In Central Australia, floods have brought new life to what's normally called the "dead centre".?
In Central Australia, floods have brought new life to what's normally called the "dead centre". The rain -- the heaviest in memory -- cut road and rail links, leaving much of the Northern Territory virtually cut off from the outside world for nearly three months.
At Finke -- a normally hot and barren little outpost 240 kilometers south of Alice Springs -- work gangs have begun opening the Territory's rail links with the south. Adelaide, capital of South Australia, is the main supply centre for Alice Springs but floods along the Finke River cut the railway line more than ten weeks ago. This left the centre dependent on airlifts for food and other essential supplies.
As cargo banked up at Finke and further south at the rail head, Alice Springs Town council imposed electricity rationing because of a shortage of fuel oil.
Now the worst is over. Work to??? threw a temporary railway line across the bed of the Finke River and supplies are flowing into "The Alice" once again.
There are still some problems. The temporary rail link won't hold the weight of a diesel ???ocomotive -- so gangs were forced to shunt the first train gingerly across the river bed the ??? where it would be taken in tow by a locomotive.
The floods proved a double-headache for Alice Springs, not only leaving it short of essential supplies but also closing roads to famous tourist spots. Tourism is now the town's biggest single industry and last month alone the Centre lost tourist trade worth $3-million ( Aust ). But that too is about to change. The heavy rains have transformed the barren, red landscape into a kaleidoscope of windflowers and new tree growth. The locals claim this is only seen in the Territory every 30 or 40 years.
Alice Springs politician, Mr Bernie Kilgariff, spoke in glowing terms about the Centre's transformation and pointed to a new rush of tourists.