Canning Stock Route Day 15 - Well 37 to Well 41

Thursday, Jul 17, 2003 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 15 - Thursday 17th July
Start - Well 37
Stop - Well 41

Just a few km past the camp we came into the site of Well 37. We spent ages here - in the Gard book was a mud map and directions to find some blazes on trees (trees that are now burnt and fallen down so markings not found) , but of most interest where the 3 graves all nicely restored with plaques and signage. One grave is for drovers Shoesmith and Thomson, another alongside is for Chinaman - all murdered here by bush natives in 1911. These 2 graves are situated to the left of the main carpark (!) on a slight rise - easily visible. To the right of the carpark, about 100m away is the grave of John McLernon, a camel driver in the Locke Oil Prospecting expedition in 1922 who was also murdered here in 1922.

The well itself was underwater, but it made an excellent scene to photograph amongst the flooded ti-trees.

We stopped further on at the little cave by the side of the track that is marked on maps as "Rock Art". The inside walls have collapsed and most of the art is buried and is hardly worth a mention but it was a nice little stop and we found yellow pea flowers growing amongst the rocks above the cave.

Water 38 is in a fact a rockhole on the LHS of the main track and is well identified by good signage on a gravel rise. There is a 20m walk down to a rocky creek area to the actual site with various rockholes, stone sharpening marks and initials of early drovers easily seen on the walls of the rockhole.

On the way to Well 39 we stopped for lunch on a ridge with distant views to Lake Tobin and occupied ourselves by digging for yams - we never reach the yam, but the roots went down a long way.

When you reach Well 39 you come upon it quite suddenly after crossing a dune to a flat dry claypan - the well lies by the track on the RHS and is in total ruin with putrid water that is not suitable to use for anything. We found a few skulls of various animals here which the kids loved.

We found numerous little camps in flat clearings under shady desert oaks between here and Well 40 but continued on as it was only just past 2.30pm.

We reached the site of Well 40 and found a large lake! The well itself is underwater on the eastern bank (not accessible) but we were able to walk around the banks of the lake to within 4m of the well to obtain the approximate GPS reference.

After parking a little too close to the crusty mud, Kim and Ian in the Navara ute found themselves a little stuck so needed a little tug out with a snatch strap. They were most surprised as they were a fair way back from the edge of the "lake". We are constantly reminded how the stock route would surely be a glue-bog in wetter times.

A track leads up to the top of a hill behind the Well site to the grave of Michael Tobin who was speared in 1907 during the main survey of the stock route. His grave has a marble cross and clear embossed lettering with all the details of his death.

Finally, we moved on to Well 41 and the hope of a good campsite. We certainly didn't expect to find it underwater.

Thankfully, we had spotted a pretty decent campsite 1.2km before the well site and as the lead vehicle we radio all to tell them we had chosen our campsite for the night and please bring some wood! Tonight we were having Pork Roast with Peach Compote.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
Always working not enough travelling!
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