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Full Circle

Day 130: Katherine to King's Creek

Michael Palin - Full CircleThe new Aboriginal owners were given a grant and some portable cabins but they never made a go of the ranch. Now, a little further down the desert road, amongst the spinifex and the saltbush, all that's left of Jim's dream is a water-tower frame, some fencing, a couple of smashed cabins and a small flat gravestone. On it is the name 'Katherine Charlaine Cotterill', and the three months that she lived.

Later: Evening by the fire at King's Creek camp-site with cans of VB (Victoria Bitter) and plates of corned beef, potatoes and veg. Around us, in a circle of flickering light, are the men, and women, who catch wild camels. Their leader is Ian Conway. Through his maternal grandmother he's part Aboriginal, which is why he has been able to keep the property. He's about my age, with a lazy eye and, on the rare occasions he takes off his bush hat, he reveals a high forehead topped with fair hair turning silver and worn in a fringe, giving him the look of a decadent Roman emperor. With him is his team: daughter Megan, a big dark-haired girl, who laughs a lot, Dave Wurst ('Wursty'), lean, serious, a biologist working for government, whippet-thin 'Westy', black-bearded Nicko and Gunnar, a Dane with thick prospector's beard and a dense and disordered thatch of straw-yellow hair through which a pair of bloodshot eyes can just be seen.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 130
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: Katherine
  • Book page no: 187

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