Oratunga Cactus Cull – September 2017

Oratunga Cactus Cull (Flinders Ranges)

3 – 10 September 2017

Oratunga is a station property just north of Blinman owned by Gini Lee and Sky, the greyhound. 18 Volunteers attended this year. Six from the Overland Club; twelve of Ralph’s friends. This is a yearly event and we would like to see some more club member attend next year.

Sunday 3rd September
Left home 7:30 for the drive to Oratunga via Two Wells, Mallala, Balaklava, Blyth, Clare, Spalding, Jamestown, Orroroo, Hawker (fuel stop) and Blinman; arriving mid-afternoon at Oratunga. Most of the team arrived on the Saturday, with the Kemps arriving on Monday. Gini cooked us all tea at the Shearer’s Quarters on Sunday night.

Monday 4th September
We all gathered at the Shearer’s Quarters for the day’s instructions. We were split into 3 teams by Ralph and advised what equipment we needed for the day. Our team included Trevor (Team Leader), Barbara, Ralph, Robert Jones and Les. We travelled up Mt Samuel’s track to our designated GPS reference. Ralph remembered to put in his front hubs this year but Ray, who has a brand new Hilux, found some sharp rocks that fractured a tyre.

On day 1 we walked approx. 2.7 km and treated 120 cacti. As we have 2 GPS, this 120 only represents one side of our designated area. On the way back Les had trouble on the track, getting two wheels off the ground – one front, one back. With a slight pull from Ralph, we had all wheels back on the ground. Back to Oratunga for a hot shower.

Tuesday 5th September
Away from Oratunga by 9am with Bob K joining our team and Ralph moving to another team. Marcia stayed back at camp to help Gini. Up the Mt Samuel track again. 3.2 km walked today with us marking 65 Cacti.

Wednesday 6th September
A rest day for both the cacti and us, with Ralph leading us on a drive. As you can see from the map (left), our leader did miss the first turn off. But he said it was a test to see if we were awake! Seven vehicles went on the drive. with Gini joining us for part of the day. We travelled approx. 100 km, finishing off the day with a lovely meal at the Blinman Hotel.

Thursday 7th September
Another day up the Mt Samuel track. We walked another 2.7 km and treated another 40 plants. After dinner a number of us watched the Adelaide Crows football match.

Friday 8th September
Back again to Mt Samuel track; another 2.4 km walked with 105 cacti treated. As well as treating the Cacti with Glyphosate, one of our groups treated a number of plants with the cochineal bug. These bugs live on the moisture from the cactus wheel and dehydrate the plant. Friday night we all gathered at the shearer’s quarters where we had Doug entertain us with his songs and guitar; a very talented man.

Saturday 9th September
As a number of the team had gone home, we drove the Oratunga Creek, treating cacti when we found them;

 and we found some very, very big cacti! After dinner we watched the Power play – a few sad faces that night.

Sunday 10th September
We packed up and each headed our own way home. It was another productive week with approx. 2,000 plants treated; plus a number of plants treated with the cochineal bug.
Thanks again for the week Ralph. There is a lot of work that goes behind the scenes to make the week run smoothly. A big thanks to the friendly crew that attended.
Can we see more club members attend in 2018?

A ‘rope cactus’ – three found in creek
Well earned break
Oratunga Creek – south west point shown in our track log
Hard at work















One of the largest cacti found
Our GPS tracks