Cor­nEr CoUn­trY, sA/nsw/qLD

A spe­cial cor­ner of the coun­try

Camper Trailer Australia - - CONTENTS - WORDS MICHAEL BORG PICS MATT FEHLBERG

If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence the most re­mote parts of the out­back in New South Wales and, at the same time, be in one of the busiest of the lot, then you’d bet­ter be plan­ning a trip to Cor­ner Coun­try or, in par­tic­u­lar, Cameron Cor­ner. This lit­tle beauty is merely a dot on the map, but it’s one of those ad­ven­tures you need to tackle purely for brag­ging rights. What’s so spe­cial about this par­tic­u­lar dot on the map? Well, in­ter­est­ingly, it’s the point where three states bound­aries meet. Queensland, South Aus­tralia and New South Wales all rally here and there is a big post there to prove it.

Ob­vi­ously, be­ing part of three states means there a few dif­fer­ent ways you can ac­tu­ally get here. For us, we were com­ing from the south-east But, for a greater sense of ac­com­plish­ment and a feel­ing of real re­mote­ness, you can take the track north from Bro­ken Hill and fol­low the dog fence; but we’ll get to that a lit­tle later! For now, I’ll just fill you in on the an­tics we got up to on the lit­tle dirt road in.

It all started when old Whitey spot­ted a mob of bush chooks (emus) and won­dered how close he could get to them. I re­mem­bered my un­cle say­ing that emus are ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­bly in­quis­i­tive an­i­mals. Ru­mour has it if there’s ever some­thing strange go­ing on, and they feel safe enough, they’ll al­most cer­tainly come closer to in­ves­ti­gate.

“Whitey, pull over mate,” I an­nounced over the ra­dio. “We’ve got an ex­per­i­ment to do”.

Now, if you haven’t al­ready guessed it, we’re not ex­actly ath­letes, so chas­ing these bug­gers on foot was never on the cards. So, in­stead, imag­ine two big-bel­lied, beer-drink­ing bo­gans, flat on their backs, squeak­ing and squawk­ing, fran­ti­cally while wav­ing their arms and legs in the air. Well, we nearly bloody well burst our lungs cop­ping a gob full of dust and it nearly worked, too! Whitey’s cackle prob­a­bly didn’t help, though! Well, that’s my story and I’m stick­ing to it.

Once we dusted the dirt off our backs, we made our way up to­wards the lit­tle town of Mil­parinka. Mil­parinka should be a part of ev­ery­body’s Cor­ner Coun­try tour­ing route. It was once the cen­tre of a his­toric min­ing district but, these days, it’s a liv­ing her­itage site smack bang in the mid­dle of a desert set­ting. Once again, the pub, or the Al­bert Ho­tel as it’s known, was the first stop. This place has carved it­self a pretty darn good rep­u­ta­tion out this way. Let me just say the beer is cold and both the steak san­gas and ham­burg­ers are worth the drive! As with most of these out­back pubs, the town’s his­tory is writ­ten on the walls. Tails of huge feral pigs caught in the area and in­cred­i­ble sto­ries of a re­silient past seem to be ev­ery­where you look. The Mil­parinka Her­itage Precinct just next door will take you by com­plete sur­prise, too. It in­cor­po­rates a col­lec­tion of colo­nial build­ings with a mu­seum and a gallery-like at­mos­phere. There’s a fair bit of his­tory to sift through at the ad­ja­cent court house, whilst the ad­join­ing cells pro­vide an insight into the re­gion’s re­mark­able min­ing and pas­toral her­itage along with some fas­ci­nat­ing gen­eral his­tory of the area.

THE TOWN OF TI­BOOBURRA

As far as out­back NSW towns are con­cerned, Ti­booburra is like the Holy Grail in many ways. It’s named af­ter the an­cient gran­ite tors that sur­round the vil­lage. In fact, the Ti­booburra re­gions gold­fields were orig­i­nally known as

‘The Gran­ites’ and formed part of the Al­bert Gold­fields. This is like the mark­ing point when it

sand dunes, ea­gles, corel­las and kan­ga­roos that give it away. The town is ba­si­cally on the edge of Sturt Na­tional Park (NP), which is a ma­jor draw­card for the re­gion. It’s roughly 344,000ha in to­tal mak­ing it one of the largest na­ture con­ser­va­tion re­serves of its kind, so you can bet there’s plenty to see and do in there. Make sure you stop in and take the Gran­ite Walk­ing Trail.

It’s a 3-4km loop that all but guar­an­tees you’ll see kan­ga­roos, lizards and wild­flow­ers. But the real at­trac­tion on this walk is the fas­ci­nat­ing for­ma­tions of mas­sive gran­ite boul­ders. They’re the un­mis­tak­able ev­i­dence of an an­cient vol­cano which tried to erupt thou­sands of years ago.

The gran­ites were ac­tu­ally formed when magma was pushed up through the cracks of the earth’s sur­face; pretty in­ter­est­ing stuff, eh?

CAMERON COR­NER POST

In order to tick a Cor­ner Coun­try trip off the bucket list, you’ve just got to grab a photo at the Cameron Cor­ner post. Mr John Brewer Cameron from the New South Wales Lands Depart­ment did a two-year stint from 1880-82 to mark the border be­tween New South Wales and Queensland. He’s the man who erected the post there in Septem­ber 1880 to mark where the border in­ter­sected with South Aus­tralia. Apart from the post, there’s not much else to ac­tu­ally see, ex­cept for the lo­cal cor­ner store and the abil­ity to cross three bor­ders in a mat­ter of min­utes. But here’s a fun fact for you; the store re­port­edly has a Queensland liquor li­cence, a New South Wales postal code and a South Aus­tralian tele­phone num­ber! You don’t hear that ev­ery day!

The good news is, on New Year’s Eve, this place goes off like a frog in a sock! The rea­son be­ing, be­cause of the three dif­fer­ent time zones, you get to cel­e­brate the New Year three times in one crazy night! I don’t know if I could han­dle all that par­ty­ing in one night, but I reckon you guys should def­i­nitely give it a go.

The gen­eral store is also the pub and ser­vice sta­tion and, as far as hos­pi­tal­ity goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bet­ter place in the coun­try. In fact, if you thought you’d have to give up your Sun­day arvo golf ses­sion to visit this place you’re dead wrong. You see the good folk here have set up a Tri-State golf course. Yep, there are three holes in all three states and you’ll even get a cer­tifi­cate to hang on your wall as a tro­phy!

THE DOG FENCE

Paris has the Eif­fel Tower, Italy con­structed the Colos­seum and In­dia built the Taj Ma­hal. But us Aussies, well, we built a fence to keep the dogs out! Yep, the Dingo or Dog Fence is right up there with the best of them, I reckon.

If you’ve never heard of the dog fence it’s ba­si­cally a 5614km fence built be­tween 1880 and 1885. It stretches from the cliffs of the Nullar­bor Plain just above the great Aus­tralian Bight to Jim­bour near Dalby in Queensland with the sole pur­pose of keep­ing din­gos out of the rel­a­tively fer­tile lands of the south-east.

Parts of the fence utilise the likes of the South Aus­tralian and Queensland border fences and,

border fences and, luck­ily for me, it passes through Cameron Cor­ner, too. Some of the sta­tions the fence passes through and pro­tects are larger than sev­eral dif­fer­ent Euro­pean coun­tries, so it gives you an idea of the type of project this was at the time, and how im­por­tant it must have been to make it hap­pen. These days, the fence is still pa­trolled at least once a week to keep the main­te­nance up to spec. In fact, there are talks of it be­ing con­verted into an elec­tric fence with the num­ber of wild camels caus­ing it dam­age on the rise.

IT’S YOUR TURN NOW

A trip to out­back New South Wales should be on every­one’s to-do list. And it’s true what they say; you haven’t seen the heart of the out­back New South Wales un­til you’ve spent a few nights un­der the stars of the Cor­ner Coun­try.

If you’ve been stressed out at work, trust me, it’ll be just what the doc­tor or­dered. If you think a trip like this is just too hard to make hap­pen, trust me, it’s not. And if you think there’s noth­ing to see out here, trust me it’s an ex­pe­ri­ence in its own right!

I’m not usu­ally one to tell you how to live your life, but it’s fairly safe to say a trip like this is prob­a­bly ex­actly what you need!

CloCk­wIse from above: A spe­cial lit­tle cor­ner of the coun­try; The crew’s con­voy rolls into town; A coldie doesn’t get bet­ter than this; Ti­booburra is named af­ter an­cient gran­ite tors that sur­round the vil­lage.

CloCk­wise from above: There’s noth­ing bet­ter than a camp­fire to bring mates to­gether; There’s a lot of bor­ders out here!; A desert in bloom. Sturt NP was pretty as a pic­ture.

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