Vulkathunha Gammon Ranges – A harsh dry remote landscape
From the Aroona ruins in the Flinders I drive straight out to Vulkathunha Gammon Ranges National Park via The Outback Highway (Barndioota Rd) and Leigh Creek. The drive was pretty easy going with well maintained gravel roads. First night I stayed at the Italowie campgrounds. The landscape in the Gammon Ranges seemed even drier and harsher, bordering a desert landscape were it not for the shrubs and trees. I don’t think I saw any water at all during my 3 days exploring, except in some manmade wells.
The Balcanoona ruins is a former sheep property now part of the park ranger base. Exploring the base there are plenty of interpretation signs showing what life on the land was like for the early pastoralists. Some shearers were said to ride pushbikes for days to reach the homestead and get a job shearing sheep.
From there I took a 4wd only track out to Grindells Hut which was built around 1850. The tracks are quite stony but otherwise in good condition. There are plenty of old stone tanks and windmills out here built to provide water for the sheep. The workmanship in the stone tanks is impressive.
On the drive out I pass Idninha Outstation, yet another abandoned property. The few sheep I did see around on the properties still trying to eek out a living where pretty scrawny looking. If the sheep could drive I’m sure they’d steal a truck and get the hell away from here.
Heading south back towards Port Augusta on the Flinders Ranges Way I past various ruins bearing the names of past travellers.
I pulled in to the Kanyaka Homestead ruins. The station started out around 1852 running cattle, later changing to sheep. By 1888 the homestead and lands were abandoned. Overgrazing and drought had taken its toll. The homestead includes a cemetery with most of the gravestones from the late 1800’s.