Flinders Ranges: Port Augusta to Wilmington

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Flinders Ranges: Prairie Hotel @ Parachilna

At the end of an unexpectedly hot and dusty afternoon, we decided a drive to Parachilna for a reviving gelati at the Prairie Hotel was in order. One of the great things about travelling at this time was that every town we visited was participating in the Flinders Ranges – A Brush With Art festival. At the Prairie Hotel, we wandered through the displays of works from highly collectable Indigeous artists who come from the Eastern and Western deserts of Central Australia. Complementing this exhibition were photographs by renowned local, Peter MacDonald.

Flinders Ranges in a Flash: Blinman Cemetery by night

Recently we had the unexpected opportunity of making a quick trip up to the Flinders Ranges in the north of South Australia, and despite it being during the school holiday period, we were able to book a room at Blinman Hotel.

Blinman is located an easy hour’s drive north of popular tourist destination, Wilpena Pound. It has been around 15 years since I last travelled through the area, and I was delighted to find the road through to Blinman had been sealed since then, making the trip even easier.

At 614m above sea level, Blinman is apparently the highest town in the state – it’s also pretty dry most of the time, and this being a fairly standard year, rainfall-wise, the dust lay thickly on every car we saw. The town makes a good base for camping and day trips, with interesting drives through the nearby gorges, another outback pub to visit at Parachilna, and a cemetery full of the town’s history.

Feeling beyond full after our evening meal at the pub, we decided to take a walk in the balmy darkness. Inevitably, heading downhill from the hotel led us to the cemetery, so we headed on in. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be hanging out in a cemetery after dark; but it was a beautiful night, and we had nowhere else to be.

It turned out to be the perfect place to try out some dramatic flash photography – particularly as my flash is usually kept switched off. The fun was in trying to get the shots lined up in the dark properly, and I was surprised that most of them turned out okay!

This is a very harsh environment to live in, and the number of graves – both marked and unmarked – is a testament to this.

There is more information available about the cemetery at Ancestry.com.