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.
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.