The Australian Gravel Adventure 2017 / 2018 – Part Five – Burra and Beyond

Greetings trendsetters! Now, before anyone says… “hey JOM, where’s Part Four?”. Part Four would be my 2018 New Year’s Day video, even though it isn’t labeled as such.

Moving along…

My second gravel ride of 2018 took place on the 3rd of January, 2018. Forgive me for being a little behind, I am sort of on vacation, and trying my best to take advantage of my downtime. With that said, my downtime usually involves riding a bunch of miles / kilometres across a sometimes desolate landscape with my bicycle, camera and drone sidekick for company.

Thus, the scene was set for a ride beginning and ending in the small mid-North South Australian town of Burra. Wikipedia’s entry has been quoted below:

“Burra is a pastoral centre and historic tourist town in the mid-north of South Australia. It lies east of the Clare Valley in the Bald Hills range, part of the northern Mount Lofty Ranges, and on Burra Creek. The town began as a single company mining township that, by 1851, was a set of townships (company, private and government-owned) collectively known as “The Burra”.[2] The Burra mines supplied 89% of South Australia’s and 5% of the world’s copper for 15 years,[3] and the settlement has been credited (along with the mines at Kapunda) with saving the economy of the struggling new colony of South Australia. The Burra Burra Copper Mine was established in 1848 mining the copper deposit discovered in 1845. Miners and townspeople migrated to Burra primarily from Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Germany. The mine first closed in 1877, briefly opened again early in the 20th century and for a last time from 1970 to 1981.”

“When the mine was exhausted and closed the population shrank dramatically and the townships, for the next 100 years, supported pastoral and agricultural activities. Today the town continues as a centre for its surrounding farming communities and, being one of the best-preserved towns of the Victorian era in Australia, as a historic tourist centre.”

My route would take me north of Burra to the town of Hallett, South Australia, then back again but on a route a little further west.

Burra from the air.
Burra from the ground.
Overlooking Burra on the way out of town.
Always close the gate!
Part of this route took in the Heysen Trail.
A dry and desolate landscape.
Not for everyone, I appreciate the beauty of this landscape.
The T-Lab X-3 titanium review bike.
Kangaroos were everywhere on this ride, albeit reclusive.
A kangaroo avoids the company of the Gravel Cyclist.
He / she easily clears the fence line in one jump.
Part of this route cut through Mokota Conservation Park.

The classic Aussie windmill, typically used to pump water.
A flock of Australian Cockatoos.
Wind turbines are used in the mid-North of South Australia.

Curious cattle.

Abandoned Aussie farmhouse, constructed from local stone.
Rolling back into Burra, late in the day.
One of the Burra locals owns a pair of rare albino Kangaroos.
The beautifully restored Burra Railway Station.

Sadly, trains no longer operate from Burra.
A railway bridge on the edge of Burra. Abandoned.

There will be a video from this ride a little later, watch this space. Please subscribe to the Gravel Cyclist Youtube channel if you haven’t already.

Thanks for reading!

JOM

10 comments on “The Australian Gravel Adventure 2017 / 2018 – Part Five – Burra and Beyond

  1. You’re setting a new trend, always leave part 4 unlabeled from now on 😉

    I am enjoying the thoughts of summer riding that your pictures and videos bring. Lucky you.

  2. JOM,
    another great little photo and text essay – good stuff.
    In my pre-IT days I was an exploration geophysicist and did some work around that area in the late 60s – yes I’m an old fart!
    Nice country and it changes spectacularly after some rain.

    1. I would love to see Burra and surrounds post rain. Of course, most of the roads would be total mudfests based on the warnings – “Dry Weather Road Only” – and my favourite – “Boggy When Wet”.

  3. Yea! Good stuff. Almost like some parts of Arizona. Why would you use white tape and white saddle on a gravel bike?

    1. CitizenAZ, I LOVE white bikes, including white handlebar tape and saddle. Many of my personal bikes are built with this colour way. Sure, it is a bit of work sometimes keeping it all clean, but uber classy. Fizik’s white handlebar tape is superb and resists a lot of grime. Ditto on their marvelous Arione saddle.

  4. Nice essay, and I assume the titanium frame is easily withstanding all the rigours of the Australian landscape. I have to agree with CitizenAZ, white on a gravel bike?!?!.
    Is the farmhouse in your photo the same farm house on the Barrier Hwy, that Midnight Oil used on their iconic ‘Diesel and Dust’ album cover?

    1. The T-Lab X-3 is holding up nicely thus far. If any of my readers haven’t figured it out already, I like my review and personal bikes to stand out from the crowd. I LOVE white bikes – super classy – even when muddy.

      Big coincidence on the farmhouse on the album cover, but almost identical, yes. HUGE Midnight Oil fan here. That house is typical of the rural housing from that period of time. In an ideal world, the owners would gift the house and a small tract of surrounding land so I could restore it and live happily ever after 🙂

      More essays and videos coming soon.

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