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Let me tell you about Bon Bon

Published 13 Jul 2022 by Karen Lawrence

Not the Bon Bon where great science is done, or the Bon Bon where managers and field officers work tirelessly to help repair and maintain ecosystems, but the Bon Bon whose heart beats with the rhythm of the plants and the animals who live here. The Bon Bon whose voice calls out to her native people and the Bon Bon I am privileged enough to call home.

My husband, Wayne, and I have been at Bon Bon for 8 short months. I say short because it has not given her enough time to trust us completely with her secrets, not enough time to know how she works and what she wants from us, but enough time to feel her gratitude as Bush Heritage works to restore her to all she can be.

As you approach her from the Stuart Hwy you pass the signs and the grid that say you are now entering Bon Bon station. You come to a rise, where she stretches out in front of you.

Her colours range from deep red, to green and blue as the vegetation spreads as far as you can see.

The road continues until the Mt Eba signs guides you off the road onto the dirt. Again, you see the changing landscape as red sand, blue bush and Mulga speed past your windscreen.

When you arrive at the gates, the homestead appears before you, its runcible buildings centred around a common courtyard. An eclectic mix of building eras, bush ingenuity and modern progress as turn of the century building are powered by 21st century solar panels.

Seasons change as summer dust storms and scorched desert earth break into flooding rains that make Bon Bon spring into life.

Seeds erupt into new bushes and shrubs creating green carpets and swamps and waterways invite visiting water birds. Sturt's Desert Pea creeps its way across tracks and paths, the cheery flower heads waiting for your admiration.

In winter the temperature drops to below zero and the morning sun evaporates the dew on the ground, shrouding her in mist before the sun dries the air, leaving droplets of water falling from the tin rooves and the leaves.

The days at Bon Bon start with filtering light passing through the Mulga, creating rays across the sand. The sun slowly rises lighting up my kitchen and illuminating the steam from my cup of tea. The Chiming Wedgebill calls out to let me know that he, too, is here and ready to start the day.

Working in the field Bon Bon slowly reveals her treasures to me as I drive the Hilux through some of the most beautiful and varied country on earth. Freshwater lakes, stands of tea trees and plains of gibber peek from the next corner as the track winds its way through the landscape.

Kangaroos look at you with a sense of intrusion and Budgerigars, Cockatiels and White Browed Babblers flick in and out of vision.

At the end of the day the sun does its magic again and long shadows and golden hues cover the land and make a mockery of any photo you try to take.

You need to stop and inhale the silence, each breath taking you further into a resting heartbeat and your muscles relax and your blood pressure comes down. What accessible magic is this that eludes so many?

By the time I reach my friendly cottage the sky is stained red and the Wedegbill again heralds time for rest.

Good night Bon Bon. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

The gates to Bon Bon Station Reserve. The gates to Bon Bon Station Reserve.
A misty winter's morning. A misty winter's morning.
The landscape colours grab your attention travelling down Orwells track. The landscape colours grab your attention travelling down Orwells track.
Storm clouds gather. Storm clouds gather.
Sturt's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa). Sturt's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa).
An amazing sunset at the end of the day. An amazing sunset at the end of the day.
The last light over the track. The last light over the track.
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