An outback Anzac: Marree, South Australia

By AG STAFF 25 April 2022
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Photographer Dean Sewell joined the Anzac dawn service in Marree, a tiny outback town on the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia.

Some thirty residents and locals gathered in the pre-dawn for a solemn Anzac Day service in Marree’s town centre to commemorate the fallen in the “mighty scrap heap of souls” according to the National Anzac Day broadcast that was played through a tiny portable radio to the gathered patrons.

Photo: Dean Sewell/Oculi

Kevin and Carmel Welch (below) of Brisbane travelled to Marree to take a flight over Lake Eyre. They are seen standing in front of an ex-army Blitz wagon on display in the town’s centre.

Photo: Dean Sewell/Oculi

The historic watering hole and railway town sits on the edge of the vast desert area of Central Australia. To the north lie the Simpson Desert and Sturt’s Stony Desert and to the north-east is the Strzelecki Desert. The vast saltpan, Lake Eyre, lies to the northwest. Marree is a true desert settlement.

Dean Sewell/Oculi

Marree sits at the junction of the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks, 589km north of Adelaide.

Photo: Dean Sewell/Oculi

Kevin Welch (above) wears his own service medals as well as that of his great grandfather who fought in the artillery brigades on the Somme and other frontline positions in WWI. He holds his great grandfather’s whistle, which was used to signal going “over the top” of trenches in combat.