Friday, August 19, 2011

The soul's dull thud

Earlier this year there was an extraordinary set of programmes (2 or 3) on a Sunday evening, showing the greening of Central Australia during 2010 and the inevitability of the Queensland floods. These programmes were shown on the ABC, and were created by a team that included three men who died last night, Lockyer, Bean, and Ticehurst. During these programmes, we came to know all three, and to be infected with their love of country. To be up in the air zooming in over the Diamantina or the Cooper and to see through their eyes, was a joy. Lockyer, being the reporter, was the public face. But he was the first to acknowledge that he was part of a team.

Long have I followed Lockyer's stories, and his reports for the news or The 7:30 Report. He was at his best walking lines of stubble with farmers, crumbling dry sods between his fingers. Travelling down the Darling, and explaining the salting and death of Lake Alexandrina. Less so interviewing Lockyer Valley survivors earlier this year: he was a master of the understatement, of letting the place tell the story.

I travelled in and around Lake Eyre in April 2008, camping out the back of the William Creek pub, eating my obligatory chocolate paddle-pop at the Maree Creek store, crunching the salt pan on Lake Eyre south.

Vale you three ...

7 comments:

diane b said...

That's terrible, I didn't hear about it.

wilbo43 said...

A very sad story indeed, I think Paul Lockyer was an excellent reporter, I have seen many reports by him over the years. The ABC viewers will miss him and his fellow crew members.

Julie said...

Yeah, the feeling of loss is very personal.

See you both for lunch in a coupla hours. Wear yer winter woolies!!

Ann said...

I've been looking at my Lake Eyre shots today as well. Terribly sad news. The work those 3 did was extraordinary.

Dutchcloggie said...

I remember being at Williams Creek. What's the population these days? 5 or 6 :) Did I notice you went with Heading Bush at some point?

Julie said...

Very small population, although yesterday they had a memorial for the three newsmen who crashed and between 400 and 500 locals turned up.

Yes, I went with Heading Bush. Quite an experience. Loved the fact that I did it. Loved the backpackers I journeyed with. But it is way beyond me now, and even then, the ground was very hard!!

I now journey by a/c coach ... *groan* ...

Dutchcloggie said...

I enjoyed Heading Bush very much. I remember we used to see a company called Groovy Grapes follow a similar trail. But they did it in an a/c coach. We referred to them as Sad Sultanas...

To be honest, I would not do HB anymore either. I am finding camping quite difficult as I get older: cold at night, not often a nice shower, leaky airbed & hard ground... Maybe I'll get myself a caravan at some point.