Spalding, the setting for Purple Roads really exists!


Two of the main towns mentioned in Purple Roads, is Spalding and Clare.

Last week I was lucky enough to be back in South Australia to promote Purple Roads. I had an event in Clare but I also drove through Spalding. I went to the parking bay I had Matt frequenting and I drove a lot of the roads Matt would have driven when he was driving the truck.

I think the first thing that struck me was how good the roads are in most spots of SA. Our roads in WA tend to be bouncy, have lots of pot holes and generally it’s not a smooth ride. I was really impressed with the SA roads!

Now this photo is taken about 20kms from Spalding on the northern side and this is where I had Matt and Anna living.

Where I envisioned Matt and Anna's farm 'Manna'

This empty shop used to be a corner store – a million years ago, when I was a kid. I thought it would have been a great store for Maggie to own…

Where I thought Maggie's shop should be


but apparently (according to the Spalding lay out!) This is her shop! And you can see the pub a bit further down the road.

The Spalding corner store and pub


I also chucked a lefty and drove across the Broughton River and spent five minutes where Matt would have been hanging out in the parking bay. I was a bit intrigued when I saw this sad look silo down the bottom of the river. Mum tells me there has been heaps of high winds and it probably blew down there!

a silo at the bottom of Broughton River

But as you can see from the photos, this is the place that would’ve given Matt the peace and quiet he craved.

The Broughton River

While I was in Clare, I took some photos of the Clare Race Track. As people who have read Purple Roads will know, there is quite an important scene at this spot.

Unsure whether I was allowed onto the grounds, I decided to stay at the entrance and take the photos. Trouble was I couldn’t see the track because of the grape vines… Being a farmer, I can fix most problems with baling twine and wire, but I didn’t have any with me, to make a ladder! Next best thing, I stood on the car bonnet, in my skirt and high heels I’d worn for the Clare event. Keep in mind this is on the main road heading north. If you are reading this and tooted a strange woman, who was wielding a camera and standing on the bonnet of a grey car, you now know it was me and what I was doing and why!

The Clare Race track features in Purple Roads by Fleur McDonald

The Clare Race Track in SA

Comments 2

  1. I just finished Purple Roads.I must say I enjoyed it very much.I am a farmers wife and I also lived in a very small town in NSW when I was growing up.I can relate to the story and places as if they were real. I shall look forward to the next book . Thanks Tanya.

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