Molly Clarks Track from Old Andado to Allambi Station

Submitted: Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 13:20
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I wonder why I cannot find any information on Molly Clark about the track from Old Andado to Allambi Station that she pioneered apparently driving a Holden Kingswood in the 70s. The track is now referred to as part of the Binns Track but I have not been able to find any mention of Molly Clark. Apparently Molly got tired of driving to The Alice via Finke and Kulgera to go shopping and knowing there was a track from Allambi via Santa Teresa to The Alice decided to try to find a way through the sandhills etc to Allambi. I remember reading somewhere that it took Molly one and a half days to get to Allambi. It is a shame that she has no recognition for the bush bashing that she would have done to be the first to pioneer the track. She would have been in her sixties when she did the drive. Maybe it was because she was a female she was overlooked. She was treated badly later on by government officials which cost her and the family Andado Station. Molly Clark must have been very strong to put with what she went through. Molly passed away last September and is buried on Old Andado Station. Shame on the government and powers that be for overlooking all her achievements.
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 14:31

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 14:31
I thought she was awarded the 1995 Brolga award for tourizm by NT government,
then the inaugural Womens achievement award in 1998 and also Commonwealth recognition award for Senior Aussies and even as late as 2009 got NT Womens Tribute award.

So I don't think such went unnoticed, apparently she was spotted a lot driving Molly's track quite a lot to Alice in her red landcruiser .

Check out www.pioneerwomen.com.au
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - blackbird1937 - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 15:25

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 15:25
Hi Robin. Molly may have gained recognition for some of her achievements but did not seem to get any for being the first person to blaze the track. The track is part of a track named after Bill Binns who was a keen 4x4 driver and a ranger. It is great to visit at the right time of the year for a trip but much more difficult to live there twelve months of the year fighting bureaucracy. A Holden Kingswood is not quite the same vehicle to drive in the bush as a 4x4. I take my hat off to her and all the other people that pioneered the outback. We are very lucky to be able to visit those places in our air conditioned vehicles. We have just returned from that area and Dalhousie ruins where the air con broke a pipe and the temp was 44 degrees. The Old Andado track is very similar to the track along the Hopetoun Patchewollock rail line where I was working in January 1960 only much longer. No air con in those days either. Actually the Patchie pub used to have their beer barrel on the bar with a wet bag over it as there was no electricity.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 18:25

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 18:25
Well she certainly deserves some credit Blackbird.

We have just come back from pioneering a path out there ourselves and one thing I clearly remember is as you turn off the 4wd track and head into nothing you really start to question your whole situation and start to risk minimze seriously.

For a woman then it would have been so much more so.

Actually you make me wonder about what communication she may have had - I noticed that she had a Hawk HF radio - this was one of the first ever practical units for comms from a car (having no valves etc).

I was part of the design team on that project as was quite taken to see it out there. I'll check around , maybe someone can say wether they got a full mobile car setup or just a unit for the homestead.

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 18:50

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 18:50
Robin,
Back in those days you let someone know you're coming and if you don't arrive they came looking for you. No communications required - just good communication to reliable people.

Blackbird,
I was very disappointed when they renamed the track. I don't know about Bill Binns, but like you, I think the Old Andado Track very much belonged to Mac and Molly Clarke. And especially to Molly after Mac died. I first did the track in the late 1980's and it was a great journey back then.

Cheers
Phil
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 19:07

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 19:07
Must also not forget the even earlier ones like Fred Sharpe who drove the Andado Mail an engineless camel drawn car which delivered the mail all over that area before Molly.
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Oct 13, 2013 at 22:30

Sunday, Oct 13, 2013 at 22:30
Molly Clark's HF set


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Follow Up By: Sandman - Sunday, Oct 13, 2013 at 22:32

Sunday, Oct 13, 2013 at 22:32
Looked after by jeff Farmer (now retired in Adelaide). Farmer Electronics sold to Central Communications in Alice Springs...

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 07:44

Monday, Oct 14, 2013 at 07:44
Really nice thanks Sandman.

That was one of the later ones - they began development at a company called ACI electronics which I first joined as a technican about 1974 , then that company collapsed and became PCM not far from corner of Warrigal rd and Princwss hwymelbourne - was one of first ever solid state ones but they could only transmit up to 18mhz due to poor ferrites - not like todays items which go at least to 30 mhz.

There were two models named after birds - The Hawk and Kestral.
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 16:29

Friday, Oct 11, 2013 at 16:29
To me it's always been known as the "Old Andado Track".
Type that into Google and see what you find.
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Follow Up By: Member - Blaze - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 01:47

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 01:47
It's the Old Andado Track to me also Phil, I personally hate how we feel the need to rename iconic places in the outback. Many Tourist places with changed names will always hold the name I learnt them by in my younger days.
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Reply By: Member - blackbird1937 - Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 09:21

Saturday, Oct 12, 2013 at 09:21
Hi. My partner and I were down the Andado to Mt Dare track tue 8th Oct. We drove to Whitewood bore and the only sign was a No Through Rd. The cattle often knock the signs down and obliterate the track so Jeff from Mt Dare told me later. It was only when I drove east along the fence towards the Finke R did I see what may have been a track south at the end of the dogleg fence. Drove South along the fence and after about 150 metres there were the depressions of wheel tracks so followed them to Mt Dare. Jeff at Mt Dare told me the cattle often knock the signs down there and obliterate the track. We were going to give it away and drive back to Alice the same way that we had driven down. At the end a very enjoyable and eventful trip to Oodnadatta considering it was 44degrees and a pipe broke on the aircon.
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