Five generations of Henerys have called the tangerine mountains and pebbled gorges of the Flinders Ranges home on Alpana station.

Story + Photos Andrew Hull

The gleaming white reflected radiance that is the salty parchment of Lake Torrens is a shimmering mirage in the rear-view mirror as the short drive from Parachilna probes east into the tangerine serrations of the Flinders Rangers, glowing like lava in the afternoon sun. Entry into this steep-walled compound of hills is via the winding and wending,

gum-lined and pebble-bedded Parachilna Gorge, which twists and tumbles through the centre of Alpana station as the gravel road traverses and crisscrosses its way to the township of Blinman, SA.

“I came in off the bus from Parachilna on the western edge of the ranges when I was 17 and I was thinking, ‘What have I done?’” reflects Sally Henery at the kitchen table of Alpana. “The family I was to governess for picked me up at Parachilna and drove me in to their property, Gum Creek, through the Parachilna Gorge and even though I was seeing it all for the first time, I honestly thought to myself, ‘This is home’. It’s felt like that ever since.”

That was 40 years ago, which – in outback terms – should nearly qualify Sally as a local. Her husband, John David (known as David) meets local criteria, being the fifth generation of Henerys at Alpana, which the family has owned, managed, expanded and adapted since Paddy Henery took on the block in 1878.

This story excerpt is from Issue #154

Outback Magazine: April/May 2024