Cashbook and Claypan
Birdsville or Bust
East From Oodna
Alive in the Dead Heart
B-line for Birdsville
Shooting Up the Simpson
CGG Seismic Survey Party S6507
Juggies Moved in After Drillers and Shooters
The recording traces carried impulses back from geophones (jugs) laid by the juggies. The jugs were each joined up to the charges and in turn linked through the trace lines to the laboratory (labo) or recording truck, which acted as the control centre. The labo communicated with the shooting trucks and its attendant LandRovers per medium of lowband VHF two-way radio sets installed in each of the vehicles to help coordinate the shoot.
Staying in Touch with Lifesavers
The First-Aid post in the camp office, although in daily contact with one or two distant RFDS bases by more powerful SSB radio, could only be expected to prepare injured persons for evacuation. Not all aircraft pilots could manage landing and take-off on desert claypans so the first course of action usually meant evacuating victims to the main centres like Alice Springs and Birdsville on the back of a LandRover, a two-day prospect from the centre of the Simpson.
WHOOMMM! Just Missed!
The French were chosen for the Simpson Desert job by PM Menzies on the strength of their performance in the Sahara Desert. They were acknowledged as the pioneers of refraction (surface) shooting, at a time when all the world relied on reflection results. Experience in the Simpson allowed the French to further refine their techniques as CGG began combining refraction with reflection. In tough conditions, they learned to cut their costs to one sixth of that of the Sahara work.
Shooter John Thompson Dives for Cover
Claude Gauthier was the 'Chef de Labo'. He recorded all the shots in his mobile laboratory on a portable seismograph and the results were interpreted on a computer in the office caravan at night. These findings were then produced in printed form on a 36" plotter and the overall findings summarised into technical jargon and incorporated into a telegram for dispatch via RFDS radio the next morning. Pretty slick for 1963, eh?
State of the Art Technology
On the reunion crossing along the French Line in 1998, the group of CGG veterans able to make the trip (out of forty-five originals), numbered just six. As could be expected, the men busied themselves at every chance in looking for artifacts that might have survived 35 years by the track. Extraordinarily, among the most minute of items actually recovered by the CGG survivors was a spent, yet whole, radio-type valve found on the French Line itself, which could be sourced nowhere else but to the labo truck and probably jettisoned by Claude himself. (Although it survived shocks from thousands of spring-driven 4WD tyres on the 'Line, and the journey back home, the glass burst asunder on a short fall from my desk to the carpet. Ed.)
Five Tons of Geophex Goes Up
But that is where our care stopped. CGG did not safely dispose of the cardboard and wooden explosive and detonator boxes we used. These were left strewn haphazardly throughout the desert and as good luck would have it, not a trace remains of these neglectful acts due to the attention of the above-ground vertebrates that have obviously long ago ran out of this most-welcome CGG fodder to feast upon. Nor is there any sign of damage around the camp-sites because we could not locate a single site, nor are there any cavernous excavations that remain obvious.
Raising a Permanent Marker
Perhaps all that will be found one day of Leichhardt's party will be their bones, plus steel artifacts of belt buckles and stirrups and rifle barrels. It seems certain that even if buried by shifting sands, items of clothing, wood or paper will not survive the ravages of the below-ground invertebrates.
||Try the "with Malice a'Forecourt?" link and read what they did|
||Thommo's Desert Report||The BeeGees Page|
|Coles Express Picks On a Pensioner||The Kid From Towra Point|
|Bulldozing a Desert||Trans National Causeway|
|Signwriter for the Simpson||The Long Haul|
|Simpson Desert Birdlife||French Line Circa 1979|
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