All travellers to this area, both now and in the future, owe their thanks to the persistence of Jol Fleming from Alice Springs to have this area opened up for outback travel. Jol, like many other people, had read the book, “Crossing the Dead Heart” by Cecil Madigan, with a view of one day seeing first hand the country that Madigan had described, during his 1939 scientific expedition of the Simpson Desert
During the mid 1990’s, Jol met Lindsay Bookie on one of his four wheel driver training
courses. Lindsay told Jol he was from out that way, but Jol thought no more of it until 1998 when he was approached by the Ford Motor Company to do a Sales Incentive trip from Alice Springs to Birdsville. Jol contacted the Central Land Council regarding getting a permit to travel the Hay River
Area, who in turn put Jol in contact with Lindsay Bookie. Lindsay was not keen at first to let anyone travel through his lands, but with further discussions, Jol was given the OK. In May 1998 Jol and Lindsay went to scout for a track down the Hay River
. The going was so tough, that they only managed to get as far south as the Lake Caroline turn off. They then back tracked and an alternative road was found for the Ford venture.
In 1999, Jol and Lindsay headed off again with a waypoint for Madigan’s camp 15. They were able to retrace their tracks from the previous year to as far as the Lake Caroline turn off, then continued on to Madigan’s Camp 15 and 16 and then out through Beachcomber Oil Well. After the trip, Lindsay approached Jol about using Batton Hill as a base to do Bush Tucker Tours of the surrounding area, which were advertised and the first Bush Tucker Trip was carried out in August 2000.
Seeing the potential of the area as a tourist draw card, the Rural Enterprise of the Central Lands Council put a business plan together for Lindsay for funding to equip the bore and to erect shower/toilet blocks at Batton Hill. The grants were approved in early 2003 and in time for the 2003 tourist season, 2 Shower/Toilet Blocks with donkey boilers, a bush kitchen and 2 bow sheds were erected by April 2003. Water for the site was from a solar powered bore that pumped water to and overhead tank and a reserve tank of 10,000 litres.
This area is now open to visitors by prior arrangement only. Lindsay passed away in August 2014 and Jol continues to manage the permit system to ensure that visitor numbers remain sustainable for such an isolated place. Visitor activity will be highly scrutinised so it is imperative that all who come view their access as a privileged and show great respect for the tracks and facilities. We cannot stress, how improper it would be for anyone to use these trek notes
without first arranging a permit from Jol. In fact, certain details have been omitted from this trek but this information will be provided with your permit.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
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The Hay River
area could be called an "environmental paradise" because it has been almost untouched by white man. You will be hard pushed to find a feral animal (eg. camel), and the land has been subject to only light grazing. Weather patterns and seasons will change the environment dramatically but currently, you'll see the effects of a series of good seasons producing abundant shrubs and plants and the stands of river gums in the Hay River
are simply breathtaking.
The Hay River
area of the Northern Territory
has been the home for the Eastern Arrernte Aboriginal perople for many thousands of years before white man arrived in Australia
The first white person to successfully travel through this area was the South Australian Surveyor, Charles Winnecke in mid 1883. Whilst on this trip Winnecke named many land forms including Hay River
after Mr Adam Hay, Esq of Palparara Station, Qld; Mt Tietkens after Mr W.H. Tietkens, a well known Western Australian explorer and Goyder's Pillars, after G.W. Goyder, Exq, the Surveyor-General of South Australia
Unlike other areas of the Simpson Desert
, there was no oil exploration seismic work carried out in this area, so this area has not been touched in anyway by white man and is still a true remote wilderness area.