Spilt Peanuts of Windy Gorge, Kata Tjuta*
[Excerpt from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australian Safari 1977.
The T-Team and how it all began. 1977, and Mr B and son (not their real names), unaccustomed to the joys and pitfalls of roughing it, joined the T-Team on their first adventure into Central Australia.]
Dad huffed and puffed as he hauled his weary body into the Land Rover.
‘Windy gorge, I gather the wind must’ve dried up all the waterholes,’ Mr B said with a chuckle.
I interrupted. ‘But, but the views were amazing, weren’t they?’
My brother nodded.
‘Why, it’s like something out of Lost in Space. All those boulders. And they’re so red. What about that plum pudding one? I hope that one of you and Dad with it in the background turns out.’
[Photo 1: Top of Walpa Gorge © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]
Dad gulped water from his canteen, then when he had finished, he wiped drops from his chin. ‘Ah, well. I was looking forward to a nice swim.’
‘Never mind, old mate, we got some good photos. You must admit, the scenery is spectacular, better than Ayres Rock, I dare say.’ Mr B patted his son on the back.
‘Don’t you agree, ma-boy?’
Matt stared at the ground and kicked a stone. ‘But Dad, Mr T promised.’
[Photo 2: Conglomerate © L.M. Kling 2013]
‘I know, I know. As I was saying at the Rock the other day, the place needs more accommodation for the tourists. A pool, that’s what they need, a pool.’
‘Not on Ayres Rock, though,’ I said.
‘Well, maybe the Olgas needs one,’ Mr B laughed. ‘Your Dad certainly thinks so. Why we’ve just spent a good two hours searching for one.’
‘I don’t think building swimming pools on sacred sites are a good idea.’ Dad looked at Mr B and then cleared his throat. ‘Okay, everyone, in the truck. We’ll go ‘round the Olgas a bit.’
[Photo 3: Walls of Walpa Gorge © L.M. Kling 2013]
[Photo 4: Entrance to Walpa Gorge with view of the plain © L.M. Kling 2013]
After savouring the water from our canteens, we piled into the Rover, the elders in the front and us young ones in the back. Dad drove us further around the base. As the Rover lumbered along the dirt track, I grazed on my bag of peanuts. Dad hit an almighty bump. Wheels and axle crunched. We bounced up.
‘Oops!’ I cried. We crashed down. My bag of peanuts flew all over the back cabin.
My brother looked at me and shook his head. ‘You’ll get in trouble.’
I scuffed the scattered nuts under my shoes. ‘Nah, the back’s a mess, how would Dad know?’
‘He will, trust me.’
The Rover wheezed to a stop.
‘Alright, let’s see if we can find some water here,’ Dad said. The driver’s door creaked open. His boots thudded on the soft sand. Dad pulled open the back-cabin door and light flooded into the dark, exposing the messy interior.
[Photo 5: Kata Tjuta from the roadside © L.M. Kling 2013]
Dad’s face turned as red as the boulders of Kata Tjuta and he roared, ‘What have you done?’
‘It’s just a few nuts,’ I bleated. ‘Sorry.’
‘Right! We can’t go until you cleaned up every last peanut.’
[Painting: Koala and joey on our home fence © L.M. Kling 2014]
I could not get over how much like a koala he appeared; an angry koala. Everyone had to wait while I swept the cabin, purging it of the peanuts. My efforts were not really appreciated as Dad then had to go in and ferret around for more stray peanuts. What was it about those peanuts?
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2018
Photo: Windy Gorge © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2013
*In 1977 Kata Tjuta was still referred to as “The Olgas”, and Uluru as “Ayres Rock”.
You want to know what happened in the next? When Mr B dared not to join later intrepid adventures of the T-Team? The Safari of 1981?
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