Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Broken Hill Dust Storm

It was "warm" over the weekend, by which I mean above freezing even at night, resulting in a massive snow and ice melt. By Monday, temps were just below freezing, causing the vast puddles in the back yard to ice over but not solidify, so that our youngest resident had fun punching foot-shaped holes in the ice. I did a little of that myself.

The fact that today is Australia Day made me look around for some kind of video for the occasion. I could use some antipodal summer weather about now, but not like this:

(Link for Facebook readers.)(And another link, because they have
great slang in Australia.)

I was on a bus between Wilcania and Broken Hill all those austral summers ago, but it didn't run into anything like that. Too bad large parts of the country are drying up and blowing away.

Then again, it's always been a hard country, and the Australians have dealt with it. An example from The Penguin History of Australia by John Molony (1988): "There were places where neither bullocks nor horses were useful and other means had to be sought for transportation. Thomas Elder and his brother-in-law, Robert Barr Smith, owned or leased more land in South Australia than the whole of their native Scotland, and Thomas concluded that the vast distances would be well served by camels.

"In the mid-1860s, he imported over a hundred of them and within a few years the original herd had grown to thousands. In the wake of the camels, Afghans came to manage and drive the camel trains which became a familiar sight in the outback with up to eighty camels per train. The camel was used successfully in the exploration and in the building of the Overland Telegraph line from Port Augusta in the south to Port Darwin in the north, which was completed in 1872.

"For eighty years, the camels and the Afghans were an essential segment of the transportation system in areas impassable by other means, and the gentility and honesty of the Afghans remained in the memory of the outback long after the last of them had died or returned to their homeland. When it became possible to run a railway over the route the Afghans had pioneered through to Alice Springs, the train was named the Ghan in their honor."



At 1:59 PM, Blogger Nylonthread said...

That looks like a haboob to me.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question is, why would you keep driving towards a storm like this? ANK


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