We don’t learn much about Australian history in US schools not surprisingly, so most of what I learned about Australia I read about in our guide book or in Bill Bryson’s book “In a Sunburned Country”. In those two books I came across John McDouall Stuart, who was the first man of European descent to cross the center of Australia overland. In our own trip we hadn’t intended to replicate his feat by driving the entire distance of Australia, but alas that’s what we ended up doing. As we saw first hand the Outback is a foreboding place; blazing sun, no shade, very little water to be seen, and poisonous critters. On our trip we stopped off in the quaint hamlet of Daly Waters and by hamlet I mean a pub and a campground.
This place proved to be important to Stuart because of some natural springs nearby, so he named it Daly Waters and carved a “S” into a tree growing there in 1862 and against all odds that tree still remains for tourists like me to take a picture of and try and imagine what it must of been like to travel through the barren land without the assistance of air conditioning, reclining leather seats, convenience stores, and pubs. After shuddering at the thought, I snapped a few pictures, climbed into my moderately comfortable rental car, and headed off thinking man am I glad I live in the 21st century.