DOUG SPRIGG BY
Cashbook and Claypan
Birdsville or Bust
East From Oodna
Alive in the Dead Heart
B-line for Birdsville
A Geologist Strikes Back
The Spriggs' Desert Chapter
Sprigg Family Cracking the Simpson
Reg purchased Arkaroola when it was an operational sheep station and upon his retirement began a process of converting the property into an Australian wildlife sanctuary that is continued today by his successors.
The Sprigg Family - Arkaroola 1994
CGG pilot Kron Nicholas once said, pointing to the red stoney territory below, "I could land a 707 there!" For Birdsville is at once the Gibber Capital of the country and the floodplain of the major Queensland rivers - all converging at Birdsville with floodwaters up to sixty miles wide and sometimes only a metre deep. All three widely different and remarkable topographies, all within the Great Artesian Basin and all bordering the Simpson Desert yet only 300 miles apart from the other.
Arkaroola itself is an outpost of rugged crags and sheer cliff faces of five million years old bedrock - a geologist's playground. The Spriggs gathered by their motel for this family photo (right) taken after the 40th anniversary of the founding of Reg's Geosurveys Australia. Reg Sprigg stands on the left with Griselda, outside motel reception. Following the passing of Reg then Sir Mark and more lately, Griselda and the relocations of some other family members in the group photo, only son Douglas and daughter Margaret remain on deck at Arkaroola.
CGG Originals Meet at Arkaroola 1995
Some CGG veterans line up beneath Observatory Hill on the occasion of their get-together. They recommend the village as a worthwhile diversion for drivers travelling Marree to Birdsville, either way, on the Birdsville Track. Arkaroola is a good spot to rest and 'vittle up', being equidistant and only a day's run out of Adelaide, Birdsville or Broken Hill. There's a well-equipped workshop in the servo there in case your vehicle needs some attention too.
The Geosurveys Time Capsule
Reg and Griselda Sprigg listen attentively as Sir Mark Oliphant dedicates yet another one of their cairns, this one to Geosurveys Australia on the occasion of the company's 40th anniversary.
The Ochre Wall at Arkaroola
Bedrock on the Cliff Face
Arkaroola's Famous Ridge Top Tours
Hosted by steely-nerved guides who seem willing and able to cast a wheel over an abyss for an extra thrill, the passengers are strapped in eight at a time in the back of a pickup cage and thrust about the hilltops and still they ask for more.
First Vehicle to Crack the Simpson?
If his adventure had been well-scripted and filmed, a sponsoring manufacturer could have been favourably associated with an historic event having a considerable residual value at a peppercorn cost. It was not to be. Reg did the job, made the original vehicular crossing, kept the lid on the story and the Japanese car firm missed out. The wagon is still there in Tom's yard in pieces, practically unrecognisable for the treasure it is. Driven to a standstill, it bears the registration plates of the last owners, a local indigenous family. Respecting Reg's feelings, not too many people who know the brand of the vehicle will let on if pressed, as if to make certain there'll be no free-kick for the firm.
A postscript allows me to reveal the Sprigg Family Chariot was a Nissan. Happily, it has been recovered and restored and might yet 'ride the ranges' once more.
||Try the "with Malice a'Forecourt?" link and read what they did|
|Alive in the
||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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