THE fridges are chugging slowly and the eggs are sizzling on the roadside in Oodnadatta. As Sydney sweltered through 43 degree heat on Tuesday, Australia's hottest town broke a record of its own with a seventh consecutive day above 45 degrees.
The remote South Australian town hit 47 degrees on Tuesday, a slight reprieve from 47.8 degrees on Sunday and 47.5 degrees on Monday.
Lynnie Plate, owner of the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta, said the town's freezers and fridges were struggling to keep up and almost every house had at least one airconditioner humming.
Sizzler ... Alice Plate cooks an egg on the road. Photo: Anna Daniels
She had a gaggle of backpackers lying in the aisles of her air-conditioned supermarket and her daughter, Alice, earlier fried an egg on the side of the road.
''When I walk outside my office into the warehouse, it's like walking into a wall of fire. I usually walk around barefoot but the cement floor is just radiating heat today,'' she said.
About twice a year, the electricity completely melts down in town and it can take 24 hours for a repairman to hurtle down the unsealed Oodnadatta Track to fix it. ''I don't even want to think about that,'' Mrs Plate, 59, said. ''In this sort of weather, it would be life and death.''
Few of the town's 180 residents were out in the middle of the day on Tuesday.
Many woke at 4am to do a few hours' work and then re-emerged at dusk to check on livestock, run into town and replenish supplies.
Luckily, a ''cool change'' is coming in the form of a 42 degree day on Wednesday.