Wednesday, 3 April 2013


Outback Adventure to Hell

Maureen Clifford © 

He’d travelled from Borroloola on the road to Doomadgee,
 was sick of red dirt tracks and  samphire bushes he did see,
 he couldn’t stand the heat and he was sick of bloody flies;
don’t know what he expected – for I’d not told any lies. 

We were heading on to Hell’s Gate not knowing what was in store
and the trusty van was still attached to our old four by four.
We passed mauve shaded turkey bush on the Savannah way
the thought of Hells Gate feeling good -  a rest at end of day.

A shower to wash the dust off and a beer to slake our thirst,
a chair beneath a shady tree – nature could do her worst.
We needed rest from bouncing over endless corrugations
and from battling the wheel, controlling Toyota gyrations

The showers looked good – Devils and Angels both accommodated,
the signage in the shower block should not be underrated.
It said in language clear and bold one should turn off the lights
when ablutions were finished in the shower block at night.

Lights attract the insects, and insects attract frogs.
Frogs attract the slithery serpents from beneath their logs.
Snakes are known to bite and they are venomous and kill
The RFD’s two hours away – waiting won’t be a thrill.

That trip was many years ago – to England he went back.
Was that a sigh of sheer relief – when we got off the track
and onto bitumen and back in busy city streets
where no one ever said G’day and no one stopped to greet?

Where each man was a stranger, and no one called you mate.
It was in its way just a different version of Hell’s gate.
But no doubt he regales his pals on evenings at his local
about his trip to Aussie Hell and no doubt he’s quite vocal.

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