When we were travelling around the country doing the Census (see ‘Off the Beaten Path’ tips), accommodation consisted of camping in the bush. It was simply a matter of deciding that an area of ground was clear enough to be able to safely light a fire and not too rocky to sleep upon. Then, just gather some wood, light a fire, boil the billy and cook up some tucker. Once it’s dark, settle back in your swag and look up at the best view of the universe you will find anywhere in the world: five star hotels can’t compete with that kind of view!
Of course, you need to take everything with you – including water. And don’t forget to clean up any rubbish afterward. In the photo we’re breaking camp next morning – as can be seen by the remains of the campfire.
At the time I was there, the Aboriginal people largely still retained their nomadic lifestyle, moving between Oodnadatta, various cattle stations, and traditional camping grounds. While their residences still often were built in the construction style of wilchas (see previous tip), the covering had become canvas tarpaulins. There also was increasing use of corrugated iron, as the increasing availability of vehicles made it easier to transport more materials around the countryside. Invariably, there were numerous dogs around the camps. I understand that most aboriginals now live in houses in towns.
“Wilcha” was name the Pitjantjatjara people used for their traditional bush houses, made from loosely stacked mulga tree branches, with grass over the top. These would be constructed in groups where the nomadic people would stay for a while, hunting wildlife for food. Later they would move on, abandoning the wilchas.
This very young couple, who shall be nameless, found this abandoned wilcha outside Oodnadatta and, of course, had to have their photo taken with “their first house”.
Sort by: Most recent | Most helpful