only the 1 way of sayng it. Unlike some of my friends who feel challngd or outragd by dffrnt points of view I njoy trying 2 find ways of nfluencing other prspectives & the possblity of being changed. I seek the friendshp of peopl who r dffrnt 2 me not 1s who rpeat me or reinforce my views. The knwledg th@ most dsgree with me doesnt bothr me the slghtst. I accept the confusion. Of course I hav 2 admit if we all saw the world in the same way ther would b no cause 4 strife & prhaps suffrng could b banishd. Ther would b no need 2 rgue about words, no need 4 dfnitions, no need 4 convntions or agreemnts or 2 seek meanng. Come to think of it – ther would b no need 4 language. Monday 7/7/03. We’ve been busy today – drove along the track further into the foothills and did a 3-hour walk from there along the track to a stone hut with yards, where there was water in the creek bed in patches, then onto the bare low hills to get a view from a high spot. When you look across to the deep blue further ranges you think you are seeing the other side of the world, while the lower hill country between is wrinkled by little folds where water drains, and corrugated by lines of exposed rock strata. The bigger hills heave up quite sharply, like whales breaching. On the tops there are rocks with water patterns on them, from when they were a river or sea bed eons ago. There were plenty of goats about, looking very healthy and well fed – they eat most things and we saw one on its hind legs feeding off the cattle bush (they call it Bullock Bush here) which is the olive-look-alike (Alectryon oleifolius) growing to about 5 metres
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(18/7/03. th ntrstng thng about thm is th@ no1 has evr cn a seedlng). It stood like that for at least 5 minutes, looking very comfortable, as though it was a long-term habit. It reminded me of the Gary Larsen cartoon of the cows standing about on their hind legs chatting while a look-out watches for cars. On one of the ridges John found an arrow about 2 ½ feet long, made of an aluminium shaft with a rusted iron tip. We speculate that people may come here to hunt the goats (and probably anything else that moves too). Then we drove into Blinman 26ks away so I could check for phone messages and buy some more reading material (I’ve done all the crosswords in the previous magazine, bar the cryptic which is too frustrating) for when John writes. We had a drink at the hotel, which boasts an indoor heated pool and an a la carte restaurant. Blinman is the highest town in S.A. and John remembers being here with Walter Struve one October when it snowed, a freakish occurrence jammed between 2 days of 35˚C. While the pub was upmarket, the store seems very poorly stocked. We decided to come back to this track to camp, but 4ks further along, near a grove of cattle bush along a small creek bed on a perfectly flat and grassless stretch of red-brown earth. We may be on Angorichina station or Wirrealpa or Narrina – the stations are huge here. While John got dinner ready, I made a fire ring with stones from the creek and got a fire laid for tonight. How’s that for role reversal? I hav no doubt Nietzsche woz nspired & ndrstood no less well than Wittgenstein th@ language is a contnuation of the body (Foucault got it from Nietzsche). His dscussion of the role of the ascetic priest & the psychology of rligious practices is partculrly nsightful. As phlosphr & poet he woz an outst&ing xprssion of the final dynamics of the romantic sensbility. I dprt from him in m@ers of taste & prfrence however. Zarathustra seems somewhat ludicrous now. Why wander about all by yourslf in the high mountains near the snow line talkng 2 mpty air? On rare occasions he dcendd 2 lower ground 2 talk 2 his dsciples. Why dsciples? (17/7/03. from gratuitous self xpenditure, ie. xess, it seems) What s@isfaction could he (or the ncient pre Socratic greek ‘masters of truth’) get from havng their prnouncemnts acceptd ncrtclly? Nietzsches ‘will 2 power’ rminds me of the mndless drive 2 accumlate wealth of contmprry tycoons. It strikes me as compnsation 4 some kind of mpovrishmnt. His notion of self creation (rt of self & also Foucaults ‘care of self’) seems more like self absorp-tion. I would rathr cultvate habits of acceptnce (15/7/03. Nietzsche agrees in a fashion). The idea of a noble seer (no doubt Zarathustra wore long flowng robes & carried a staff) seems partculrly outdated now th@ peopl r so confusd & craving 4 guidance th@ a guru or cult leadr has only 2 put up his h& 2 b inundated with dsciples & followrs. Much about the prticlar flavour of Nietzsches writing comes from his lack of opportunity or nreadiness 2 lead a social life & his dspising of the herd mntalty. Yet if it wernt 4 the masses seeking guidnce (slave mntalty?) the mastrs of truth wldnt hav a role 2 play. I thnk, in summry, his opinions wer fatally skewed by what appears 2 have bn a sadnss in his life. As with any committd writer u cannot seprate the man from his output (thgh Shopenhauer claimd u shld). It is no coincidence he lovd reading the ssays of Montaigne. Wittgenstein had givn away his wealth, Nietzsche who woz already a profssor in his early 30s, ab&ond an acdemic career 2 concentrate on writing. Tuesday 8/7/03. Started the day very
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early (pitch black, about 5.30 am) with a great flurry when it started pelting down. It took us about 15 minutes to dress, dismantle my bed, pull down the pop top and be on the made road. Being bogged once certainly makes your reflexes sharp to avoid a repeat. When we got onto the made road we discovered that it was completely dry, so the rain must have been very local indeed. However, in this country of instant clag we couldn’t take any chances. Had a chilly breakfast at Dingly Dell and then drove through to Hawker where we resumed the coffee/paper habit at the Old Ghan Railway Station Café. Passed the now (just days old) defunct Pichi Richi Railway at Quorn (apparently the group who operates it has been bailed out financially once already by the S.A. government who won’t do it again – foolish as historical railways are a great tourist attraction and Quorn’s economy will no doubt suffer. Then on a treasure hunt to find a creek-bed somewhere near Mt Bryan which we really liked on a previous trip but couldn’t find because we didn’t have a detailed map of the area (we’d decided to come to the Flinders at the last minute to avoid the weather, and only had a general road atlas covering all of Australia). Luckily, as it turned out, because it really began to pour down as we were about 8ks from the highway to Burra and it didn’t stop till after we left there. We are now in our spot of 29/6/03 among the mallees in weak sunshine (it’s after 4 pm) where we are having a very modest meal in deference to the rich and tasty pie we each had passing through Wirrabara. Forgot to mention yesterday that we saw lots of mule droppings (though no mules) on our walk, and quite fresh ones too. John also spotted a deposit when we were exiting the track this morning onto the main road, so they are out and about, but rarely seen. They are the feral descendants of the original stock used in the mining industry around Blinman (mainly copper, we think). The Flinders have been marvellous both for their visual grandeur and the peace and stillness in the spots we found away from the tourist routes. The areas around Quorn, Laura, Jamestown etc. are also lovely in a softer, less challenging way but don’t give the same reminder that the wilderness does, of the smallness of people and the easy crushing of their grand schemes. John by the way picked up his usual stubbies at the Windongaleechie pub, outside Hallet. The word is supposedly aboriginal for wild dogs drinking at a swamp. Sounds a bit suss to me – like Bringanuthadrinkalong or Cumenavabeer. I notice whn I signed off on Nietzsche ystrdy I had managed 2 4get 2 mntion his notion of the ‘overman’ (16/7/03. I c I m losing my memry as I did mntion it on page 14), the idea he is most associated with in poplar magination. Zarathustra is the xample of the superior being, a further stage in human evolution. I think with the concept Nietzsche sold out on perspectivism bcoz it is only from a stance outside humanity, a godlike stance (the 1 he dsclaimed (b4 he went mad)) th@ we can speak of superior & nferior or of evolutionary direction. In the perspectivist viewpoint ther is no measure 2 tell us what is up or down or 1st or last. & it may b, as the saying goes, those who r 1st will b last & those who r last will b 1st. & the evolution of our civlzation may b heading 4 dstruction. It seems Nietzsche could not bear (thgh he proclaims the oppsit) the confusion & loss of authorty whch woz the consquence of the death of the cartesian god. If jesus of nazareth woz rferring 2 the same god (4 he woz already in powr, long b4 Descartes, in the hell-enic world even b4 Plato & woz the god of the hellenized ntllectuals of the roman mpire & the middle east; thgh jesus did not speak greek it is ntrestng th@ the only prayer @ributed 2 him, ‘The Lords Prayer’ is xtrordnrily similar 2 the Hymn of Cleanthes written 00s of years
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earlier), the omniptent, eternl, nfnitely merciful god of the chrstians who commits those who dsobey him 2 torture by frying thm in hell 4ever (H reckons a lot of the old ladies in the nursing home r shit scared of dying in case its wher they nd up 4 having 4gottn 2 proply fold & put away their hubbies nderpants or tidy the house etc. ) whn he said he would b seatd @ his right h& I thnk he 2 would b contrdctng much of his own teaching & such gest-ures as the washing of the apostles feet. But I dont suspect 4 a momnt he woz rferring 2 the same god used by the righteous (& by kings & lawmakers) as a justficatory prnciple 4 the xrcise of powr. The way I ntrpret the words (4 I hav 2 @ribute some kind of meanng 2 thm) is th@ he would b vindicated. I think he woz right – his words hav remained. We’ve retraced our journey into Victoria (Burra →Morgan → Waikerie → Moorook → Loxton → Pinnaroo) to Danyo Bushland Reserve, a stretch of mallee and callitris pine off the Mallee Highway just past Murrayville. It is familiar territory to John as it’s one of his usual spots on trips

into S.A. It’s green, in much better shape than he last saw it. We spoilt our record of domestic harmony today with a blue over what I consider to be the mangling of perfectly useful and easy words by careless handlers of the language and John considers to be natural and charming verbal evolution a la Shakespeare, when we heard an Aussie ASIO troglodyte use the word “nucular” instead of “nuclear” on the radio. One thing led to another and we spent the next half hour in respective sulks. Goes to show that some people will argue over 2 flies crawling up a wall. God help the Arabs and Israelis. At Waikerie there was a big placard outside a church with the message : “You are bound to stumble if you are not humble”, so I’ve taken it to heart and have nuffink more to say on the whole sorry matter. (U had the last word but (until now)). Some may lamnt th@ in a world of no measures or st&rds (ltim@e truths) from outside the human condition ther is confusion about how we shld liv. I dont find it a problem bcoz ther is always the spectcle of xmplary lives, contempry & hstorical. They cannot be calibrated or condnsd in2 rules (eg. the 10 (plus heaps of minor 1s) of moses)
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bcoz they r not quantt@ive but particular & wheras the fortunes of the rch can b countd the qualties & acts of xmplary lives can only b ndicated or dscribed. Those who complain th@ the role models chosen by the ‘masses’ r trite or nadequate (or prsentd & controlld by fnancial ntrests, the me-dia etc.) hav the option of offrng thmslvs as more suitable 1s. I hav chosen 2 rtain the life of the prpht from nazareth as my pre-emnnt xmpl of how life shld b livd. My loyalty is not backd by deeds. I hardly evr read the accounts of what he has tght & lately whn I do his words seem strangely opaque as if meaning itself has changed. Or mayb I stare @ thm 2 ntensly & ask “but what does it mean?” & thn they dsintegrate like bubbles bursting in spray. Evn his words may b finally dsp-pearing! But I rtain the picture of a life : of a manger, of a lamb, of a heart, of a teacher & healer, of the sharing of the bread & wine, of a king riding sidesaddl on a donkey in2 Jerusale. Perhaps they r pictures from illustrated bibles 4 childrn.

Danyo Reserve → Walpeup → Hopetoun (paper/coffee at a new coffee/fast food place which is doing well as a drop-in place for locals) → Beulah, then due east to Birchip, Wycheproof (rang Dan to let him know we’ll be landing tomorrow. He’s got a ticket (17/7/03. But its all off, or pstponed, & many xtra 000s of $s hav bn totted up against his name as xpnss 2 b dductd from future incom (more prci-sely 2 b +ed 2 his debt as hes nevr had an ncom)) to the U.S. for July 20th, accompanying Steven, his boss ,and 2 others to a model management convention in New York), Boort where we caught up with grey clouds, Mitiamo and finally Terrick Terrick National Park among the callitris pines, where we had tea washed down with 2 stubbies (him) and a lemon drink (her) from the Mitiamo pub. The towns up here are trying really hard – Beulah has its murals and calls itself “The Capital of the Barley Belt”, Birchip has a bike path (rapidly being overgrown) heading towards Wycheproof, Boort calls itself “The Oasis of the North” because its surrounded by and on (now dry) lakes. Even tiny towns like Mitiamo have a golf course of sorts. Town beautification projects are in evidence – at Hopetoun there was a brand new public toilet block attached to the main civic building, and in
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Boort there were 2 blokes making a fancy brick paving along the footpath in one of the main streets, where some of the shops were empty and their fronts covered in newspaper. In most towns, at least ¼ of the shopfronts are empty, boarded over, or given up to craft displays from community groups like the C.W.A. At Mitiamo a Vline bus doing the Swan Hill – Bendigo- Mildura round pulled up and an elderly woman got off laden with shopping bags from Bi-Lo, Coles and Woolies. The transport revolution has been the blessing and the curse of the bush, with little towns being sucked dry by the big regional centres and holding on by the skin of their teeth. We had a terrific fire last night and we’ll have another tonight – the final for the trip, as we hit Melbourne tomorrow. Mourning has bcome un-fashionable. The buzz word is closure. We want 2 terminate the dead. However if we retain them in memory they continue on in us. 4 memories r traced in the body, in flesh & blood. It if werent so wher do u think they would b? Memory is 1 of those words whch dsguises the mysterious so th@ by putting a label on what we dont ndrst& we can lay it aside like a piece of furniture with the other labelled items. I retain the memory of an xmplary man so he can continue 2 live. But ever-ything passes. Gestures bcome hollow. Ceremonies meaningless. Bodies decay.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; ----------------------------------------------And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? (W. B. Yeats)

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