Spags - local colour at Gascoyne Junction
Back in 2010 the tiny community of Gascoyne Junction, barely more than a dot on the map, was all but destroyed by floods. Travelling through a few months later we free camped just out of town (there was no longer anywhere official to camp) and the debris from the floods was evident everywhere we looked. Right next to our camp, several feet from the ground, was a washing machine in a gum tree.
The hub of the Shire of Upper Gascoyne slowly recovered. Still a blink and you’ll miss it kind of a place, the town has a population of 149, the Shire Offices and Community Resource Centre, and the new caravan park which multi-tasks as the fuel stop, pub, cafe and convenience store.
We called into the CRC as soon as we reached The Junction, to see if they could suggest a great local character to perhaps photograph.
Spags! Go over the bridge, you can’t miss his house…it’s got a boat on the roof.
At 72, Spags has the physique and demeanour of a man who has spent most of his life in the great outdoors, and the temperament of a someone without a care in the world, who is living his life just as he wants to. He’s worked all his life crayfishing out at the Abrolhos Islands, 80km off the coast of Geraldton. When he returns to the mainland, he heads 8 hours north east to his home at Gascoyne Junction.
“Geraldton’s far too big. I hate cities,” he told us. “I’ve not been to Perth since 2010…started feeling anxious when I reached Gingin.” (Still a good hour or so north of the city.)
His home feels more like a beach shack than a house almost 200km from the coast, and is a fine example of necessity being the mother of invention, quirky inside and out. And that boat on the roof indicates the flood water level from an earlier flood in 1980.
“Did you notice that the tables don’t have legs and everything’s up off the ground?” he asked. “It’s so snakes can’t climb up.”
I presumed there must be a lot of snakes around then.
“Nah…never seen one here.”