Murphy’s Haystacks are large granite rocks protruding from a field that shine golden in the afternoon sun. They were made famous by the children’s book, Are We There Yet. The rocks are just off Flinders Highway on the west coast of the Eyre Peninsula. After a day of exploring, including the impressive Woolshed (ocean) Cave, we landed up at Murphy’s, which is just a parking area on a private sheep farm. The farmer humbly requests $2 per person/$5 per family to visit the boulders—inselbergs, millions of years old.
We decided to camp there for the night and Lee set up the tent while the girls clambered over the rocks, an odd beautiful sight in the middle of fields. The girls had the rocks to themselves, though a few grey nomads in caravans parked overnight along with us. I said to Lee, “If this were America, they’d put up a big fence, possibly a theme park, and charge a hundred dollars to take tours.”
As I was cooking dinner, the farmer himself came by, bucket and toilet brush in hand, to do his nightly clean of the loo. He introduced himself and explained we was a Cash—like Johnny—he smiled. His uncle was Murphy, but didn’t have children so Farmer Cash inherited the rocks. He was an amiable man, who’d grown up in the area, never moved and raised ten kids on the farm with his wife. One of his sons made it big in San Francisco. “His wife’s American,” the farmer told me, “and she’d like me to do something here, but,” and he shook his head and looked at me. “That would ruin the tranquility.” He smiled. And then he went off to clean the toilets.
That night we watched the sun set over the rocks and after the kids went to bed, Lee and I sat up looking for shooting stars.