The Surrounding Country

Located in the Lake Eyre basin, much of the terrain is flat and the soil has a high salt content. However there are numerous ranges of hills, and sudden rocky outcrops that reveal unusual and sometimes beautiful geological features.
The ochre deposits just North of Lyndhurst is one such feature. This deposit has been mined by aborigines for thousands of years. Vividly coloured ochre is mixed with water or saliva as a body paint and used ceremonially. It is also traded with other groups as far away as the West Australian coast.

The gibber plains (pictured below) consist of a gritty soil covered with small rocks that are continually being fractured by expansion and contraction during temperature extremes. Apparently featureless landscapes such as these simply erupt with greenery and flowers whenever good rains occur. Unfortunately rain is one thing that the area receives little of.

Some of the slightly more elevated areas have better soils and a slightly higher rainfall, and are stocked with cattle, however in the main the stocking rate for sheep might be specified in "chops per square kilometre", instead of "sheep per square kilometre". The main source of feed being the spiky clumps of spinifex grass.

The road South from Farina
Nesting space is at a premium here
Spinifex grass and sand
Struggling in a wash-away
Spinifex grass and gibber stones
Ocre cliffs NW of Lyndhurst
Gibber breaking up in the extreme temperature ranges
Yellow and Orange ochre
Inside the ochre depression
Chestsized yellow ochre lump
Leading out onto the plains
The drop-off into the ochre pit
More yellow ochre in a washaway
Looking back towards the East into the deposit
South West from the ochre deposit
Station managers house at Wichelina
Wichelina Station homestead
Wichelina creek
The Royal Mail truck operated by Tom Cruze in Marree