Mark de Graff 1972 Trip

Submitted: Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 20:41
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Hi,

Here is a copy of Mark de Graff's 1972 trip report from Wyndham to Twilight Cove via CSR, Gary Highway and Connie Sue Highway.

This is copied from Walkabout Magazine, hopefully being over 40 years in the past I am not breaching copyright by putting it here.


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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 22:06

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 22:06
That's a top read, Alan!

Walkabout used to have some great stories, with photography to match. Don't know that I'd agree with with his decision to make the trek at that time of the year, but then they didn't have the........was going to say hindsight, the foresight that we have these days, with weather radar and satellite imagery.

He must have been in tune with The Landy's recent thread too, as he appears to have adhered to the 6P principle as well, and planned really methodically.

Was working in the Timber Creek area that year, but don't recall the expedition, or Cyclone Sally. Those were the days, Holden HT ute's, kero fridges, no phones and no bitumen from Willeroo through to the "Golden Gates" (WA/NT border)

Thanks Alan.

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 13:57

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 13:57
Just found the link below, as much for my own info, as well as others.

http://www.australiasevereweather.com/tropical_cyclones/1971_1972/jtwc/tropical_cyclone_sally.htm

Considering how wet that northern area would have been, they were lucky to complete the first section. That red country turns to soup after a drenching, and what appears to be firm ground, can quickly immobilise any vehicle, not only an overloaded one on bar tread tyres.

Bob.

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Mick O - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 22:17

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 22:17
Strewth what a ripper Al. Imagine that journey on split rims and racing razor blades, yikes. A far cry from what the Canning is today. A pity they didn't mention the condition of the Talawana or Gary Hwy down to Lake Cohen. They just describe it as 4x4 tracks. It would havve been interesting to see it within a decade of Len having cut it.

To be travelling in the height of summer as well. You have to wonder at times yet they had done a lot of planning. The fuel dumps seemed a fair logistical exercise in their own right. I was interested to note that they carried weld mesh in strips across the front of the Landies. That's what I used to haul around in the early 80's as well. Had a series of u shaped hangers under the rack in the ute.

A pretty awesome trip by the sound of it but most tracks were in those days. Even in the 80's, the Beadell Tracks were a significant undertaking. Mind you I can't see the communal bath being introduced to any of our trips soon...or then again.... lol.




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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 06:38

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 06:38
Mick O,

Have a look at the last photo of the article. They had pretty wide sand tyres on. I remember Avon used to make a similar sand tyre around that time.

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 12:05

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 12:05
I was looking at the bar tread MRF's on the roof and bonnet. Yikes.

Only one bloke I know who ever insisted on using those.....and learnt better along the way.

;-)


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Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 19:04

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 19:04
Mick those 3:30am starts show just how keen they were, it's bad enough getting up at 6:30 :-)

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 21:27

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 21:27
Hi

Whats with the shampoo/soap...(or is that grey hair) ...though when you think about it the dirty jocks would be worse :)

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Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 23:41

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 23:41
How Rude...that's his normal colour.

(We shoot those who use soap by a water course!)

Oh and that's the other bad news...there's only one bloke wearing jocks!!!!

;-)
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
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Reply By: Member - David G (WA) - Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 23:03

Wednesday, May 07, 2014 at 23:03
What a find Alan and what a trip especially at that time of the year,we were living in Derby at the time and I recall a cyclone but can't remember the name crossing the coast north of us and travelling inland over Mt House station and then on inland ,I guess that could have been the one that caused their problems.
An epic journey and good to see the old Landrovers.

Cheers Dave
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 06:47

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 06:47
Thanks Alan for posting this, it is indeed a fantastic article. Just shows that even way back people were tackling the CSR with gusto.
de Graff was passionate about his tyre choices and was an excellent bushman and anthropologist. Sadly he has disappeared and I haven't been able to track him down.

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 15:24

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 15:24
Hi Bob
Yes all vehicles were Land Rovers:

either four or six cylinder and all but one had a long wheel base. The Australian Army provided one vehicle as communications support and they also provided three Special Air Services personnel. One vehicle,
owned by de Graaf, had a Valiant slant six motor fitted.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 18:46

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 18:46
Hi Phil,

Maybe someone who is reading this may be able to help you with his whereabouts.
The picture of the man on top of the rock looks a lot like it may be Godfrey's Tank.
Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 19:05

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 19:05
Good idea Alan,
If any knows of de Graafs whereabouts that would be appreciated, most of my contacts who knew him said he was last known to be in Darwin.
Although he did 4Wd touring like this traverse, he should be best remembered for opening 4WD travel throughout the Western Deserts while on his anthropological expeditions.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, May 09, 2014 at 07:28

Friday, May 09, 2014 at 07:28
Phil,

White Pages found a de Graff in Alice Springs, but different initials :-(

Bob.

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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Friday, May 09, 2014 at 08:20

Friday, May 09, 2014 at 08:20
Thanks Bob but not the one.
I'm chasing a de graaf not a de Graff.

Here's a photo of him (1968) I found on National Archives website.

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, May 09, 2014 at 09:23

Friday, May 09, 2014 at 09:23
No worries, Phil.

There is an M. Van de Graaf in Darwin?

Good photo you posted. Am sure the Land Rover would outlast that frail looking roof rack though.

Bob.

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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 14:23

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 14:23
Alan,

thanks for finding and posting that. I almost feel motivated to have a look at the CSR after that, although still prefer the road less travelled ;-) Last week we crossed the described route at Well 33, Wiluna and Rawlinna.

What sort of vehicles were they driving? I couldn't quite make out the badges in the photos! Surely they weren't Land Rovers!

Bob
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 15:22

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 15:22
Thanks Al, very interesting read. Do you know if the documentary they were making ever saw the light of day? If it now digitised (somewhere) it would be very interesting viewing.
Seems odd that they didn't just continue south to Willuna instead of heading East the way that they did.
The use of an outrider sounds very familiar to somebody else we know of more recent/current times.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 18:52

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 18:52
Hi Dunc, not sure about the documentary, it would certainly be interesting watching.
Heading south/east down the Gary was probably their intention being the "North South Expedition". I guess they wanted to go from water to water.
...and yes, an outrider can come in handy sometimes :-)
Cheers
Alan

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Reply By: gke - Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 21:34

Thursday, May 08, 2014 at 21:34
Wow what a trip - tough men, and tough conditions. Thanks for posting that great read, Alan.
Regards, Graham.
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