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  • Fiona Biedermann

Day 12 - Burra

I wrote lots of words here earlier which have all disappeared, probably much like the sunshine did today, one minute it was there and the next it was gone. Today we put our tourist hats on for the last time and headed for Burra, where the rain and icy cold winds dictated much of our activity.

We started with scones, jam and cream and coffee in a nice toasty warm cafe and then checked out the Burra open cut mine from the lookout. We decided to take a trip out to Hallett where I took photos of the Midnight Oil house, the one from the cover of their Diesel and Dust album. I’m sure as you can see from my photo below and their album cover that they’re comparable - especially if you squint your eyes and pretend the cloudy skies aren’t there in mine and imagine that the sun is actually shining.


Apparently this house is one of the most photographed places from a music album in the world, up there with The Beatles Abbey Road and Fleetwood Mac’s Hotel California. In reality it’s a rundown old building slowly crumbling into ruins.

We took a side road on the way back to town to have a look at the Hallett windmills (more muddy roads to travel for us to reach these) and then we did a tour of the Bon Accord Mine museum and the beautifully renovated Burra train station, which now also operates as a bed and breakfast, as well as a museum.


Sideways rain meant we took cover in the Bon Accord pub and ended up staying there for lunch too. The roadside picnic which has been our norm over the last two weeks lost some of it’s appeal in the rain and icy cold weather. I’m thankful though because we’ve basically stayed ahead of the weather or dodged it for most of our trip.

Driving back to Riverton we detoured through Mintaro and visited Martindale Hall, this is a place which I had never heard of before the cook at the pub mentioned it to us. It‘s literally a Georgian style mansion in the middle of nowhere built for a very wealthy pastoralist in the late 1800’s and the building was also featured in the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock.


There’s a much more romantic story which is told of a wealthy bachelor who commissioned the building of this property with an aim to impress his love back in England and to entice her to join him here. He had the house built to model her home in England and alas she never came to Australia. He then lost all of his money over the next 10 years due to debt from building the house and the drought which resulted in big losses, and was then forced to sell it.


Ain’t romantic whims and lavish gestures grand...


It‘s now a museum which is managed by the Dept of Environment and Water and is listed as a State heritage site. The hall has 32 rooms and also a large seven room cellar. When it was a residence it also included a polo ground, a racecourse, a massive carriage house, a boating lake and a cricket pitch. And did I mention yet that it’s in the middle of nowhere and the nearest town has a population of 188 people. So the end is near ...sigh... and all roads lead towards home tomorrow when we leave Riverton for the relatively short drive to take us home. I discovered a statement on my Facebook feed today which made such perfect sense to me and resonated perfectly “Remember it’s the feeling and the energy you crave of it more than the actual form of it“

That‘s it in a nutshell, that’s what travelling does for so many of us - we love the feeling and the energy that travelling provides.


Personally, I love the freedom and the creativity that travelling provides me, I love the new experiences and the learning. I love how it energises and inspires me. So there’s my newest challenge - to determine how I can recreate the feeling and the energy when I get home - in whatever form that might be.


And it may still be that I will take to the open road and travel around this marvellous country of ours - Covid and change resistant husband aside. If nothing else, Covid has taught us that nothing lasts forever, that the most secure job in the world is not necessarily going to always be there, and that life is too short to always be playing it safe.


So my final challenge to you, go out and live a little...do something that challenges you and stretches the boundaries of your comfort zone which makes you feel inspired and energised.


Keep smiling, Fi 🌻


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