On The QT

Aussie Adventure Day 18

Blogger: Pat Lynch

Day 18 – The Last of the Nomads July 19th

All up at 6.30 and we get a roaring fire going as there is plenty of timber in the area.  Cereals are running low and are now rationed. One needs to like Wheatabix at this stage. The sun rises to yet again another fantastic day. The camp site is cleared as if we were never there. We are on the road for 7.23. We continue the 2km drive on the so called path to the water well on the map. Even though the map shows a track it has practically completely eroded. David goes on top of Nick’s Nisson to see if he can spot the track. Progress is slow. We have to stop each time we loose the track and get out and look for it. It can be picked up by examining the ground to see stones pressed in. It is possible that it was 1977 since this track was last used when the search was on for the last 2 remaining Aboriginals who lived out here. We take our vehicles as far as we can. There are lots of creeks in the area and there is no need to get unnecessary punctures. We trek in the last 1km and do some exploring. Eventually we find the water hole that was mentioned in the book “the last of the Nomads”. We then find 3 stones that were in the photograph in the same book. I photographed the exact shot some 30 years later. Not much has changed in the area and possibly no living person has been here since then. The last 2 remaining Nomads were found 20km from here and were taken back into civilisation where they died 2 years later.

By 10.10 we are back to the vehicles and we head back 10km to the Seismic Line that we were on yesterday. We get back on the Seismic Line by 10.40 having made good progress. After a quick coffee and after all the vehicles are checked underneath for the removal of spinifex. We found we had a bush caught underneath and it was dragging for the last 2km. I drove after coffee. Our next destination is 54km away on the Seismic Line. It is overgrown in many areas but I can drive 20km p/h on some of it. The Discovery handles very well. I follow as the 2nd car. The lead car stops for a pee break and I take over as lead car. This carries more responsibility as I must pick the best path for myself but also for the others to follow. One has to avoid water washaways which are found on inclines or declines but most of the landscape out here is flat. Ant hills are hard to be avoided as they are like concrete pillars on the road. If you hit one you can do damage. I cannot take my eyes off the road for a second. On any incline, it is important to keep the vehicle rolling at all times as if you stop and try to take off suddenly you can break an axle.

We are now in the Gibson Desert, named after the first European who died out here exploring it. We are heading to the Dunbarel Highway, which in fact is not a highway but a dirt track. By the end of the day, we should be close to civilisation, if not today or tomorrow, as we have to start heading back to Perth. We stop for Rob to take a photo. About 1km later, we realise that Rob’s case of his camera is left and we go back 1km to find it. We are lucky it is where we expect it to be and we get back on track. The other 2 vehicles have moved on and they pull up for lunch and we quickly join them. It is now 1pm and we notice a slow puncture on our vehicle which we change and put 40 litres of diesel into our tank. All the diesel on top of the vehicle is now gone into the vehicles tank. Windows are cleaned as they get dirty when we hit trees. We are back on track at 2pm. It is straight and we now average 30km p/h in some spots.

At 3.05 we reach the Dunbarel Highway. We see an old abandoned oil well drilled over 9 weeks in late 82 which was drilled to 2010 meters which was found to be dry and abandoned. Nearby an old abandoned air strip with an old shed for staff for oil workers was found. The shed appears to be for parking cars to keep sunlight off them. We drive on. At 3.45 we have 500km to go on gravel road to hit Willumna, which will be sometime tomorrow later or the day after. We find airstrip which is about .75km long and it is made of gravel and not now used. It is firm to drive on it. I drive again until we reach our campsite at 4.30. We have punctures to fix and we need to do them in the daylight. Plenty of timber in the area and we light a great fire for the night.

More Outback adventures & Getting closer to civilisation


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