Not far from the thermal pool is the site of the old Elsey Station, a sprawling cattle station carved out of the wilderness. This was the home of Jeannie and Aeneas Gunn at the beginning of the 20th century. It was at that time an incredibly remote location, and Jeannie Gunn was in fact the first white woman to reach the area.
Jeannie Gunn, who is actually more widely known as Mrs. Aeneas Gunn, as that is the name under which she published, kept diaries of life among the men and Aborigines who occupied the region. She eventually turned her writings about the hard but happy life on the edge of nowhere into the book We of the Never-Never, now considered one of the classics of Australian literature. And it’s a great read. We of the Never-Never has also been made into a wonderful movie.
The title of the book and movie are taken from the Aboriginal term for the really remote areas of the Outback: nulla-nulla, translated as never-never. As Jeannie Gunn wrote, it was “away Behind the Back of Beyond, the Land of the Never-Never; in that elusive land with an elusive name—a land of dangers and hardships and privations, yet loved as few lands are loved—a land that bewitches her people with strange spells and mysteries….We who have lived in it, and loved it, and left it, know that our hearts can Never-Never rest away from it.”
If you have not read the book or seen the movie, I recommend both highly.
At Elsey, I saw the graves of many of those I knew from the book, including that of Aeneas Gunn (shown below), who died far too young.
2 responses to “Elsey Station”
I must find and read both this book and your own.
Strangely, I just finished writing a bit about my admiration for all things Australian over at my blog. Thanks, by the way, for your earlier visit!
I hope you enjoy both books. And I hope you get to Australia eventually. It’s a fascinating place, and the people are really lovely.