Beanie Bunch kiss bitumen at Halls Creek and start report on their Canning Stock Route adventure

August 05, 2009
Beanie Bunch kiss bitumen at Halls Creek and start report on their Canning Stock Route adventure

Hi Garth

Day 1

Wiluna is an interesting little place with not much to offer. Only one source of fuel and supplies, a post office, police station, shire offices and a take away shop.

We fuelled up and travelled out of town, the last bitumen for the next 1,900 kms. A quick lunch stop at North Pool, a permanent pool 10 kms north and 10 kms off the road, a popular swimming hole with the locals on Negara Creek.

There is a tree there blazed TA1 We think it is a dingo tree (one with no bark). They are actually eucalyptus Camaldulensis River Red gums. 28 kms further on, we turn right off this gravel road onto the Canning Stock Route and the official start at Well 2.

The track was quite rough with mud holes, rocks and corrugations. Well 2 has a Southern Cross windmill and open tank and cattle trough.

The well is quite deep and is timber lined. We camped with our latitude nearing that of the Gold Coast but it is still cold. 3,450 kms from home.

Day 2

Well 2a, the Granites, the last well constructed in 1910 and was blasted from the rocks beneath.

There is a tree here blazed PA7. Cannings group ran out of food here, so he travelled onto Wiluna for supplies, but Wiluna had ran out of food as the supply truck had become bogged, so he went to the truck for supplies and returned to his groups camp, a round trip of 800 kms by camel.

Today we met seven south bound vehicles and four north bound and three motor bikes. Then 20 kms further on, we moved out of the rocky Gibson Desert and into the Little Sandy Desert and more corrugations.

When crossing Sweenie Creek there are many Mini Ritchie trees (Red Mulga) with small egg and bacon flowering plants. It is here we reduced initial tyre pressures from 40 lbs to 35 lbs.

We moved onto Well 4, but are on private property, no camping, no fires, so have a late camp off this property at Windich Springs after some challenging 4x4 creek crossing through Kennedy Creek.

Corrugations Canning Stock Route
Corrugations Canning Stock Route

Well 5 has permanent spring fed water supply and is surrounded by white trunked river red gums and limestone cliff face.

We set up a river front camp overlooking the dab chicks, pink galah, finches and other bird life. We stay for two nights and cook up a silverside roast in the camp oven to provide cold meat with our remaining fresh food supplies.

A further group of five vehicles travelling north were also camped nearby. They call themselves Adventure B4 Dementure and are from Narracoorte, SA.

Day 4 takes us past an old bush stockyard and through narrow sandy tracks, spinnifex, washouts, ruts and bulldust. A stiff westerly wind is blowing all day. We have a top temperature of 18 degrees.

There are many wildflowers out in bloom, yellow, white, blues, purple, thryptamine and camels.

Well 6 is Pierre Springs and was restored in July 1991 by the Geraldton 4x4 Club.

It has good water, great camping, composting toilet and visitors book. Pretty tough work today, 92 kms travelled average 19 kmh. Saw two north and four south bound vehicles.

Day 5 through Glen Ayle station country past Well 10 Well 11 where Eric Ronelle Garde erected the National Geographics Sponsored sign in 1988 urging travellers to act as temporary caretakers of the route to help preserve it for future generations.

Dune flags flying Beanie Bunch in spinifex country
Dune flags flying Beanie Bunch in spinifex country

We use their book, Canning Stock Route, A Travellers guide 3rd Edition re-printed in March 2009 for reference purposes and this can be obtained through Westprint Maps of Nhill Victoria.

We pass through the crunchy salt of Lake Aerodrome named in 1929 by William Snell in 1929. There are more sand dunes and tyre pressures are reduced to 25 lbs. Well 12 was renovated by Alistair Canning (Grandson of Alfred Canning) 12 months ago. We travelled 135 kms.

Day 6 takes us past Well 15 and an abandoned trailer is nearby. It is 22 degrees today and wind still blowing. It is the site of the murder of drover Wilkins and we visit his grave nearby.

Well 16 water is unsuitable for drinking. We take a 43 kms detour off the track into the Calvert Ranges and set up camp in the designated camping area. 110 kms today and passed 11 vehicles.

A walk up the valley shows us much aboriginal art by the Martu people with caves and water holes. See Editors note at the end of this feature.

Looking down the  barrel Well 4
Looking down the barrel Well 4

Day 7 we pass Rankins trolley, a cart 37 years old. New Zealander Murray Rankin abandoned in 1972 while attempting to walk the CSR in a northern direction.

We travel into Derba Springs, a great little camping area with native couch grass alongside the almost dry creek bed surrounded by the Derba Hills.

It has a self composting toilet. It is dry at the moment but there is some water in the springs which is suitable for drinking and washing.

We set up our camp shower and have our first shower with water pumped from our shower kit powered by the jump pack. We stay two nights. The gentlemen of the Beanie Bunch try to improve themselves with a shave. We charge up the GoSee camera and everything.

We cook up a lamb roast on OZPig with about eight small sticks of wood. We used OzPigs new utensil holder which proved a hit with the chef.

More rain showers the next day. It is also cloudy with some light rain falling. It is a warm stormy looking night located under an international flight path, planes going overhead all night.

Driving into Calvert Ranges
Driving into Calvert Ranges

Charged camera, uploaded pics onto the GoSeeAustralia laptop using an inverter powered by the car battery. Filled with diesel from jerry cans. Consumption looks like about 12 lt/100 in the Rodeo.

Day 9. Rodeo battery flat as a tack after running the Engel on freeze for 44 hours.

The Rodeo diesel would not start with jump pack as that was flat too.

A second smaller jump pack would not start vehicle either as the diesels compresssion it too high.

Even jumper leads from the 2000 Toyota HiLux could not provide enough power to start so we reverted to a tow start courtesy the SR5 around the camp area with all onlookers cheering and waving.

Editors Note -
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Martu are an Australian Aboriginal people of the Western Desert. Their lands include the Percival Lakes and Pilbara regions in Western Australia.

They traditionally occupied a large tract of land; their neighbours to the east are the Pintupi.
Martu language groups include Manyjilyjarra; Kartujarra; Kiyajarra; Putijarra; Nyiyaparli; Warnman; Ngulipartu; Pitjikala; Kurajarra; Jiwaliny; Mangala; and Nangajarra. Martu means 'one of us', or 'person'. The language is also called Martu Wangka, a Western Desert Language.

The group identifier has only been used by non-Aborigines since the 1980s. Not long before this, it was believed that Pintupi people occupied this remote part of Australia. Today, Martu live at Jigalong, Punmu, Parnngurr and Kunawarrintji.

In 1964, a small clan of Martu, composed only of women and children, was brought in from their country to a mission at Jigalong to make way for the Blue Streak missile tests. The missiles, fired from Woomera, South Australia, were designed to dump in traditional Martu country.

Successive Western Desert Aborigines had come in, or were brought in to overcrowded settlements, such as Papunya. A strong debate raged over this detribalisation of traditional-living Aborigines. State and Federal Governments had turned a blind eye to them up until then, leaving their fate to missionaries and cattle graziers.

Kim Beazley sen, MHR, summed up the opinion of some at the time, saying in the House of Representatives, it looks like the old problem of dispossession because we want something.

At this time, in the 1960s, some Martu had not seen white people, but knew of them from their ancestors, some of whom had encountered them at the creation of the Canning Stock Route in 1906-7.

The experience had been a brutal one for many of the Martu people, who had been forced to serve as 'guides' and reveal water sources, after having been 'run down' by men on horseback, restrained by heavy chains, and tied to trees at night.

A Royal Commission in 1908 exonerated Canning, after an appearance by Kimberley explorer and Lord Mayor of Perth, Alexander Forrest claimed that all explorers had acted in such a fashion.

The Rabbit-proof fence also runs through Martu country. The film of the same name, based on the novel by Doris Pilkington Garimara, is based on the lives of some Martu girls, including Doris's mother, Molly Craig, Daisy Craig and Gracie Fields.

In 2002, Martu were granted native title to much of their country, after almost two decades of struggle It was geographically the largest claim in Australia to that time. However, Karlamilyi (Rudall River National Park) was not included. Teddy Biljabu said at the time that they had been given 'a body without its heart'.

Stay tuned for more.

The Beanie Bunch.

Editors Note: To follow Beanie Bunch adventures across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia follow this link:

GoSee Holden Rodeo works through the track ruts
GoSee Holden Rodeo works through the track ruts
From the Martu elders
From the Martu elders
GoSee Holden Rodeo in rocky going Canning Stock Route
GoSee Holden Rodeo in rocky going Canning Stock Route
Emu Durba Springs
Emu Durba Springs
Fern from the rocks
Fern from the rocks
Happy hour Windich Springs
Happy hour Windich Springs
Rock art Canning Stock Route
Rock art Canning Stock Route
Sunset Windich Springs
Sunset Windich Springs
Well 4. Canning Stock Route
Well 4. Canning Stock Route
Red mulga Canning Stock Route
Red mulga Canning Stock Route
Bucket brigade haul well water Canning Stock Route
Bucket brigade haul well water Canning Stock Route