Straight west from Charters Towers to Mt Isa three lifelines stretch across the bleached yellow grasslands: the road, the railway and the power lines.
A few tiny townships cling to the highway along the route.
We reached Richmond before sundown and secured a spot in their nearly empty caravan park.
A white bougainvillea along the boundary caught my eye.
The caretaker told me that he and his wife had only been there a couple of weeks. He had been in financial management on the Gold Coast, he said, and had thrown it all in to manage this stark little plot in the middle of nowhere. I wondered if he had been a victim of the global meltdown, and also whether he was hiding from creditors. It seemed a pretty good place for that.
Richmond's pride and joy is their artificial lake which adjoined the caravan park.
Around 1991 the locals excavated a large chunk of dirt, reinforced the sides of the hole, and waited for the next flood along the nearby Flinders River. When it came, they siphoned floodwaters into their dry basin and, voila, a lake. The landscaping so far is minimal, but there's a path around the perimeter, a section cordoned off for swimming, and the rest is open to fishing, boating...and jet-skis!
On the shore of the lake is a wooden catholic church, its architecture paying homage to grander structures in grander cities.