REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: when the dead heart is jump-started

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by senior journalist at Queensland Country Life, Sally Cripps.

From 2017: The dunes of Big Red were a perfect vantage point to watch the glorious sunset.

From 2017: The dunes of Big Red were a perfect vantage point to watch the glorious sunset.

Whoever coined the phrase "Australia's dead heart" obviously hasn't been near Birdsville these last few weeks.

Up to 18 light planes at a time have been queuing for fuel at the airport bowser, according to Diamantina shire mayor Geoff Morton, and the common traffic airspace frequency to the south around Lake Eyre is busy all day.

Add to that Midnight Oil's only gig in Australia so far this year, headlining at the Big Red Bash, and the Simpson and Stony Deserts are alive with all sorts of life.

The most remote music festival in the world has been building in popularity for a few years now, rivaling its sister attraction on the town's racetrack, and this year it's sold out.

The Big Red sand dune backdrop to a 2017 show.

The Big Red sand dune backdrop to a 2017 show.

There's 9000 people who didn't want to be the one left out of the world record Nutbush dance attempt, dune surfing, beach volleyball, camel rides or the Bashville Drags.

And that's not including the tunes reverberating around the 40 metre high sand dune that makes for one of the most striking backdrops in the world - check out this flashback to the 2017 Bash to see what we mean.

I wonder how many of the baby-booming bashers will realise that the destructive monsoon trough that killed hundreds of thousands of cattle in north west Queensland in February are connected with the regenerative floodwaters that are filling Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre to their south?

Floodwaters soaking into Goyder Lagoon in northern South Australia on their way to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. It's a local joke that the Inside Birdsville Track at the top of the picture has been renamed the "Inside Birdsville Jetski Track".

Floodwaters soaking into Goyder Lagoon in northern South Australia on their way to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre. It's a local joke that the Inside Birdsville Track at the top of the picture has been renamed the "Inside Birdsville Jetski Track".

Not only did all the rich sediment and water nourish what was described as the best start to the banana prawn harvest in the Gulf of Carpentaria for decades, it has been the silver lining for pastoralists who say their land is otherwise destitute.

Geoff Morton owns the 518,000 hectare Roseberth Station, of which 78,100 hectares was flooded. Otherwise, he's only had 11mm of rain this year, on top of 40mm last year.

Still, the spectacle of Australia's largest lake sparkling with water is breathtaking.

But even those two event were eclipsed, in my opinion, by a simple horse ride that took place last month.

Three Diamantina identities decided to saddle up their horses and ride the 200km between Bedourie and Birdsville to raise money for cancer research, honouring friends and family that have struggled with the deadly disease.

Their commitment and determination inspired people from around Australia, bringing 180 people to the heart of the outback for a gala dinner at the end of the ride.

The final financial tally for the Ringers Ride for Cure isn't yet known but what is indisputable is how big the hearts are of the people who live in some of the most remote parts of Australia.

The power and the passion indeed.

Sally Cripps,

Senior journalist, Queensland Country Life

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