Oodnadatta's original water-supply rediscovered

With water quality from the town bore declining for some years, some local people have looked back to how people survived in days before the bore was drilled. While out walking in 2013, Ardugula members, Edna Stewart and Kaye Finn found the stump of Ankerr Nyent[a] (One Box-tree) and the remains of an old oil drum used as a casing for the soakage. Ankerr Nyent supplied water to the Lower Southern Aranda camps situated between the soakage and Arrkwety Akapert (Akutja Kapirta or Mt. O’Halloran). Located 2km from the current township, the box tree is thought to have died in the late 1960s and as people moved closer to town, the old soakage fell into disuse and became largely forgotten.

Volunteers from Ardugula Aboriginal Corporation, an organisation focusing on cultural education in the Macumba and related regions, have just dug at the site of the remaining casing and found good water at the native well. Members have suggested it become a memorial, perhaps with a new porous casing and secure lid to mark this heritage site. It is one of a number of largely forgotten resources which could be reclaimed around Oodnadatta and perhaps included in a walking trail for visitors. Ardugula proposes to open discussions with other organisations and state bodies about employment creation and support for the rehabilitation project.

The water at Ankerr Nyent, Oodnadatta.