Beckler's Botanical Bounty Travels

Mutawintji National Park

I have just come back to Menindee after spending a few days in Mutawintji National Park. It is a couple of hours north east of Broken Hill.

Have you ever seen the movie “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”? It was filmed in Broken Hill. So if you have seen it you can visualise the landscape we were travelling through. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do, as it is a fabulous film!

We were following in the footsteps of Burke and Wills. Our guide was Garry, a member of the Burke and Wills Society who had been this way a few years ago. He was so knowledgeable about the area, even arranging for us to go onto private land to see where some of the paintings from the expedition were painted.

I have mentioned that I am up here, with other botanic artists to paint the plants collected by Hermann Beckler on the Expedition. The naturalist and artist on the Expedition was Ludwig Becker (similar name, but without the ‘l’). He was a very talented artist, producing some gems on the journey. Unfortunately he was one of the men who died during the trip.

The photo shows a copy of Becker’s landscape with the original view. It gives a good idea of the terrain. Difficult enough to travel through in a car — imagine how much more difficult on foot leading camels and horses.

Beckler also produced sketches on the journey, although not as good as Becker’s. I can just see them both sitting on the banks of the Darling River sketching and painting this scene. The first photo is Becker’s watercolour and the second Beckler’s sketch.


They headed to Mutawintji because they knew that it was a permanent water source. ‘Permanent water source’ in that environment often simply means a pool of water. There was certainly no flowing water in either the Homestead Creek or the Mutawintji Gorge when we camped there, although there were a couple of waterholes in the latter.


The National Park is the tribal area of the Malyankapa and Paadjikali People and there are many examples of their rock art. People have been gathering at this oasis for thousands of years for celebrations and ceremonies. The gatherings still go on today. In September 1998 the Mutawintji National Park was handed back to its traditional owners.

After the peace and isolation of Mutawintji I have come back to the Big Smoke of Menindee– and to the lovely hot showers in the caravan park!

(Hope this post works okay — it is difficult to preview. Fingers crossed!)

23 replies on “Mutawintji National Park”

Ah good, my secret plan has worked — to get everyone out of the big cities and into this amazing country! I know this is something you are longing to do, and will get to do it too!


I’ve only been to Broken Hill once, back when I was about 22, but I still remember it. The Boyfriend-of-the-Day had family friends in the area so we stayed with them. They’d obvious gone to quite a bit of trouble for us guests, yet by the end of the evening the fine red dust was back. It seemed to get into everything. Beautiful colour though. I guess it would be iron oxide in some form?

Anyway, fantastic pictures of an amazing place. But you wouldn’t get me away from the caravan park! Or the Shower. Or Toilet. πŸ˜€


I surprised myself by being able to not have a shower for a few days. Usually I am an “I can’t leave the house without a shower” girl. It didn’t matter up there, I suppose because we were all grubby. The hot shower I eventually had in Menindee was pretty awesome!


Reblogged this on Meeka's Mind and commented:
If you’ve ever wanted to see photos of Australia off-the-beaten-track then you’ll find some lovely ones in Anne Lawson’s post. You’ve also discover some interesting history about the place and botanical drawing. Win/win!


It is beautiful, but of course can be very harsh. We were so lucky to be cruising through in air-conditioned 4 wheel drive cars, rather than on foot, leading camels like the members of the Burke and Wills Expedition had to do. The sunsets are glorious.


Hi Anne, thank you soo much for inspiring us more than we already were to visit this special area. We are heading to Mutawintji late June weather permitting, hubby and I just love travelling the road less travelled. glad I stumbled across your post. Cheers Mal & Sandra


Oh, how wonderful! It’s a beautiful and interesting area — lots of good walks too. However, there was an icy wind when we were there in September. I hope you have lovely sunny days, but some winter woollies might be handy. And the wind didn’t blow the flies away. They were a real pest, so make sure you have a fly net! Any chance of going further south too? Kinchega National Park is stunning and there are free camping spots on the banks of the Darling. Enjoy!


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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