Cashbook and Claypan
Birdsville or Bust
East From Oodna
Alive in the Dead Heart
B-line for Birdsville
Capital of the Channel Country
Queensland Frontier Town
Birdsville 1963 Showing the Old Watertower
Old Signpost at King Creek 1963
After a prolonged drinking session in the Royal Hotel with CGG men, Jack found the takeoff plans for his Cessna foiled by the presence of a steer in the way on Bedourie's only 500 yard strip of bitumen. Fortified by more than the friendship at the pub and cheered on by the onlookers, Jack towed the steer backwards by its tail from one end of the 'road' to the other as an extra challenge and then blithely took off for home.
Birdsville Looking West From the Old Watertower
The capacity of the tower and the cooling ponds around the bore determine the comfort level for showering in the town. If the bore water (one of the best drops west of Brisbane if swigged from a canvas waterbag) isn't allowed to settle and cool it would hit the taps around 55°C. In times of heavy demand such as when the Birdsville races are in full swing, council workers monitor the temperature and slow the flow to try to keep it down to the mid-forties.
The Pub With No Wall
The Renovated Birdsville Pub
On a visit to the area in 1994 I presented an enlargement of this photo to the pub and it can often be seen displayed in the bar, except at race time when all the memorabilia is taken down for safekeeping. And as far as I can gather, the drunk tank has never been restored to this day, although I can bet there have been plenty of times since when it could have come in handy again.
Dick Cavill, who had the Caterpillar concession for South Australia and also operated South Australian Air Taxis (SAATAS), both instrumental in the success of the original CGG campaign, was one such old crony. Dick flew Rene up to Dalhousie and from there together retraced at low-level the French Line on its path to Birdsville.
French Petroleum Boss Revisits South Australia
Channel Country Mail Plane at Birdsville
Rene also made a special visit to Arkaroola, the Northern Flinders Ranges nature reserve and HQ of Reg Sprigg, AO and although he knew Reg and his wife Griselda, the first couple to drive the Simpson and open up the desert to exploration, were overseas at the time, he was determined to see Reg's unique resort for the first time. In a bizarre quirk of fate Rene was advised on his return to Sydney that Reg had suffered a heart attack and died in Scotland on the Saturday Rene left Arkaroola.
The Diamantina Shire Council has since moved the fence west inside the airstrip and the lone cairn has been joined by a memorial to Edmund Colson and now both flank a miniature tribute to CGG, placed there in July 1998 by the Land Rover Owners Club of Victoria (LROCV) at the conclusion of their Vintage Simpson Desert Safari.
||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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