We arrived home from dinner at Aidan and Shannon’s place to
find Mark ensconced and ready for a chat, so we grabbed a glass of
wine and swapped stories for an hour or so. Paula had some emails
to write, so it ended up being a later night than we thought. As a
consequence, we were a bit bleary when we collected Liam from
Klemzig to get him to his flight at 8 a.m. We dropped him at
departures and headed off into the early Adelaide morning. The road
through the Hills to Murray Bridge was uneventful, although the
river was up and flowing. After Tailem Bend, however, things became
more interesting: we were traveling beside Lake Alexandrina and the
Coorong. Photo stops became more and more necessary as we headed
into what seemed like a very remote area of South Australia, with
tiny rural communities punctuating farms to the east and sandy
National Park to the west. This is Storm Boy country, although
there were only a few Mr Percevals. The Coorong was an arresting
sight: a long, thin body of fresh water that you could swim across
but seemed a hundred kilometres long (ok, 130, Wikipedia). Shallow
bays with brilliant white sand alternate with rocky shores carpeted
with flowering natives that were quite unfamiliar to us. Just south
of the Coorong lies Kingston, weedy and unfashionable, and
undeniable scenic. Unlike Robe, further down the coast, it was
almost deserted and a good place for a picnic lunch. Robe itself
was manic — it could have been in NSW! A photostop and we were off
again, away from the coast and inland through wild broad-acre
farms, timber plantations and — unbelievably — isolated vinyards.
In an hour and a half we were in Penola, checking in and walking
into town to re-acquaint ourselves with the town’s history and its
connection to St Mary MacKillop. The old school house has been
restored and a fantastic museum and interpretative centre attached.
Paula gained some great insights into Mary’s pedagogy and teaching
philosophy, and we were both a little moved by the unfulfilled
promise of the life of Julian Tenison Woods. We didn’t drink in
Sandy Cameron’s pub, but our wholesome meal included some nice
local wine. Tasting could wait until the morrow!