Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Breakaways

In her book "Oyster", Janet Turner Hospital, talks about breakaway country as deviant land forms that are headstrong and rebellious. As I read this, I had to wonder if it is possible that author/director Stephan Elliot also held a similar definition for this type of landform. If so, is that why he chose to have the Breakaways Reserve play such an important role in his movie The Adventures of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert? After all, Hospital's descriptive and poetic words--deviant, headstrong, rebellious--are a perfect definition for the main characters in the story.

We rented Pricilla just before our trip to Coober Pedy. Even though the movie did showcase the Breakaways, I felt the Oscar winning costumes took away from the landscape, and it did not prepare me for what I would see when we arrived at the Reserve.

The Breakaways, which were once part of the Stuart Range, are located about 30 kilometers to the north of the Opal Capital of the World. From the vast flat plain of the long-ago sea bottom rises a series of multi-colored hills, mesas and plateaus. The surrounding flat, wide-open space and the bright blue sky accents the stunning colors of the earth: red, yellow, white, grey, orange, brown and black. The contrast of the bright colors with the bleakness of the surrounding landscape is not an image I will soon forget.

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