OUTBACK EDUCATION IN THE ‘NOT TOO DISTANT’ PAST. Warburton Ranges (WA) in 1970 (5)

The seasons of the year at Warburton, were seasons of contrast. Our geographic position meant that the community would have been better served by adherence to central standard time rather than western standard time. Summer and winter, the sun rose early and set early.

Summer temperatures ranged between lows averaging between 22 degrees (C) to 38 degrees (C). (1) In winter, the temperature range was between lows getting down to between 6 degrees (C) to 21 degrees (C). (2) Temperatures during shoulder months ranged between these extremes. Averaging does not tell the whole story because there were times when it was much hotter and much colder than recorded averages.

One of the interesting phenomena of winter months, when the atmosphere on the ground with dryers bones was a Vista of “black frost“ which covered large areas in the pre-dawn. There were some cattle troughs around Warburton that had been used for cattle in earlier times. Those drives were invariably frozen over, often for some hours during the dry and cold mid winter months.

Warburton‘s annual average rainfall was; however, there was a good deal of fluctuation in just how those faults occurred. In 1970 we had only 19 points of rain for the whole of the year. Just a few millimetres. I remember to this day, children running, frisking and playing on the strip of green lawn adjacent to the school in sheer delight as those points of moisture fell. From the heavens.

When we went back to Warburton in 1974, 75 there was a real deluge. Elder Creek burst its banks and the mission was flooded. Water drained away from central Australia including the Warburton area and finished up cutting channels all the way through to the great Australian bite. Warburton, which didn’t have a Skerritt of green anywhere around in 1970 became part of the hinterlandIn which there was wonderful growth and green everywhere. The vagaries of nature and the fact that things were unpredictable helped to make the community a place of unpredictability.

(1) December to February.

(2) May to July

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