Outback South Australia

"Now we headed out on the flat red dirt track into the country where those black dots on the map are sheep or cattle stations. Here the head station, the homestead, the hub of each property, was a small enclave of diverse people, concentrating on this spot their means of productivity: workshops, shelter, stores, water, sustenance. Their communication with the world was by dusty road, by plane, by a weekly or longer mail service, or low-slung telephone wires strung on stunted trunks of mulga...

We were heading mainly through spreads of saltbush, bluebush and the occasional myall tree; the latter umbrella-shaped trees giving a small patch of shade in an otherwise shadeless country. There was no grass as such. The red earth glinted between each individual saltbush and bluebush."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 96-97.

"Our road took us towards the stations. Corunna, with a homestead 100 years old in 1960, built of local sandstone with walls two feet thick. Siam, where the homestead held a grand piano, antique furniture and a governess for the small daughter. Nonning, with an airstrip in front of the homestead and a shining aluminium-clad plane waiting at the door as a car might wait. Kolendo, where the homestead was only 60 years old and where every beautiful room had its artificial flower arrangement...

For several days we travelled this flat red track through the Gawler Ranges, making camp wherever nightfall found us. It rained a little after leaving Thurlga and the temperature dropped. This prompted Harold D. to open, for my comfort, the vehicle-warmer which had not been opened since last year. I was nearly asphyxiated with the stored red dust clogging my nose, mouth, eyes. My clothes, hair, the skin of my head were painted red. Harold D. Did not even notice. The light rain had already made the track a skating-rink and he was occupied in keeping the van on course."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 97-98.

See also "Books in the Outback", an article written following the 1960 trip to outback South Australia.

Mavis stands in front of outback buildings and the Holden they travelled in.

Mavis at Lake Everard Station in South Australia's south-west, 1960.

Mavis and Harold sitting on a rock amid short scrubby vegetation.

Mavis and husband Harold Latham, 1963.

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Cooking over a small open fire in the middle of a gibber plain without even a blade of grass to be seen.

Mavis wearing her apron to prepare a meal, 1960.

Van and car parked side by side with washing strung between them.

Overnight camp beside Koncaby Rocks, 1966.
This rocky outcrop featured in The Min-Min.

Mavis is wearing pleated skirt and white cardigan; Harold Darwin is wearing suit pants and a jacket.

Mavis and the Library Man Harold Darwin stand beside the library van, 1967.

Mavis takes notes of the map drawn in the dirt.

Harold Darwin draws a "mud-map" in the dirt, 1967.