What Pegman Saw: Loxton Crook

The site was out on Karoonda Highway. On one side, the green swathe of Murray Barrandura’s vineyard, on the other a dusty khaki patchwork of Bush.

Two vehicles blocked the junction for Kingston Road – one I recognised as Murray’s faded blue ute. The other was Lachy Tuner’s Hilux.

‘Murray, Lachlan.’ I slammed the car door and came to stand beside them.

‘Rum thing,’ said Murray, scratching his thinning curls. ‘Not seen since Grandfather’s time.’

‘1930, the last one,’ said Lachy.

‘Did you see the flash?’ I said. ‘Lit up the sky like fireworks. Lucky it didn’t hit closer to town.’ The meteorite was the size of my fist, the surface like pumice flecked with chips of silica. ‘Made quite a hole.’

‘People got crook then.’ Murray sucked at his cheeks.

‘In 1930? That was flu. Meteorites don’t cause flu epidemics,’ scoffed Lachy.

Murray’s gaze drifted towards town, to the cluster of twinkling streetlights.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week, we are in Loxton, South Australia.

Notes

Back in 1930, a meteor shattered in the sky above Karoonda. The pieces weighed a total of 92 lbs.

Many Aboriginal cultures see meteors as harbingers, warnings of coming death or signs of evil spirits coming to suck water from the land. Read more here.

In Australian slang, crook means ill, likely to die.

21 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: Loxton Crook

    1. Ah, thanks so much Penny. I liked the idea of those men, standing in a circle around something possibly momentous, but as you say, being very taciturn. Thanks so much for the kind words

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    1. Ha! Only a matter of time. That footage from Russia a few years ago was pretty terrifying in itself, though edifying for special effects people I guess – it looked so much like a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster!

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      1. Apparently, now there’s enough satelites, and the space station, they’re able to get a better idea of how many enter Earth’s atmosphere. I don’t remember the figure. Most distintergrate or explode long before they reach land. Many land in the sea. But that number given was in the upper 3 digits. And we blythely go on with our lives, for what else can we do? It used to be thought, given warning we could nuke. Nope. They reform and continue along their way. A gentle nudge would be more effective. But there’s reports all the time of hits that the satelites didn’t even see until, whoosh. But, hey, how long have we lived on this planet?
        The main culprit is the remains of a meteor they’d named Encke. It was a biggy. but now it’s breaking into smaller and smaller pieces. And smaller is more.

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  1. Interesting bit of history, and great portrayal of the understated characters. That must have been quite a thing to see, if you’d been looking at the sky at the right time. But I doubt your insurance would cover the damage if it landed on your property! I can see why people would interpret such an event as a harbinger of doom.

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    1. Thanks so much, Joy. You’re right about meteors being seen as signs of the momentous. On the Bayeux Tapestry there’s a depiction of Halley’s comet that appeared close to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and was seen as a sign something momentous was to happen in England. Must have been an impressive sight. Myself, I’m hoping for Betelgeuse to go supernova in my lifetime – it will shine as brightly as a second Sun in the sky. Imagine that. Amazing 🙂

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    1. Ah, thanks so much Kelvin. I liked the idea of them all standing round, just staring at it, wondering what to do. A quiet start to something that could become bigger. Thanks so much for reading

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