Len Beadell Ration Truck - Part 1

Submitted: Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 02:12
ThreadID: 14781 Views:4007 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Part 1.

I advised the forum about a week ago of my return from places far north and said that I would let you all know what I had done when I had a bit of time.
This is quite a story so I think I will break it up into several posts to make it a bit interesting and not so long winded.

My recent trip was based around the Beadell Ration Truck Preservation Project arranged by the Toyota Landcrusier Club Vic (TLC).
This project aimed to remove the Beadell burnt out ration truck located on the Gary Hwy about 700 kms west of Alice Springs where it has laid since it caught fire in 1960 and to move it 30 kms further down the road to the Kirriwicurra Aboriginal Community.
The story of this truck and many others is told by Len in his various books and makes for a great read.

The now owners of the truck are the Kiwirrkurra Aboriginal Community and it was this community that was keen to move the truck closer to their community so that it could be preserved in some order and used as a tourist point for the community.
The Beadell family and Lens Bulldozer driver Doug Stoneham who incidentally is the last surviving member of the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party were also in support of this project as a means of trying to maintain something of the truck for the future as it was slowly being vandalised and concern was raised about future damage caused by future road works.

Doug Stoneham accompanied us on the trip and is one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever meet, the stories he could tell were just fabulous, 8 years as Lens bulldozer driver working on virtually all of Lens roads as well as his work at Woomera and the Emu and Marralinga atomic sites is a fascinating story.
And to say I discovered something unusual in regards to Doug on this trip is the most amazing understatement, more on this later.

I departed Melbourne with my 14 year old son Andrew also known on this site as Bigfoot and drove over to Peterborough SA to drop into visit young Willem and his lovely lady Judith.
I meet Willem and developed a friendship with him during the EO Little Desert Trip earlier this year.
Had a great night with them both two of the nicest people you could meet.
Had PP juice with my Ice Cream (Outstanding) Judith is a one of those old style home cooks, does everything herself, just bloody magnificent hospitality.
After leaving Willems place later than expected on the Saturday, a warm bed and a cooked breaky not to mention the great conversation which just went on and on kept me there later than anticipated.

We travelled to Woomera to have a look at the town, Len Beadell’s grave and the museum / historic centre.
Well worth the effort very interesting to say the least if you have not visited Woomera then make sure you do it..

From Woomera we travelled in one hop to Alice to meet the rest of the TLC group.
This consisted of 10 Trucks and 17 bodies all told.
I might add that this was my first trip with TLC despite 4wding for a number of years I only recently joined this club.
One night in Alice to get all the equipment together and the trailers organised to carry it all 700 kms west and we were off.
20kms north of Alice and a left turn onto the Tanami track and the first mishap.
The trailer towed by our trip leader decides to depart from the tow vehicle, no big deal just jumped of the ball, not a good indication of things to come though.

After re attaching the trailer and wiring the catch down we set off again, 450kms later down the Gary Hwy the voice on the radio announced that the trailer had lost a wheel, Wonderful I always hated towing trailers (I do it for a living) all this did was re confirm my dislike for them.
Same trailer that jumped the ball, this time it snapped the stub axle on the left wheel right at the base of the thread, the wheel disappeared into the scrub, now we had a real problem. We found the wheel about a 100 meters into the scrub.

After a lot of discussion and suggestions it was decided to go into the Liebig Aboriginal community and see if they could be of any help.
And very helpful they were, they happened to have an old trailer and kindly allowed us to borrow one of its axles.
The only problem was it was to short for our trailer.
Bush ingenuity prevailed and we clamped it parallel to the existing axle leaving the left wheel sticking out about a foot outside the left side guard of the trailer, after reducing its load we set off again the following morning after camping near the Liebig community.
Next stop WA and the ration truck.

I will leave it there for the moment and will add the next post with part 2 in the next few days so just hold your breath as the story gets better.
VKS737 - Mobile 6352 (Selcall 6352)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Water Tank 55 Litre

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Bluegeorge - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 02:29

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 02:29
Always pleasing to read a good story told by a good story teller... Can't wait for part 2
Blue
AnswerID: 68360

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 07:07

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 07:07
Just read about the truck in 4WD Monthly, can't wait for instalment 2
.
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history
.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

AnswerID: 68363

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 14:33

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 14:33
Bonz was that this month's issue July 2004 ?
VKS737 - Mobile 6352 (Selcall 6352)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Water Tank 55 Litre

0
FollowupID: 329019

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:36

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:36
Yes the current one I got late last week in the mail, No 70 September 2004.

Regards
.
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history
.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 329045

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:49

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:49
Bonz that's Bonza, Did it have my photo on the cover ?
VKS737 - Mobile 6352 (Selcall 6352)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Water Tank 55 Litre

0
FollowupID: 329055

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:55

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 17:55
Its got a ARB 100 series on the cover , looks like the one Andy Brown was driving up at the Outback challenge and a custom landy, no Troopie though.
.
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history
.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 329058

Reply By: Willem - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 09:33

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 09:33
Top stuff John...looking forward to the next instalment.
AnswerID: 68387

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 10:39

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 10:39
Thanks John......your next installment is like waiting for the next issue of 4X4 monthly.....I hope it comes early! Cheers
AnswerID: 68404

Reply By: Member - Rick (S.A.) - Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 11:14

Monday, Jul 19, 2004 at 11:14
Great read, good yarn, well written, so thanks for posting it
AnswerID: 68411

Reply By: Member - Bob - Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004 at 11:43

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004 at 11:43
John,
I was out there at Easter (see photo). Frankly, it seems a pity to move it. Tourist point in Kiwirrkurra? (Wry smile). Actually, the art centre is worth visiting although the artists don't do their painting there. They pick up materials and work from home. Sadly, Papunya Tula takes all work into AS for cataloguing, and the traveller is unable to purchase on site. If they are interested in tourists maybe they should have a look at that.
AnswerID: 68620

Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004 at 14:10

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004 at 14:10
Bob as I understand it the moving issue was a long and protracted negotiation, but at the end of the day the locals own the truck and they could have moved it to suit themselves.

I guess you are also not aware of the Federal funding that has been allocated to build a new store, medical and other facilites in the next 18 months or so these new works are going to be done on the high ground near where the truck is now located.
I don't know if you are also aware of the flooding issue that occured here several years ago, hence the funding.

We visited the Womens centre, I guess this is what you refer to as the art centre and work was being done inside by quite a number of locals everyday we were there.
A number of our group purchased art direct from the centre or the ladies involved no restriction on this that we where made aware of.

There is a buyer who comes out periodically from Alice who does the buying of art from all the communities in the area and returns to Alice for display and sale there.

The long term management including tourist issues is one largely decided by the Community Administration, I have no doubt that these issues can change pending on the Administrator at the time.
VKS737 - Mobile 6352 (Selcall 6352)

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Position  Send Message
Classifieds: Water Tank 55 Litre

0
FollowupID: 329169

Reply By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004 at 01:29

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004 at 01:29
Thats a great start John, Me thinks We will be reading this for a few weeks.
Can you put a photo of the finished setup in your Rig Pic for those of us who don't my 4x4 Mags ?

Cheers
AnswerID: 68754

Follow Up By: Harry - Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004 at 23:10

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004 at 23:10
G'daye John,
Good to see some correct info coming out about our Ration Truck trip.Looks like you've created a bit of interest there. I see you haven't told Forum readers about the other axle.Don't forget to mention about supplies at Kiwirrkurra.
If anybody interested an article and photos will be in Just 4wd soon.
:>)
0
FollowupID: 330346

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)