Two Visits to Ludwig Beckers Grave
Becker's Grave on the Bulloo River
Ludwig Beckers grave is at the other end of Koorliatto Waterhole, about 3 km from where the new stock yards were being built. We took a day off yard building to visit the site.
We first had to cross the flooded river in a small rowing boat which had been lent to Kevin the yard builder. From there it was about a two hour winding walk along the banks of the beautiful tree lined waterhole.
In contrast, the surrounding country was flat and bare. There was not a tree or blade of grass for miles in any direction and the whole place had been swept clean by the flood waters.
I noticed thousands of small square stones dotted the area and picked up a few for souvenirs. It was only when I returned home and did some research that I discovered they were probably Tektites, the result of a meteorite shower thousands of years before. Tektites, the Australian Meteorite, are found in a variety of geometrical shapes and are highly sought after by collectors.
We eventually reached Ludwig Beckers Grave and gained an insight into how the explorers must have felt as the gazed across the vast expanse of nothingness waiting for their leader to return.
The lonely men would have seen the faint outline of the Grey Range in the distance through the heat haze, but not a tree or a rock to break their view. I left the site with a new found awe and admiration for the strength of character and the resilience of Australia’s early explorers.
On Sunday’s at the camp, Kevin and his offsider Ewin, usually threw their washing into the concrete mixer with a bit of detergent to clean them. This had already been done for them during the week so it was decided to spend Sunday fishing.
On the way to the deepest part of the Waterhole at Ludwig Beckers Grave we set a couple of rabbit traps. We then visited the gravesite again with Kevin and Ewin this time. The aluminium boat was on the back of Kevin’s Toyota so this was used to cross the river and for fishing.
What a great day! The weather was perfect, the fish were biting and birds were busy everywhere.
Being a real bushman, Kevin loved his birds. Except the crows! If a crow came anywhere near us while we were eating or sitting down, Kevin would jump up and chase it away, throwing anything he could lay his hands on.
He explained the reason to me while we were fishing.
Some years before Kevin and a mate were “doing a perish” as he put it. They were trapped by flood waters between two creeks for days and had run out of food. They had already caught and eaten a lizard but Kevin didn’t enjoy it much and decided they needed to look for help.
He remembered passing a windmill and stock troughs some miles before they had become trapped. Kevin thought if he could reach the windmill he would catch up with a ringer or stockman doing a “bore run” (checking stock watering points).
Kevin waded off through the mud and water and by midday he was worn out. He decided to rest under a big gum tree and was just nodding off to sleep when a small stick hit him on the head. This happened twice more and Kevin was convinced this was not just the tree shedding dead foliage.
He pretended to sleep again but this time he peeped through a hole in his hat up into the tree. To his amazement he watched as a crow flew silently onto a branch above him with a stick in his mouth. When it thought Kevin wasn’t watching it dropped the stick onto him, no doubt hoping Kevin wouldn’t move thus proving that he was really dead and it was safe for the crow to start eating him.
His story seemed eerily suitable after our visit to Ludwig Becker's Grave.
I started watching crows a bit differently as well after hearing that story.
At the end of a long day we all headed back to our homestead camp, put the rabbits in the fridge and feasted on fresh Black Bream for tea.
Looking out over nothing towards the Grey Range
We left Ludwig Beckers Grave for Tibooburra
Ludwig Becker's grave is one of many Lonely Graves in the Outback
Bulloo Downs is part of the Corner Country