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In Pictures: Flinders Ranges, Australia

On the edge of the South Australian Outback, the mountains of the Flinders Ranges rise above plains, salt lakes and red sand dunes that are home to cattle stations, sheep farms and the elusive yellow-footed rock-wallaby.

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Ross and Jane Fargher and family run the Nilpena Station, as well as the Prairie Hotel, in the town of Parachilna. Their cattle compete with kangaroos and emus for feed, so the Farghers make a point of putting plenty of these indigenous animals on the menu. One boundary of Nilpena runs into the foothills of the Flinders Ranges, the other into the salt flats. 

 

Sheep were once allowed to graze throughout the Flinders Ranges; beyond the national park, Ian Fargher still keeps 1,000 sheep for wool. The woolshed at Angorichina Station was built in the 1850s from local pins, and it has been preserved by the protective properties of lanolin, a wax found in unwashed wool. 

 

Yellow-footed rock-wallabies differ from other large marsupials in their reluctance to leave their troup. Groups of several dozen will remain in valleys where the high cliffs and supply of food keep them safe. A troup on the edge of Brachina Gorge is signposted — and if you arrive early in the morning, a group of them are likely to be hiding in plain sight, just a few hundred metres away. Only when they hop between boulders do they reveal themselves, or when they cross the road in search of something green.

 

The muted colours of the Flinders Ranges are reflected in the wildlife. The mallee ringneck parrot — native to Australia — mimics the cool blues and greens of a distant range, with flecks of colour that invoke the yellow and reds of late spring flowers.

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