I made several photos of the Balcanoona stockyards and sharing shed prior to the short walk along Acacia Ridge on the last day — Day 8. It was a short walk as we were to have a farewell lunch at the cafe/restaurant at the Arkaroola Resort. We were to leave Balcanoona to spend 2 days in the township of Hawker the following morning. Hawker is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges (as seen by the satellite of the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission) .
It was an easy but fascinating climb to Acacia Ridge in this semi-arid mountainous landscape. There were seven species of Acacia along Acacia Ridge: Dead Finish, a spiky shrub; Mulga, a greyish tree; Elegant Wattle, a grey shrub with spines Barrier Range Wattle and Witchetty Bush. Some were flowering. We also saw some plants unusual for the Northern Flinders Rangers – eg., the delicate pink- flowered Fringe-myrtle and Green Fuchsia-bush which are both more common further south and can only be seen here in good seasons. There was also a strand of gum-barked Coolibah trees along the ridge that took advantage of the extra water that would flow down the rock face.
The ridge itself is of Blue Mine Conglomerate, one of the older sediments of the Adelaide Geosyncline. This conglomerate was formed from sediments laid down 800-900 million years ago —a stunning example of the deep time of the Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges.
The hike offered views of the old homestead of the Arkaroola Pastoral Station nestled in the series of ridges with the Arkaroola Rd from Balcanoona winding its way past the homestead towards the Arkaroola resort. It suggests that we need to dump the bifurcation of nature and civilization, or the idea that nature exists as something that sustains civilization, but exists outside of society’s walls. This has its roots in the aesthetic distance in the green Romantic view of nature as a bucolic respite from the horrors of industrial society.
The Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges are no bucolic respite or refuge. The views from Acacia Ridge gave a clear sense of both the folly of pastoralism in the Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges, and their sheer strange or uncanny wildness. This is not country where you go walking on your own off the marked trails, unless you are a highly skilled bushwalker.