Glenda and I spent a wonderful six weeks in the southern Flinders Ranges looking after a large sheep farm over June/July. The farm was 6000 acres of rolling hills and gumtrees, with the addition of quite large areas of burnt out pine plantations and rocky mountains.
Officially, we had about 4000 head of sheep in our care, but most of these were range sheep that needed no intervention. We did spend some time rounding up escapees and putting them back in the paddocks. The farm and region was devastated last year by massive fires and then huge floods, one month apart. That’s Australia. This destroyed a large proportion of the fencing along with about 500 head of stock. The fences are not all fully repaired and the more adventurous sheep found little problem in finding their way out.
We had in our direct care two wonderful border collies, Ellie and Polly. Polly is a great working dog and took my vague instructions instinctively and got the job done. Ellie is a beautiful dog, but frankly, useless. She remained locked up in the back of the ute.
During our time, we had about 300 sheep due to lamb and this wondrous event happened while we were there. The ewes where in one of the burnt out plantations and it was quite eerie wandering through all the dead trees in the fog to the sounds of new born lambs bleating for their mothers. Absolutely fantastic experience!
The region is stunning. No other words for it. From green rolling hills to iconic creeks running through stands of river redgums, from acres of new green crops to rugged 4WD tracks to the top of the range to look at views over the Spencer Gulf, from vast tracts of sheep grazing land to lovely little watering holes hidden in the arid landscape, this area was never boring.
Our house, Illalangi (meaing “house on the hill) was blessed with amazing sunset view over the mountains. We spent quite a few evenings watching the sun go down and the myriad of colours it afforded.
The birdlife too was amazing. I have never seen so many raptors in such a small space of time. Black Shouldered Kites, Kestrels, Brown Falcons and the mighty Wedge Tailed Eagle to name but a few. There were also lots of smaller birds. Variegated Wrens, Adelaide Rosellas, silvereyes and many more.
We had a most enjoyable time there and were very sad to leave. We did consider changing the locks and sending the old owners on their way, but then, it was shearing time and I’m not sure we could have coped with that. There are a LOT Of sheep to shear!
We hope to get back to this region as soon as we can, hopefully farm sitting the same farm.
More photos can be seen at http://www.garyberesfordimaging.com/portfolio/bangor-south-australia