Doug Stoneham

Submitted: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:19
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Just read this on the Beadell website...I think it is on the headstone of Doug Stoneham's (Len Beadell's dozer driver) grave.

"Spinifex, Red Sand, Mallee & Mulga, Rockholes, Ranges, Clear Night Skies and endless horizons"

Now I've started reading the biography of Len Beadell. What a great bloke..and all his Gunbarrel Construction Company mates...including Doug Stoneham.

Makes you want to get out into the spinifex and red sand...

Viv
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:37

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:37
I wish I could stay out there :o)
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:49

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:49
Willem,

As I'm reading I keep thinking..I would like to go on every one of his roads. That is an assignment that could keep me busy for many, many wonderful trips. What a lot there is to look forward to!!

Viv
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:42

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:42
Yes 1,500km done, another 4,500kms to go for me. then do them over & over.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:58

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:58
Not sure of the distances and/or the roads but have done the Connie Sue, The Gary Junction, The Gary(half of it to be precise), The Talawana, The Gunbarrel, The 'Abandoned' Gunbarrel, and this year the Anne Beadell. Must be keen on corrugations...lol

But it is good to get out there and see the country and experience the Dung Beetles as Doug T puts it. I photograph heaps of things and now with the digital age go quite mad potographing and downloading every day. I have a cupboad full of trannies(about 5000) of all over Aus which still have to be converted to digi pics. One day...lol
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:55

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:55
We have decided to travel on the Gary Junction road this year...now have managed to rearrange our trip (drop some of the frills) and have ten days from Alice Springs to Broome. I've applied for permits and hope they don't take too long.

Anyway now I'm reading as much as I can about where we're going. I love to take photos too but don't have a digital camera. Imagine I'm going to go through a "few" rolls of film. Will try for a dung beetle experience!!

What I'm looking forward to is being out there, watching the sunset or sunrise and absorbing the beauty and the quiet....looking at the stars, feeling very small in the grand scheme of things.

Viv
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Reply By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:52

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 22:52
One book that got me motivated back in 1964 was called "Up The Track" by Douglas Lockwood , also wrote "Australia's Pearl Harbour" about the Japanese attacks on Darwin .
"Up The Track" was all about the Stuart Hwy Alice to Darwin , I had been on some hectic trips in the 50s with my parents when I was a kid so the travel bug had already bitten me but it was that book that me out and about on my own , and yes to Willem I too could stay out there ,and die out there , I just love being out in the deserts ,
One little event that really had me amused was [ and I wonder if Willem has seen this ] is the way the little Dung Beetles leap frog each row of of them selves when rolling a pill of Camel poo in the Simpson Desert , yes it might seem an unusual subject but when i seen that I though how amazing and I do have it on Video , I will have to se if I can make a small clip ,
As for Len Beadell yes his 2 books I read were so very interesting. "Too Long In The Bush" and "Blast The Bush"
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:01

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:01
Hehehe

Doug, good stuff!
I thought we were the only ones silly enough to take video of dung beetles pushing bleep around :-))) Its amazing stuff - those guys really work as a team. We filmed a couple last year in the GVD.

Cheers Phil
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Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:13

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:13
Doug & Willie (- and maybe Phil G)

Yeah, the charm of the desert!

Here are some snippets of what JW Gregory thought of the deserts. He was a Scottish geologist who traveled around L Eyre by camel around 1906, and reported on artesian waters, aboriginals & geology. It was he who coined the term "The Dead Centre"

" The source of the desert's fascination is puzzling. The yearning to discover the secrets of the unknown, which leads one man to spend his life in the chemiical laboratory, sends another to explore the pathless desert. But even after the pioneer shall have discivered all of its secrets, the desert will still have a charm as irresistible to those who feel it, as the spell which the sea throws over its lovers."

"No other silence is as absolute as that of the desert..............At times this perfect peace is gently broken by a faint, barely perceptible humming, caused perhaps by the wind rustling some distant scrub, or the trickle of blood through the capillaries of the brain."

"No other conditions present death in a more attractive guise."

"The simplicity of desert life, the uniformity of its conditions, the merciless severity of its forces, awaken in us the primative man, lying beneath the carefully built up fabric of social obligations."

"Certainly one of the main charms of the desert is the sky."

I personally often feel at a loss to explain to acquaintances the attraction of the deserts, and maybe these passages from Gregory go close.

What do you think?

Cheers, boys,
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Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:51

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:51
Yeah Rick

No other silence is as absolute as that of the desert..............At times this perfect peace is gently broken by a faint, barely perceptible humming, caused perhaps by the wind rustling some distant scrub, or the trickle of blood through the capillaries of the brain."

And he didn't have an Engel Fridge....LOL

But yes, sometime I think I can hear a diesel generator running in the distance. Have never thought that it may be the blood in my veins

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:58

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:58
Rick,

Thank you for sharing those pieces written by J.W.Gregory...today we travel the paths of these explorers and wonder at it all...

Viv
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:07

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:07
Doug,

I'll ask my library man to find me "Up the Track" so I can read it too.

Two of my favourite books are written by Ernestine Hill. She writes a bit "flowery" but the wealth of information in "The Great Australian Loneliness" and "The Territory" is great. I have old hard back copies of these books and I treasure them.

I got my travel bug from my parents too...and now my two kids are following the same path. It's a great inheritance. The wealth that comes from travelling and experiencing our country enriches the soul.

Viv
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:56

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:56
Vivien, you'll also see his markers, or duplicates of them along the track. And if you go a few hundred metres off the track you'll come across his original track, still in fair condition in many places. The origianl track has been replaced by the modern day track, which is a bit to the south. The origional burnt out ration truck has been moved to Kiwirkurra.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 14:04

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 14:04
Whilst I know this is a serious thread I was amused by the description of silence and the "absolute" experience of the desert. I take it that none of you wear hearing aids like me because I can tell you that absolute silence can strike anywhere - even in the middle of a very interesting meeting - no it's not the desert it's the flat batteries that does it.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 14:22

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 14:22
Yup, it can be quiet all right. One night I wondered what the thudding was....it was my heartbeat.
Perhaps it's just that we all have a case of desert fever ?
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:21

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:21
I don't much time to read, but in the bit i do get, i am thoroughly enjoying Len's books. I am in awe of his explorations, as i am those of the early pioneers. Truly amazing people.
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:48

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 at 23:48
It's amazing to think, some of us have traveled his roads but Len had no road when he got there. What great strength!!!
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 01:28

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 01:28
That's why he used Land Rovers

Disco
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:02

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:02
Yep Disco he sure did - because Cruisers and Patrol hadn't been invented then!
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 02:06

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 02:06
"Spinifex, Red Sand, Mallee & Mulga, Rockholes, Ranges, Clear Night Skies and endless horizons"

Vivien the words were actually written on the order of service given to all who attended his funeral.
I believe the words were written by Mick Hutton who is the husband of Connie Sue Beadell.

He was a simple hard working Aussie bloke who loved the outback as much as any of us did.
I had the pleasure of knowing him personally and my fondest memories are of a bloke who loved to sit by the camp fire and tell it like it is.
I once asked him if he had his time over would he have changed any part of it, His answer was pretty simple "Nope not one bit"
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:49

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 07:49
John,

What a wonderful testament to a life lived doing what you loved..."nope not one bit" ... would he have changed. You were privileged to spend time and hear all the stories.

Viv
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 23:04

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 23:04
John (Vic),
"I had the pleasure of knowing him personally"
You lucky Bugger.

I neaver heard of Len Beadell till 2.5 years ago, Now thats says alot for my history classes or I must have had my head in the sand!!!!

Heard of Gunbarel HWY but Not Len, Doug etc.

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Reply By: traveller2 - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:12

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:12
We had the pleasure of camping next to him for 4 or 5 days years ago and also listened to him speak and give a presentation on his work and times spent establishing his roads a few times over the years, one of natures gentlemen and a great, humble man.
We've travelled a lot of his roads over the years, some a few times and have still to travel some of them in the future.
There is something special to be on one of his roads, come over a crest/high point and see the road running straight as a die to the horizon or next high point, we then remember him.
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:19

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 08:19
Traveller2,

It is going to be a great pleasure (corrugations not included) to travel these roads. We begin this year with the Gary Junction....and I'm going to read all Len's books before I go.

Believe me, when we do get out there....we will remember all these men: road construction workers, surveyors, explorers, drovers and the like who ventured out into the deserts so that one day we could follow in their paths.

Viv
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Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 12:00

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 12:00
Yep, all the above especially the nights in my case.
Oh and you can add corregations :((
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 20:54

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 20:54
Hello Footloose,

You answered my question a while ago about the Gary Junction road. Well, now I've rearranged our trip so that we can have ten days to travel from Alice Springs to Broome. We'll travel on the Gary Junction to the Telfer Mine Road and then the Rippon Hills road in to Marble Bar. We might not go in to Rudall River NP but maybe Carrawine Gorge. Have to leave something for the next trip!! I've put in my application for permits for WA and NT so now must wait to get them back.

I'll be reading as much as I can, and asking questions in between now and when we leave. Appreciate all your input.

We leave 28th July...going straight up to Coober Pedy and Alice..then we can slow down.

Best wishes

Viv
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:17

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:17
Hi Viv, excellent. You'll enjoy the country, its always changing if you keep your eyes open. Should be a straight run through, perhaps out of Alice via Glen Helen. Or up the Tanami and turn left. Either way is interesting. Don't forget that the way out of Papunya is past the tennis courts, some people get a bit bushed there I'm told.
Oh and check the weather before leaving Alice Springs, you dont want to be on that track if its really wet, believe me :))
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Follow Up By: Harry - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:40

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:40
Vivien,
When your looking out for Len's Ration Truck, there is only a plaque at that site , the truck is now locateed at Kiwirrkurra community,further on, in it's own enclosure with appropiate info and visitors book.
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Follow Up By: Harry - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:48

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 21:48
Footloose,
Just reading back and noticed your reference to Ration truck to Vivien.
How long since you've been out that way, I was wondering if the site was still in good order.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:01

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:01
Harry, I was just down the track a few K's last year, but didnt get any further west because of the rain. However I'll be there (I hope) in just over a month and will report on the condition of said site. (and if it isn't I'll be sad, mad and upset)
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Follow Up By: Harry - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:25

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:25
Footloose,
Beauty mate, I'll look out for your thread.
If you want some top drinking water, as you go past Mt Webb, there's a track leading off to the North west and this will take you to a bore that is solar powered.
You can see the mill from the turnoff, it's about a mile in. Only 150/ 200m past Mt Webb base. We were in there and there's this tap and the best water, couldn't believe it. Look out for the Truck plaque , it's on your left and about 10m from the road edge.
PS you can see the mill from the Telecom tower due North or there abouts.
Just a snippet you might be interested in.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:42

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 22:42
Harry, thanks for the heads up. I'll hopefully check it out. I seem to remember Mt Webb area had an aboriginal story attached to it, can't remember the details. I wasn't that far away for 3 days and nights while the tracks became rivers and the flats between the small dunes became lakes. I thought it irrisponsible to go any further, bogging or sliding off the sides was a real possibility. No worries in a convoy but the lone traveller has to be a chicken.
Probably sounds a bit far fetched given the normal rainfall I suppose :))
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Follow Up By: Harry - Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 18:03

Thursday, Jun 01, 2006 at 18:03
Foorloose,
The mill is the site where the last of the bush blacks came out and met family members and they all now reside at Kiwirrkurra.
How does that jell with what you know. : )))
I have a copy of the article by the Bulletin, May 2004 and it states they came out in Oct. '84 etc.
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