Things fall apart

A post on the colour, spectacle and excitement of Dragon Boat racing caused me to reflect on how things are, were, and have been here in the North of the State. We are an area beyond the historic Goyder’s Line. What’s the Goyder Line, you may ask?  George Goyder was the Surveyor-General of South Australia. Goyder spent years on horseback surveying South Australia and devised a demarcation line which separated land which was safe for agriculture,  which received good rains to sustain  crops,  and land which was not, did not have rain to sustain agriculture  but was adequate for light

The Goyder Line

grazing. This  is the Goyder Line. By the late 1860s with agricultural land being scarce , the South Australian Government ignored the findings of the Surveyor-General and sold the land north. After all everyone knows that  “Rain follows the Plow” For a few seasons the rains were good and crops grew in abundance and Goyder was ridiculed. The crops, ripe for harvest, swaying in the gentle breeze, looked like fields of gold and someone termed the phrase “The Golden North” a  name that survives today in  a few popular dairy products. By the mid 1880s the rains failed, drought came, winds came and the area became a dust bowl (Think Oklahoma), farmers lost everything and most just simply walked off their land. You will recall that I generally say that rain passes below us and where there are storms, we get a sideswip, that’s because the bottom of the Peninsula is within the Goyder Line, the top is not. I know, what has this got to do with colour, excitement and Dragon Boats? Well, simply a question was asked “How was your weekend?” Had I been asked that question  20 years ago, my answer would not have been what it was. A mere 20 years ago and this place was a hive of activity, social clubs, sport, fairs of various kinds – the second largest being the Food and Wine Fair, the largest being the Annual City Fair (Whyalla Show) the Christmas Pageant, the After Pageant Fair/ the Easter Parade / Australia Day.  On a good warm day it was nice to go to the foreshore, have an ice-cream and watch the  wind surfers.  Or you could have a game of backyard cricket with the neighbours. In the evening you could go to live music at one of the many  clubs – which club depended on who you were / Club Italico / The Croatia Club / The German Club/’The St. Andrew’s Society/ The Philippine Club / The Caledonia Club/  the Left Hand Club / The Irish Club/  there could be local up and coming talent or a singer or group from the Old Country. There was also live music at one or other of the hotels. The Sundowner Hotel was the place to be for the older youth – they  featured rock bands – local, Adelaide, or inter-state. Every year there was “The Battle of the Bands”where rock bands from all over SA gathered in town to play and compete for a prize  –  I’m not sure  what the winners got but I think it was substantial.

This is so true.

In the Golden North, in the 1880s  rains failed and the seasons changed.  Here, in the 1980s the  the recessions came and the culture changed. People lost jobs and having lost their jobs sold up and left town. Houses took a long time to sell as there were just no buyers. The clubs began to close, shops closed creating more unemployment. A lot of things happened, not much of them good and the confidence just went out of the town. None of the clubs survived. Club Italico is kept open by a few old men who go there to play cards and the reason they do that is so that they can show that the club is still used and they can retain the license. All of the others have gone. We have tried various things and ideas over the last few years and some worked for a couple of years then died. Well,  I don’t dwell on the past,  although this post might seem like it. We weren’t always boring and once upon a time, we did have a very active social life in a very active town. Now,  it’s just me and the dog – and that’s fine- although I have to say that the continual wind in this new climate is depressing at times.

Road Repairs, and Storm Damage

Patience is one thing – having to put up with this constant ache is something else. I do not intend to play at being Gregory House, living on pain killers and a cane. But according to what I am being told everything is progressing well and the residual pain is to be expected for a while. Good Grief, I’m a grumpy, impatient patient!!  I don’t know why Benji puts up with me. Annabell – she who follows Rugby – tells me that rugby players are out for a while with a knee injury and it will take a while  for the discomfort to fade completely.

I have been looking at Therapy Dogs, South Australia and from what I can see Therapy Dogs are not hospital visitors. I don’t think they go into Hospitals at all – more people confined to their homes,  Retirement Homes,  Aged Care Facilities plus a list of other activities but , not that I can see, hospitals. Bit sad if that is the case.  I found their web site slightly confusing, but perhaps that’s just me.

crackfill01Couple of days ago there was a fatal car crash on the Port Wakefield Road. It is believed that the car may have been thrown off balance by a pothole. I use that road fairly regularly and  was there on Wednesday going down and Thursday coming home and for a main road north, it’s not the best. It needs some serious upgrade. Traveling down on Wednesday there were places where it was like driving over corrugated iron. Some genius came up with a new idea to make bad roads last longer – fill in the cracks with bitumen. Yes, it may well help to make the road last a bit longer but it makes for a very uncomfortable ride. That’s what they have been doing on the Port Wakefield Road but it is now widespread and the Council have been doing it here in a number of our roads – not pretty. It’s like a very old British TV show “Never Mind the Quality – Feel the Width”. Why not repair it – don’t be silly, that would mean diverting money away from  the South Road – or even worse – the Money Pit AKA The New Royal Adelaide Hospital. Although, having said that, they did go out and fill in the potholes that caused the accident.

Wednesday: According to all the weather reporters and forecasters we are about to get hit with the worst storm since the 1940s and it starts this afternoon. At this moment it is 7:40 and it is blue skies and sunny – no sign of any storm – hardly even a cloud. At the moment, as far as I can see, the storm is still out on the  Great Australian Bight and just looking at its predicted movement, it’s still a long way off. Apart from about 100+mm of rain winds almost up to hurricane intensity are forecast, so that should be interesting.

9 am – It begins.  The sun has gone, dark overheads clouds, rolling thunder and in the last few seconds, the rain has started.  Nothing much to be concerned with right at the moment. Been looking at the weather map and I think this is all going to pass below us. As far as I can make out there are actually two storm fronts, one coming down from the north and one moving in from

Looks interesting
Looks interesting

the  Bight. I think we will get a fair bit of the rain from both but the major front, the one coming in from the Bight will pass below us and hit Adelaide, the South East, Victoria and New South Wales. The one from the north – seems to be heading above us and into Queensland.

9:50. The rain is crashing down now and the noise in incredible. The thunder seems to have  gone for the moment and there is no wind whatsoever. Everything stopped for a while then it started up again bringing hail stones and heavy, crashing rain

Thursday: Shortly after that comment on Wednesday  we lost power. This was just restored about 45 minutes ago, so 24, cold, dark hours without power. As far as I can see  our location protected us from the worst of the storm. Yes, we had rain, hail wind like I have never seen before but

pylons-down
pylons-down

not as much damage as in other parts of the State. I have two trees down and I managed to start clearing one before the power went out and the saw was useless.  Other areas such as Blyth, really took a beating with major damage to property.  The  massive storm front brought down some 24 electricity pylons and damaged the grid in three areas leading to a state-wide blackout. Power was restored to some parts of Adelaide last night , we came back on line at 4:30 this afternoon but there are still about 50,000 without power further north. The news is that this storm front is not over yet and there is a forecast for more rain and high winds late this afternoon and into tonight. Right at the moment I am concentrating on making sure everything is charged up – just in case  :o)

Latest:  Reports of suggested evacuations of parts of Port Pirie as the water rises and threatens to flood the town..