Family leaving the snow for the desert
IMAGINE having your mail delivered just once a week, and by a small plane no less.
Imagine having no power unless your generator is running, and no phone except by satellite.
And imagine going to the supermarket just once a month, and travelling 500 kilometres to get there.
For three generations of the Scott family, it’s not a case of imagining it – it’s a case of living, and more importantly, loving it.
Graham and Sandy Scott, together with their son Tony and his wife Michelle, plus the four grandchildren, have moved – not to Mansfield, like so many tree changers, but to Mt Dare, in the middle of no-where.
Sit uated j ust below t he Northern Territory border, with Finke 100 kilometres to the north and Oodnadatta 250 kilometres to the south, few places are as remote as the Mt Dare Hotel.
“We’d been here before as tourists,” Graham explained.
“But that’s not quite the same as living here – it’s a challenge and there are things we still have to get used to, but we are loving it.”
With properties at both Merton and Molesworth, the Scotts decided almost overnight to pack their bags and head off on the adventure of a lifetime.
“The plan has always centred on having three generations up here – that’s part of the attraction.
“From the moment we first talked about it, to taking over the business, was about eight weeks.”
Graham and Sandy have travelled Australia wide, and while they have always called Mansfield home, something about the wide open deserts beckoned them.
“We have done a lot of outback travel and have always felt strangely at home out here – the moment we drove into this desert country, we relaxed – it just feels right.”
For Tony, his wife Michelle and the four kids, plus a foster child, the move to Mt Dare is as big an adventure as they are ever likely to embark on.
With the kids currently away in Alice Springs learning the ropes of School of the Air, the family has settled into a new pace of life on the hard red sand.
“We drove up and had a look at Mt Dare first,” Tony said.
“But when my folks suggested we all go, we thought, why not?”
Tony has put his hand up to be the hotel’s resident chef, and so far has revelled in his new environment.
But when you are the only place to stop in town, there’s more to do than just cook.
The Scotts also run fuel, fix tyres, provide on-site mechanical repairs and vehicle recovery, accommodation, school, camping, hotel, kitchen and everything else. “We are loving it,” Tony said. “We are here for the experience; we have no plans to leave anytime soon.”
Back in the bar and Graham is preparing for the lunchtime trade.
“We open at 8am, and are here till the last person leaves – they are big days and that can be a challenge.”
The Scotts took over Mt Dare at the beginning of July.
They have quickly adjusted to the change in environment, swapping snow-capped mountains for desert plains.
And despite loving life in Victoria, they are confident their new one in outback South Australia will be every bit as good, if not better.
“We are looking forward to spending a lot of time up here,” Graham said.
“We love it.”
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