A touchy topic indeed....

Submitted: Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 08:21
ThreadID: 20095 Views:2548 Replies:9 FollowUps:13
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... and make sure you READ THE WHOLE POST.... before slagging me or others off.

Whilst reading 4wd Monthly, and it's "free" magazine bundled with it... Gold Label Edition... Australia by 4wd, the major trek guide, I was reading about the Gunbarrel.

Warburton....... "Vehicle Preparations before retiring..." Remove fuel filler caps from vehicles and plug filler necks with rags....

Is it really THAT BAD?

I know there are sniffing problems and the like, but are tourists really at risk?

I am going up there in May, in a Diesel vehicle, with a large group.

I am not after opinions on what is right or wrong, just after the REAL facts on safety of people & possessions. Don't want judgments passed or aired, just things to watch out for.

Wolfie

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Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 08:34

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 08:34
I haven't done the Gunbarrel but I have done a lot of the Top End and have found (both from my own and the experience of others) that Aborigines in remote/semi remote areas vary a lot, some are lovely, warm, smiling people - others can be _very_ aggressive. Advice I was given, and I would commend it to others, was if you are flagged down by some Aborigines, lock the doors, stop, wind the drivers window down an inch and find out what the problem is. If they want a lift tell them no but say you will pass a message on to the next town/homestead about their situation. DO NOT open the doors/let them into the car.

Putting a rag in the petrol tank opening would be stupid and a perfect way to create a Molotov Cocktail. Many modern cars require the petrol tank be sealed, I believe?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:36

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:36
I got flagged down by a couple stuck off the road coz they had a flat and no jack handle - had them going in no time most appreciative. This is not to say you shouldnt have regard for your/others safety
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Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:01

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:01
What's the logic behind plugging the filler necks with rags?
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (NSW) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:40

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:40
I'd imagine anyone requiring a sniff wouldn't need to break or lose your cap to get into the tank.
Sort of like the notion of the banks saying yes Mr Robber let me fill that large sack for you.

Geoff.
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Reply By: bundyman - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:41

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:41
Lone Wolf, I've travelled accross the GCR and so long as you don't camp within 50km of any of the communities and even then stay out of sight you should have no dramas. The idea of removing the fuel cap and putting in a rag is to prevent them levering/breaking off your fuel cap (I'm guessing).

Just check out the size of the steel cages around the bowsers when you go to give you an idea of how bad things are. Best of luck on the trip though mate.

Cheers,
Hughesy
AnswerID: 96593

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:36

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 14:36
Cheers Hughsey.

I am venturing up there as part of an organised tour, and we won't know the itinerary until a couple of weeks prior to departure.

I guess our number, hopefully 10 - 14 vehicles, will be enough to act as a deterrent for idle trouble.

I am sure that the tour organiser has this all under control, but it's nice to be forewarned of any eventualities.

Wolfie
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Follow Up By: Member - T-Bone (ACT) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:52

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:52
Hey Wolfie.

Reckon in a group of 14-odd that you'll be ok - shouldn't be too much trouble. Don't think you'll need to do the rag thing - if you're really worried, see if you can get your hands on a spare petrol cap just in case (to paraphrase from Truckster, it should only cost approximately $132409870870.87 from your local dealer).

Like others have said, it's a bit of a lucky dip when it comes to the local's behaviour. When I did the Gunbarrel in July '03, we did our best to pass right through the communities and camp out in the middle of nowhere. Only saw three groups of cars between The Rock and Carnegie Homestead anyway, and they were tourists like us... Most of the locals we met elsewhere were great, friendly people, but others were not. We found some of the locals in Broome were a bit of a handful (street fistfights), and up in Wyndham it was downright scary (guy with knife in hand demanding we buy some boab fruit carvings). It's luck of the draw I'm afraid....

T-Bone.
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:28

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:28
where you going woolfie? there is very little to see along the great central road and even less places you are actually allowed to visit. Most of the length of the gcr is aboriginal land and there is no camping allowed except in designated areas. I did this road in 03 and left yulara with 190l diesal at 8.00pm there were 2 highlights 1 was camping at the docker river campgrounds with its great morning view of th Peterman ranges at sunrise from the lookout. the other highlight was playing guess the make of the trashed wreck on its roof on the side of the road. got into laverton at 8.00pm the next night stopping just to get a drink or a pie at the roadhouses. Warburton was one rough looking place.......
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Reply By: me and my dog - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:28

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:28
Whatever the reason, I think it would just be safer to fit fuel caps that dont require locks. Cant imagine I would want to travel with a rag with fumes and fluid on it. Apart from that not sure that operating 3 way fridges, gas bottles and other items in the area would be that safe
AnswerID: 96604

Follow Up By: Hilly - Saturday, Feb 05, 2005 at 17:30

Saturday, Feb 05, 2005 at 17:30
Remove the caps and insert the rags is only intended to be while you are sleeping so that anyone who wants to get your fuel doesn't just belt a screwdriver through the bottom of your tank. You are not intended to drive in that condition.
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Reply By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:30

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 10:30
I have to second Mike's comments above re the attitudes of aboriginals across the top of Aust. At times over the years we have encountered aggressive, intimidating and unwelcoming behaviour. I have personally witnessed a broken bottle attack by an aboriginal women on a white women (a complete stranger) who merely had the mistfortune of walking by - wrong place wrong time. However, for the most part we have found the aboriginals freindly and happy (particularly the kids) and have often been approached by individuals who just wanted to say gidday. I have also noticed a pattern (in the towns anyway) that the negative behaviour seems to be linked to pension cycles when (sad to say) binge drinking and the subsequent hangovers occur. We have a policy of not hitting towns such as Fitzroy Crossing on pension day or the next - been there, done that, it wasn't pretty, won't do it again.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 96605

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:04

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:04
yea - same hit f.c and went to go to the historic crossing inn. Now I am from Kalgoorlie and have never seen anything like what I witnessed there! big difference was they were not aggressive to me and I drank in peace - far cry from what I am used to back home
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Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:15

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:15
We arrived at FC just after dark on pension day and drove down to the Crossing Inn looking for a place to stay. Even though I've spent a bit of time up north over the years, what we saw was very confronting and very sad. I must say though that the aboriginals here were in no way aggressive. The negative behaviour that I was referring to in my original reply was encountered on the Cape, Top End and Katherine. We managed a hotel resort in Darwin CBD back in the late 90's and had more than a few run-ins with the locals.

:o) Melissa
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:28

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:28
your story could be mine. I actually stayed in the caravan park out the back I figured the fences were high enough and there was enough barbed wire to top it off, cost me $5. there was a bit of fighting but amongst them seves. I drank in the outside part and there was an Aboriginal bouncer who restricted access to those not totally inebriated. they were certainly alot more placid than what I am used to in the Goldfields
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Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:00

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 11:00
my question is why would you camp at warburton?? alot of itenerents amongst the locals here you could really get alsorts around. If people are after petrol then tourists would be the main target, sort of like leaving a burger unattended on the set of survivor after the 4th week
AnswerID: 96614

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:09

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 12:09
Good point Davoe. I know people who have had fuel tanks milked when camping at a couple of the Nullabor roadhouses. One guy I know even had his plane milked!

:o) Melissa
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Follow Up By: Gus77 - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 13:24

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 13:24
Thats interesting about the plane being milked. I had thought that a lot of places outbakc now only sell avgas now cause it doesnt have the same chemcial as normal petrol that sniffers get high on...Makes having a diesel even more sensible I guess.
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Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 15:55

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 15:55
Gus,
It was a light aircraft (2 seater Aust. Lightwing in fact) that runs on unleaded. And I don't believe the theft was for petrol sniffing purposes but rather for the fuel itself.

:o) Melissa
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:46

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:46
I have travelled the so called out back for years and have always had locking fuel caps and never had any trouble, I do not camp near towns or if I do then it is in the van park.
Camp on the opposite side of town by about 10k from the liquour outlet and you will have no trouble. Take the precaution to camp behind some shrubbery and your camp light will be diminished from the road view.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 96669

Reply By: Squizzy - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:56

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 16:56
Wolfie,

We camped at Warburton June last year, and had no trouble.

There is a reasonable campsite (grassed) and hot showers and laundry available at the roadhouse which is manned by whites.
The camping ground is in a compound with a gate that is closed late afternoon.
Although this is the case, we didn't look like having any trouble.

Diesel won't be a problem, but no petrol, as is the case in most remote communities.
AnswerID: 96674

Follow Up By: Squizzy - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:00

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:00
Sorry, I didn't finish my story,

we only camped there because we had been on the Anne Beadell and Connie Sue Hwys for 8 days and we were getting sick of bush showers.

But we were glad we did. After that we did the abndoned section of the GB back to Giles.

Have a good trip Wolfie.

Geoff.
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Reply By: greydemon - Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:00

Friday, Feb 04, 2005 at 17:00
My family and I did the Gunbarrel a few years back and didn't have any problems. We only stopped for fuel in Warburton, there is camping at the roadhouse but it is not the best and I don't know why you would want to stay there. get your fuel from the steel caged bowsers and move on to Giles. Camping at Giles was fine and you can visit the weather station and see bits of skylab and one of Len's old graders. Pick up firewood before you get there.

On the way back we also just quickly passed through and camped in the bush well off the road - no problems.

On the way out, 30km out of Warburton, we came across an aboriginal guy walking towards us down the road. We had been warned that we might get stopped and asked for petrol - theoretically for a car that has run out but in fact for sniffing. We could see the car and another guy about a kilometre ahead. We stopped and asked what the problem was ...

'Gota pump?'
'What sort of pump?'
'Air pump, for tyres'
'Yep'

So the guy hopped on the roo bar (Pajero full of family - 3 kids) and we drove slowly to his car. I got out and walked around the car looking for the flat tyre. The nearside front was a rim with a couple of bits of wire and about a square inch of rubber.

'Have you got a spare?'
'No mate'
'What are you gonna pump up?'

'Aaaw, yeah ...........got any petrol?'

We ended up giving the two of them a lift back to Warburton on the roof rack then made a late dash to Giles. They were in no way threatening at any time but did lose us an hour or so, a small price to pay for the story!
AnswerID: 96677

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