We have recently returned from an adventure to the Red Centre including a drive down the Cordillo Downs Road from Birdsville to Innamincka. When at Innamincka, to reach Cullyamurra Waterhole – one of Australia’s grandest waterholes – with spectacular red gums and abundant bird life you drive east from Innamincka for about 7 kilometers and follow the sign posts…there are many camp sites along the southern side of the Cooper Creek.

The river red gum tree, the subject of my painting River Red Gum on Cullyamurra Water Hole at Innamincka – is a tree I have painted before and one that I love. It is not far from where William John Wills of Burke and Wills fame was buried before his body was relocated and buried in Melbourne.

This is the Dig Tree, from Wikipedia – The Burke and Wills Dig Tree on the banks of Cooper’s Creek is associated with explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills.

The tree was blazed on 21 April 1861 by William Brahe and party who had remained at Cooper’s Creek while Burke, Wills, Charles Gray and John King forged ahead to the northern coast of Australia.

Brahe’s party was finally forced to abandon the depot and trek homewards, leaving a message pointing to a cache of hidden stores.

Cadelga Ruins on the Cordillo Downs Road.

A section of the Birdsville Track between Mungerannie Station and Birdsville.

This is what the wonderful often spoken about Birdsville track is really like – it is wide and well maintained. You travel through the desert country where there is no natural water sources other than after a rare rain event.

Much of the track has a gibber surface…of the Sturt Stony Desert…but the landscape is mesmerising, the colours superb – the red of the plains always against the blue of that wide Australian sky…with the occasional cattle station a stand out.

This is the landscape of the red centre!… the sand dunes in the distance are more than 80 kilometres away.