Overworked in Kings Canyon

Farewell to Lost City

[Extract from Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981]

We’d spent the night camping in the Lost City, Kings Canyon; prohibited now, perhaps then, too, but Dad being Dad, and the 1980’s being the 1980’s, somehow, we got away with it…]

[Photo 1: Kings Canyon vista © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

We dragged our weary bodies back to where we camped the previous night. After such a generous lunch, my legs ached, and lugging the heavy load of a backpack, all I wanted to do was sleep.

[Photo 2: Billabong (Richard’s Waterhole) in Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

I used my willpower to put one foot in front of the other. The track back to that camp seemed to take an eternity.

[Photo 3: Fortunately, C2 had swum before lunch © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

Once we reached the site, we packed the hidden items in a couple of packs and embarked on our return to base camp.

[Photo 4: Memories of places discovered–left behind; just memories. Window into Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

The last leg of our Canyon adventure was underway, and with renewed zest, most of the party scampered ahead, leaving me to struggle at the end of the line. Only my brother, Richard stayed behind to keep me company.

[Photo 5: On the top—Kings Canyon plateau © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

We plodded in silence through the tangle of tunnels, our hearts bidding the paradise of the “Lost City” farewell.

[Photo 6: Farewell to the Lost City © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

When we arrived at the lookout, the sun casting tangerine rays over the cliffs and reddening the roofs of the sandstone city behind us, Dad assembled the party in front of the mounds’ red tips and photographed us; the return of the triumphant.

[Photo 7: The Return of the Triumphant © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

The sun set and the blue-pink tones of twilight guided our steps. Still, before we reached the Rover, we had enough light to obtain water, and collect wood for the fire.

[Photo 8: Sunset on Kings Canyon © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

‘I hope our trailer and stuff was alright,’ Dad said and picked up his pace as if the last few vital seconds would save his belongings from being stolen.

‘Could be all gone, Uncle,’ my older cousin, C1 joked. ‘Then what?’

‘We’ll have to hitch a ride to Alice Springs,’ younger cousin, C2 said.

TR, our family friend limped along the path looking like the walking dead. ‘I’m not walking any further, that’s for sure,’

My brother snorted, ‘We’ll put you on the bus with the tourists,’

‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ Dad said. ‘The Lord will’ve looked after our stuff.’

[Photo 9: All safe and snug back at camp © C.D. Trudinger 1986]

And the Lord did keep our Rover, trailer and all our possessions safe. There they sat in the clearing untouched.

‘Praise the Lord!’ Dad sang as he completed inspecting our belongings. ‘It’s all here.’ He lifted a corner of the tarpaulin, leant forward, screwed up his nose and sniffed, then put down the cover.

‘Well, TR we don’t have to put you on with a bus load of tourists after all,’ C1 joked.

‘No.’ TR sank down to the sand and sat cross-legged. ‘What a pity.’ I reckon the seed of thought to leave us had been planted and was already growing in TR’s exhausted mind.


But in my Dad’s and my brother’s mind, seed had been planted for further visits to the Lost City in Kings Canyon. So much more to explore; a challenge to find the edge to fulfil…

The following photos scanned from slides are some of the secrets they discovered when they explored the Lost City in later years.

[Photo 10: Men on the edge of Kings Canyon © C.D. Trudinger 1988]

[Photo 11: Ghost gum amongst the “beehives” © C.D. Trudinger 1988]

[Photo 12: The obligatory waterhole of reflection © C.D. Trudinger 1988]

[Photo 13: Obligatory swim in waterhole © C.D. Trudinger 1988]

[Photo 14: Kings Canyon from the other side it would seem © C.D. Trudinger 1988]

[Photo 15: Day’s end back at camp outside Kings Canyon (I presume) © C.D. Trudinger 1988]  

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; updated 2019

Feature Photo: The Lost City Vista © C.D. Trudinger 1981


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Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

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