Saturday 13th June 2015, 30 degrees
We are picked up by bus and taken out to Lake Argyle 70 kilometres away. On the way we visit the reconstructed Argyle Downs homestead the family home of the pioneering pastoralists the Duracks. The house was moved to higher ground and rebuilt stone by stone when the Ord Valley was flooded. Headstones from the family cemetery are here and a cheeky bower bird has taken up residence by the headstones. After having read both of Mary Duracks books prior to this trip I am finding it quite moving to be in this area as of their three stations, Ivanhoe (which would have encompassed what is now Kununurra) Argyle Downs (now Lake Argyle) and Lissadell (near the Argyle Diamond Mine) only Lissadell remains as a working cattle station.
We cruise around the islands of the lake and see wallabies, fresh water crocodiles, even a baby one and golden orb spiders. The lake is about forty times the size of Sydney Harbour and if it ever reaches its capacity it will be about eighty times that of Sydney Harbour. Don’t tell the folks in Sydney. The boat has two 250hp Honda outboards on the back, the water is as smooth as glass and we glide about fast and slow across the glassy surface. It is so relaxing slipping and sliding in a sea of reflections. At sunset the boat stops and we all jump over the back and swim in the warm, seemingly bottomless water. It makes you want to stretch your legs to their utmost to feel the depth. Our skipper pours glasses of bubbly and floats out a tray of nibbles to us. Have you ever tried to drink and swim at the same time? It’s not easy, but watching the sunset from the water has a relaxing effect on everyone and the boat is awash with laughter and wet towels and the Kimberley evening is balmy.
Travelling Kms: 0
Note: Kings in Grass Castles and Sons in the Saddle by Mary Durack are both must reads for anyone with an interest in the 19th century history of Australia and the development of the pastoral industry.