Bourke is not the rip-roaring town that it was but it has charm, and ghosts of the past haunt the cemetery. There are a large number of colourful Aboriginal graves, Fred Hollows, the renowned ophthalmologist, was buried there in 1993. There are graves of early Afghan camel drivers who were instrumental in opening up the interior to white settlers. There are the graves of seven Catholic nuns, buried all in a row. People are separated in death, Catholics, C of E, Muslims, Chinese, and so on, just to make sure they go to the right place. People died of disease, the heat — even old age.
This is a country of red soil, giant red gums along the rivers, stringy mulga trees, ‘roos, feral goats, emus and eagles, and more feral goats, eating the heart out of the land.
And, to answer the question, “Where the f – – k is Louth?” it is one hundred km south west of Bourke, which is where we went next. (Includes pix by Robyn Debney and Pete Rayner).