P.22 THE IRON MOUNTAIN
Few places in the world can have known a bonanza comparable with that which has come to the north west of Australia. Previous mining strikes have been dramatised with the magic word "gold”. This is a strike of iron ore - about 15,000 million tons of it, at least 40 times Australia's previously known reserves. And the discovery has been made at points comparatively close to the coast where there are good harbour sites. More important, the ore is on or near the surface.
While iron ore deposits in the west are to be found as far apart as Wyndham in the north, Scott River, 200 miles south of Perth, and points in between, the most dramatic find has been in the Hamersley Ranges where, at Mount Tom Price, a veritable mountain of ore is being gouged out by gigantic bulldozers for entrainment to Dampier and shipment overseas.
The discovery of the ore has transformed what was once a remote grazing region into one of the world's hottest mineral properties. New roads have been built and existing roads improved and, in the wake of the prospectors, have come the tourists. The excitement of the north west has gripped all of Australia and along the coastal road through Carnarvon or the Great Northern Highway through Meekatharra, visitors converge on the Hamersley region. They admire the great scenic beauty to be found in the Wittenoom area. Wittenoom and Dales Gorges have been described as among the most scenically beautiful in Australia,
P.34 CAMPS, CARAVANS AND HOW TO ENJOY THEM
One of the curious paradoxes of modern life is that as more luxury is created more people seek the simple life. This is no less true with holidays and the increasing number of people choosing camping or caravan holidays is probably only marginally related to economics.
True, it costs less for the family who trail their holiday home behind them. But it's also true that they are more mobile, see more, get closer to nature and avoid rigid schedules that necessitate their being in a town by nightfall.
Another advantage of a camping or caravan holiday is that it enables participation in bushwalking, rock climbing, cave exploration, fossicking and gold prospecting. All of these outdoor activities have enjoyed a boom in popularity recently as more Australians discover the joy of acquiring an intimate knowledge of their own country.
Camping has changed with the introduction of new designs in tents. From pup tent to marquee, they offer just about any type of shelter the camper could wish for. A rough guide to tent capacity is possible, although this depends on using cots or stretchers or mattresses on the floor. With cots, two people can sleep in a 7' x 7', four in an 8' x 10' and six in a 12' x 14'. Many families take more than one tent. Youngsters enjoy having a tent of their own.
Always check quality, stitching and seam reinforcement. Don't spend too little on a tent. A good one is worth all you pay because it will last longer and be fit for using over several years. Synthetic cloth is now used extensively, with durability and lightness its most attractive features. Synthetics are also 100 per cent waterproof and impervious to rot.
The heavy old tentpoles are becoming relics from the past. To-day aluminium poles or even built-in inflatable rigidity panels are normal equipment as is synthetic rope. Whatever tent you buy, look after it. After your camping holiday, spread it out, inspect it for holes, wear, abrasion. Hose it clean and let it dry thoroughly before stowing it away.
Those who favour caravans can offer themselves luxury with virtually no limits. The days of cramped, unsteady trailers have gone. To-day's caravan is a firm, alloy structure offering all the comforts of home. Hot water, gas, electricity, even showers are fitted in the latest caravans.
Choose the caravan within your price range bearing in mind how far you intend to travel, how many people will be sharing it and what sort of terrain you intend traversing. Consider overall towing length, width and weight. Vacuum brakes, while costly, are better on a van than the mechanical override brakes.
Caravanners tend to differ about towing ratios. The only point on which all are agreed is that a lighter van gives better control. A rule of thumb formula is that the total laden van weight must not exceed the all-up weight of the towing vehicle. Some authorities suggest it should never exceed 75 per cent of the car weight.
Towing a caravan will not damage any car provided it is properly maintained and serviced, although more care is needed in driving. Fuel consumption will increase and greater strain will be placed on tyres, cooling system, battery and engine loading. Engine oil, oil filter and rear axle and gearbox lubricant will need changing more frequently. Check on the state of carburetion as well as the condition of contact breaker points and spark plugs. A car will always tend to lift a certain amount at the front when a laden caravan is attached. Make sure headlight adjustment doesn't cause dazzle on low beam.
Most difficulties in caravan towing come from errors in loading. As little as 50 lb, in the wrong place can cause a handling fault. A few basic rules are worth remembering. Carry only a few gallons of water in the water tank while travelling. Keep the heaviest items nearest the floor and, if you are in doubt about fore and aft loading, concentrate the heaviest weight in the centre. Keep fragile items forward where they will get a smoother ride. Wrap valuable breakables well, cover clothes with plastic, make sure roof hatch, windows and cupboard doors are locked, turn off stove, LP gas bottle and electric points. Make sure rear jacks are fully raised and towing hitch is locked, safety chain attached and electrical connection with the car is made.
P.60 OIL EXPLORATION
OIL! Few words in the English language can have such exciting appeal; such national impact and such bearing on the everyday life of people in these times. We live in an age of oil. It powers our movement-by road, rail, sea and air. Primary and secondary production depend on it. Without oil, the world as we know it now would grind to a halt.
Unleashing the power of oil from mother earth can be a fickle and frustrating business, or a roaring achievement as we have learned so well.
Australia's indigenous crude oil industry was born at Rough Range, Western Australia, in 1953 when the first flow oil in this country came from the first well drilled by the West Australian Petroleum Pty. Ltd. (Wapet)-an operating company pioneered by Ampol. But it was to be 11 years and many wells later before Wapet's next flow—at Barrow Island in 1964.
However, the freak find at Rough Range had sparked an all-out search, with discoveries at Moonie in Queensland and later in Bass Strait.
So the faith of an Australian company was more than justified when the first shipment of crude oil was made from Barrow Island in 1967-produced from a field that lay in the original permit areas taken up by Ampol 20 years earlier.
The discovery of oil and natural gas in Western Australia has been akin to the romance of the big State's earlier gold strikes and its subsequent incredible discoveries of iron ore, nickel and other minerals.
P.91 NORTHERN TERRITORY
THE STONE AGE COUNTRY
The vast Northern Territory, covering 523,000 square miles-one sixth of the Australian continent-has a great future, any Territorian will assure you of that, Compounded of cattle, minerals and tourism, it imparts a cheerful optimism and keen delight in thwarting the south and the east, seen as regions populated with dour unimaginative citified folk who could never understand the spirit of the Territory anyway.
The tourist part is flourishing and has effectively divided the Territory into two regions. The Centre and the Top End.
The Centre is the area radiating from Alice Springs, a flourishing town that began as a telegraph station in 1872. Darwin, the legislative seat of the Northern Territory, is the focal point of the Top End which is expanding to take in Arnhem Land and the Gulf Shores. Darwin is 934 miles north of Alice Springs along the sealed Stuart Highway.
The Alice, as "Centralians' call it, has a remarkable setting on a plateau 1,900 feet above sea level with the surrounding MacDonnell Ranges reflecting the sun in varied shades of its ochre faces. The town's development has been rapid and the total of four hotels and seven motels registered at the time of writing is certain to be exceeded.
Development has been well planned and the wide streets, cool lawns and sheltered sidewalks make it a pleasant town to live in.
Motorists may drive up the unsealed highway from Port Augusta or ship their cars through from Adelaide on The Ghan, the express train to Alice Springs, and ride in airconditioned comfort. After sightseeing around The Centre,they may continue north to Darwin. The Stuart Highway between the Top End and The Centre is also linked with the east by the Barkly Highway which runs through Mt. Isa and joins it at Three Ways, 15 miles north of Tennant Creek. Two other roads link with the west, one at Dunmarra running west to Halls Creek and the other at Katherine through to Kununurra and Wyndham.
The Centre has a climate that is by no means exhausting. The days may be hot in summer, but the nights are invariably cool and in the winter a jacket or cardigan is needed. Winter, from April to October, brings sunny days with low relative humidity. Mean average reading is 81.6° while the highest mean humidity is 37 per cent.
The Alice itself offers plenty to see with the main feature undoubtedly the original telegraph building situated beside the picturesque pool still fed from the springs that gave the town its name. Art galleries, a sculpture park and museum, Australia's only date farm and the colorful people themselves-white and Aboriginal-make it an interesting town for the visitor.
The Flying Doctor Base is open to visitors during the period when radio contact is being made with outback stations. The impressive John Flynn Memorial Church honors the founding of the Flying Doctor Service.
Most visitors use the town as a base from which to visit the many places of interest in The Centre. Magnificent gorges, chasms and canyons are features of this exciting country. Ormiston Gorge lies 80 miles to the west with Glen Helen Gorge five miles south of it. Impressively colorful Standley Chasm is about 30 miles west of Alice Springs with Simpson's Gap just 14 miles west. Hermannsburg Mission is open to visitors. Located about 76 miles to the west, and founded in 1877, this was the home of Namatjira, the painter.
About 48 miles east of Alice Springs is Ross River, a well appointed ranch style resort from which visits may be made to gorges and canyons nearby.
The days when Darwin was thought of as a rakish, frontier town have gone. Now a city, it has lost none of its lore and probably still has the greatest collection of "tall story'' tellers in Australia. But modern buildings, civic pride and the creation of a suburbia are all factors that have contributed to its taming.
Darwin is best visited in the dry season (April to November) when the days are warm but the humidity low. The temperature rarely exceeds 90°, but humidity and tropical downpours can make the wet season trying.
Good hotels and motels with air-conditioned accommodation make Darwin an ideal place to stay. The Administrative buildings are excellent and one of its private homes was voted House of The Year.
Aborigines, Chinese, Malays and just about every nationality of European live happily with older white Australians and tolerance is the city's hallmark.
Safaris may be organised to photograph or hunt crocodiles and buffalo, but a strict control on shooting aims at preserving the unusual game of the Territory. Aerial sweeps over the swamps and billabongs that surround Darwin are most impressive. Tours that take in Aboriginal reserves may be made but permits are needed. Arnhem Land, long an isolated region is now opening up for the visitor.
P.97 CHOOSING YOUR HOLIDAY - AND HOW TO SPEND IT
Australians off on a holiday have never had a wider choice nor has so vast an area of their land been open to them.
Highway No. 1 from Cooktown, south and across the Nullarbor to Perth, north again to the remote Kimberley region and through to Darwin, with links down through Mount Isa to Townsville, makes it possible to drive virtually right around the island continent.
And on the way motorists can relax in air conditioned motels, camp out or stay at country pubs full of atmosphere.
In Australia there's plenty to see. We make much of the extensive areas of desert, often forgetting the many oases that dot even the most forbidding region. This is particularly the case with The Centre which, despite its hot rugged atmosphere, has palm shaded valleys and cool billabongs. The exotic tropical north, with boab trees in the Kimberleys and the lush vegetation in the Territory and Queensland, offers unrivalled scenic beauty. While for contrast, the more temperate Tasmania has a different atmosphere again—rugged and yet strangely gentle in its old world charm.
Like anything worth while, a holiday is more rewarding when it has been well planned. By studying the many regions of Australia and what they offer, you can best decide which holiday is for you. Take plenty of time with these arrangements. Study routes, consider stopovers and allow for the seasonal conditions.
A glance at the main vacation areas—and some not so well known—reveals a wide choice for the intending holiday planner.
North along the New South Wales coast from Sydney is one of the most beautiful highway drives in the world. Passing through historical towns and villages, crossing rivers and bypassing mountains, it takes the motorist to the gateway of Queensland and through the lively, glittering Gold Coast to Brisbane. North again is another vacation coast. Not so well known, but full of pleasant spots with unusual places like Tin Can Bay, with its multicolored sand dunes. From Gladstone begins the 1,250mile coastline that faces the exotic waters of the Great Barrier Reef stretching north of Cairns.
The Centre, radiating from Alice Springs, has chasms and gullies and, with Ayers Rock 100 miles south, is one of the most colorful regions.
South, the highways pass through soft pasture land that merges into wine and fruit country and out to fabulous Broken Hill. The coastline between Melbourne and Adelaide, leads in to St. Vincent and Spencer Gulfs with the lonely long Eyre Highway stretching away to the west.