Saturday, 26 April 2014

Crossing The Simpson Desert - Part 3

Day 8 (16 Aug)

The wind blew a gale during the night and three Dingoes serenaded us at different times so we did not get much sleep. Up early and first stop was just 12 Km at the ruins of the Dalhousie Homestead which is amongst date palms with a small spring. The Homestead was builtin 1872, but was abandoned early in the 20th Century, looking around at the landscape which is just desert for miles in every direction i can understand why it was deserted and left to ruin. 

We continued to Mt Dare Hotel to re-fuel then headed North on the BinnsTrack to Old Andado Station, travelling parallel to the Finke river we encountered the worst bulldust I have ever seen,  just after the Finke River crossing (never saw a river) Grunter had a slight problem and had to be snatched. Once we had him out we found the reason The centre securing posts for his bash plates had sheared off and the back plate now covered bolts. Time for the “bush doctor” we dug a hole reversed the Tcan to its edge then dug long holes behind the front wheels, when the Tcan reversed further it dropped into the wheel holes and the bash plate came into contact with the edge of the original hole, reversing further bent the plate forward so we could remove the bolts.

Once we had removed the bash plates we continued to the old Andado Homestead for our night stop. Old Andado Homestead is seen as the only remaining Homestead of its kind in Australia. It is a poignant reminder of how life was without modern amenities such as mains electricity, hot water systems, mains water, the telephone and glass windows in some cases! For many that come through Old Andado it is an ‘eye opener’ and they find it staggering that someone could live there for over 50 years, for others it reminds them of their grandmother’s homes. It is a real testament to its rigid framework construction that it still standing today!

Molly Clark the pioneer of Old Andado Station passed away in late 2012 and passed her legacy onto her 5 Grandchildren.  In 2013 the Old Andado Charitable Trust was formed with the goal of maintaining, restoring and bringing to life this amazing place and piece of Australia’s history.

For more information

Day 9 (17 Aug)

An early departure the next morning for the Lamberts Centre of Australia via New Crown and Finke (Apatula)

Extract from the Australian Gov. Web. site:

In 1988 the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia determined, as a Bicentennial project, the geographical centre of Australia. A monument was erected to mark the location and named in honour of Dr. Bruce P Lambert, a former Director of the Division of National Mapping, for his achievements in the national survey, levelling and mapping of the continent. Similar to the centre of gravity method, the location was calculated from 24 500 points at the high water mark of Australia's coastline.

In the 1930s when Dr C.T. Madigan travelled through Central Australia he calculated the centre of gravity by using a metal cut-out of Australia with a plumb bob and string. His crude measurement was surprisingly accurate as he selected a point less than 11 kilometres due west of this present position.

The computed result of the 1988 project was:

25° 36' 36.4" South, 134° 21' 17.3" East; position on SG53-06 Finke 1:250 000 and 5746 Beddome 1:100 000 scale maps.

We discovered a second marker about a 50 meters East however all our GPS’s showed the actual position to be some 600 meters West so we blazed a trail and planted our own marker.

From here it was back to New Crown turning South for Oodendatta via the Abminga ruins for lunch.

Next stop was Oodendatta and the Pink Roadhouse for one of their hamburgers and we just made it before closing time, having done 476 Km.

Day 10 (18 Aug)

After breakfast it was down the track to Coober Pedy, about half way there Grunter cam on the radio to say that ‘wee Grunter’ had left his blanket at Oodendatta so we did a did a U turn and went back to collect it arriving in Coober Pedy at lunch time. As Dozer and I had been here before we visited the Breakaways – just outside town while the others visited the Old Timers Mine etc.

We spent the night at the underground camp site about 1 Km down the William Creek Road. Some did not bother to put the tent up.

Day 11 (19 Aug)

After a latish breakfast it was down the Stuart Highway to Pimba and headed for Roxby Downs then to Andamooka

It was onto the Mulgaria Track at a cost of $25 per vehicle! Unfortunately we did not find the fish fossil on the Northern edge of Lake Torrens and did not have the time to look as it was late afternoon and our destination was Farina.

We passed the homestead at 6:24PM so the next 81Km was in the dark; I think it was on this stretch where I damaged my fuel tank. I was in the lead doing about 70Km and did not see a wash away in a slight bend and got air-born landing on the side of the road, everything seemed ok but I was to find out the next day that I had a fuel tank leak. We stayed the night at the Copley Caravan Park, one of the best I have stayed at after doing 707Km arriving at 9 PM.

Day 12 & 13 (20 & 21 Aug)

Dozer and Turtle decided to drive home in one day and so departed at 6AM for the 15 odd hour journey home.

Grunter and I decided to do it in two days so headed for Tailem Bend for the night stop we stopped at Redhill for fuel, as usual I filled until I could see the diesel at the brim. On my return after paying I noticed a large pool of fuel under the Tcan and more dripping from the tank, we had a look under but could not see where it was coming from. I decided to drive for Adelaide and noticed that there was no large movement of the tank needle so after a 100Km we stopped and had a look the leak had stopped, I estimate that I lost about 5Lt so decided to continue, and not fill the tank.

We arrived home at 4Pm on the 21st Aug after a fantastic trip, feeling a bit sad after such a great time but also pleased to be with our loved ones again.

Some statistics
Distance on spedo 5,533KM,
Diesel 805 Lt
Cost $1,140.00
Average 14.56 L/H
Worst 26.85 L/H (Simpson Crossing)
Most expensive $1.85 /L at Mt Dare
Simpson dunes crossed 1043

The final count is
Shredded tyre
Gas tank

CB Antenna
Shovel holder
Bash plates

Wheel/fuel carrier
Rear snatch point ripped out

Wheel carrier
Fuel tank

Until next time ....................... Love what you have

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