CASHBOOK AND CLAYPAN

The French Line across the Simpson Desert was completed in September 1963 and no one in the Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CGG) construction team could have envisaged the volume of traffic that would flow across in their wheeltracks over the years since.   The notion that their road would open up other less arduous routes in several directions as well,  was quite preposterous for the CGG originals to contemplate.

Many crossings have been carried out by all manner of travellers using an even wider variety of vehicles (and contraptions) since those first journeys and lots of people make a habit of 'doing the French Line' time and time again but it is doubtful if any one yet has clocked up so many 'clicks' as the early CGG fellows, who will probably remain unchallenged for some time as the most experienced of Simpson Desert drivers.  Typical odometer readings for the truckies in the three month seismic campaign was 20,000km or the equivalent of fifty crossings each.


THE SIMPSON
RECORDS A
VISITOR'S MOMENT

DESERT DIGEST

Cashbook and Claypan
Share in the tribulations of the admin manager as he balances the books from his Office-in-a-Blitz

Birdsville or Bust
Learn how French know-how and Australian muscle carved the French Line through the Simpson

East From Oodna
Marvel at the initiative of the early pathfinders who solved the mysteries of the Red Centre

Alive in the Dead Heart
Recollections from the crew who first burst the road through Australia's One True Desert

B-line for Birdsville
Join the CGG veterans on their return journeys to the French Line. Take their tip and travel with experts

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French Line Pioneers

THE CGG CONSTRUCTION TEAM

FIRST ALONG THE FRENCH LINE

September 1963

COMPAGNIE GENERALE DE GEOPHYSIQUE Party S6507
Jules Baeb
Michele Bertrand
Marc Cardinalli
Frank Delmonte
Roy Elkin
Joe Gawlik
Bob Gouldie
Roy Helfert
Marcel Lestrade
Ian Mackie
John McFayden
John Blaney-Murphy
Vic Nicholls
Rene-Paul Pietri
Jean Tixeront
Harry Wemmerslager
Marc Barjolin
Tony Braz
Roland Colasin
Pip Dunkley
Bernard Finzi
Peter Leathem
Ross Loader
Bill McCarthy
Tankred Mueller
Kevin Murphy
Tony Pearson
Bill Tsoutouras
Max White
Maurice Beaussaert
John Dawson
Joe Eime
Claude Gauthier
Joe Goossens
Danny Hayes
Luke Kotulski
Kent Longmate
Karl Muller
Tom Penny
John Thompson
Omer Wilhelms
OILFIELD CATERERS
Milton Bunning
Tommy Burns
Noel Gibson
Ian Kaines
Reg Lee

ROCHE BROS
Tom Campbell
Wally Gregory
Peter McCormack
Mick Smith
Bluey Wells

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN AIR TAXIS
Kron Nicholas
Graham Wright
Trisha Wright


FRENCH PETROLEUM OF AUSTRALIA
Dean Drayton
Rene Quin

ADELAIDE ADVERTISER
Peter Michelmore

Delhi/SANTOS
John Klug

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT
Thomas Playford


Oil Men Leaving Mark On Simpson Desert


Surviving veterans of the CGG conquest of the Simpson in 1963 that resulted in the creation of the French Line added their signatures to an article from the Adelaide Advertiser, here displayed in its frame by Ruth Doyle, proprietor of the Birdsville Caravan Park.  Peter Michelmore's first-hand report from September that year, now hangs in the park's popular Billabong Cafe and is a concise record of an important chapter in the history of Australia's Simpson Desert as a major tourist attraction.  Look for it.  It's a good read.

The second phase of the French-Australian assault on the Great Artesian Basin oil prospect began in the latter quarter of 1963 and centred on the Channel Country, between Birdsville, Bedourie and Boulia.  It was at this point that several of the men listed above, left the party.   They had toiled for three months on their arduous crossing without a break from the Simpson and were replaced as needed.  Among the new recruits were Joe Bauer, Stewart Caldwell and the two Canadians who jumped ship from the Diamantina Shire Council to join CGG, Ken Charlton and Bob Seaman.

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Coles Express Picks on a Pensioner .....
Try the  "with Malice a'Forecourt?"  link and read what they did

LINK TO THESE DIGESTS FROM THIS PAGE

Cashbook and
Claypan 
Birdsville
or Bust 
East from
Oodna 
Alive in the
Dead Heart 
B-Line for
Birdsville 


GONE TO MOTHBALLS .....
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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