gone bush

My brother’s gone bush. As in totally outback. 

road to Kalumburu


He’s packed up his life in Perth and has gone to work with my Dad and his wife in Kalumburu. Now for those of you not familiar with Australia, or even the Aussies who are, you probably haven’t heard of this town. It is literally at the arse end of nowhere! He took 2 regional planes, a private charter plane and a helicopter to get there!

'A' marks the location for Kalumbaru, Western Australia
local map


Kalumburu was originally an Aboriginal Mission, founded over 100 years ago. The current population is just over 400 people; mostly Indigenous Aussies with a portion of what the locals call “contractors” who are basically contract government employees who are there to keep the town sustainable (eg an Australian Government initiative to set up ‘successful’ lndigenous communities).

the township of Kalumburu


local kids


My brother (January 2012)

Because of the alcohol issues within Indigenous communities, this town is completely “dry”. No alcohol is permitted. At all. Ever. This is actually a great thing for my brother who is a diagnosed functional alcoholic at the ripe old age of 29. He’s had a lot of alcohol-related issues in the past and this is his fresh start. I’ve been speaking to him regularly and he sounds clear and really good. He said he’s feeling 200% and is eating a gargantuan amount of food. My Dad is one of the community managers and his wife is one of the child psychologists. My brother is working as a field manager; basically he works with a crew of locals to secure fences, town maintenance, build ‘things’ etc. By trade he’s Rigging, Scaffolding and Crane Operator as well as working other heavy machinery, so he’s completely comfortable working with a group of blokes in the 40°C+ outdoors. It’s a tough transition, from a city with everything readily available to having to plan your month’s meals (there is a monthly charter flight to Kununarra for supplies and a small convenience store where one orange costs $2.50), no mobile phone reception (they have landlines and satellite internet), no friends and the mail plane comes twice a week (Monday & Friday). Downtime is spent fishing or eating dinner at neighbours houses (in air-conditioned comfort!). It’s really hot up there and you’ve got to be careful about where you swim as it’s crocodile country. But it’s beautiful country; Australian outback at it’s most divine. 

Kalumburu is on Gibb River, which leads to Mitchell Falls


"Lost City" where the Gibb River meets the Timor sea


example of the fish (Mulloway) caught in Honeymoon Bay, Kalumburu


more fish (Red Emperor) caught in Honeymoon Bay, Kalumburu


The other night my brother and dad went out fishing and caught Mulloway, Red Emperor & Barramundi. My bro was pretty excited as he told me that his first 3 casts nabbed him 3 fish! What they don’t eat they share amoung the locals. 

The nearest main townships are Derby (population 4500) and Kununarra (population 3800). Derby is known for it’s Boab Trees, and I remember visiting the Derby Boab Jail when I was about 10 years old and Kununarra has the Ord River Dam which is a major water catchment and energy supplier for the Kimberly Region. It’s also smack-bang in the middle of the Argyle region (aka Argyle diamonds!!!!)

Derby Boab Trees
Derby Boab Jail

Read here for more info on the Derby Boab Prison.

Ord River Dam / Lake Argyle
Croc catchment area

My bro has a weekend sojourn in Kununarra this weekend; the company flies him out for a couple of nights in civilisation. But for my brother, the outback adventures have just begun… 


4 thoughts on “gone bush

  1. Gorgeous landscape.

    I don’t think that Aussies get out to the Outback enough! I know whenever I have holidays they’re always in Bali or on a beach somewhere.

    Good luck to your (cute) brother!

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