PROOFS HIS WORK
Cashbook and Claypan
Birdsville or Bust
East From Oodna
Alive in the Dead Heart
B-line for Birdsville
Signwriter for the Simpson
Yabba Dabba Bloody Doo!
Worthwhile Signing On For
"It was a dangerous job but one I enjoyed immensely and I was lucky to have had two fine tutors at CGG," said John,"one was a chap called Steve Simco who had worked with seismic companies for many years and the other was Claude Gauthier. Claude was the technician who operated the recording vehicle. He was straight out of France, knew very little English, but was prepared to give a skinny young city slicker a go."
CGG Group Around Reg Spriggs' Drum
"I can remember once when we told him how to chat up Australian women. He never forgave us for that lesson. I would like to share another beer or Pernod with Claude one day. He was a good bloke."After his apprenticeship at Fitzroy Crossing, John was off to South Australia. Along with Pip Dunkley, Keith Johnson and a couple of other West Aussies they arrived in Adelaide and began the long trek to Oodnadatta, the start of the Simpson adventure and ultimately the 'French Line.' And that's where 'Yabba Dabba Bloody Doo' comes in.
"To help keep morale up I left posters with messages on at shot points or other suitable spots," John said.
The Swinging Sign
John and his offsider Joe Eime suspended this cardboard sign high above their truck, with the aid of ropes they had run between the shoulders of the sandhill. No mean effort, although viewers typically had to be front-on and up close to John's signs to read the messages, due to the rough and scratchy materials he had to write with.
"After a couple of months in the desert around Oodna Pip Dunkley and myself were the only West Australians left in the crew so to keep the flag flying one of my signs read 'East is East, but West is Best'." John copped some flak over that one.
"My signs were trivial items," he said, "but I think they helped relieve some of the problems of working and living in a desert."
Close-up of John's Poeppels Corner Sign
"Unfortunately the sign along with the drum and marker signifying the location were stolen or vandalised by someone who followed in our tracks. Reg Sprigg (a well known and respected geologist), who along with his family became the first to achieve a motorised crossing of the Simpson from west to east, had placed the marker there."
Quin's Party Spot the Drum in the Wake of CGG
"Reg Sprigg harboured the thought for years that CGG had knocked off his drum, for when he came by again a year later it was gone. Fortunately, I was able to show Reg this photo Rene Quin's party had taken of the drum still in place when they came up from Adelaide to see us after we'd broken through to Eyre Creek. We were long gone and it was still at Poeppels Corner sporting John's detonator box-sign, so Reg knew CGG were in the clear."
||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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