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October 9, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 61

October 9, 2001
Day 78

From blue dog and John

Timber Creek

The exhaust brake made its familiar throaty rumble as Blue Dog and I entered the small (blink once and you’ve missed it) town of Timber Creek about ten kilometres ahead of the bikers. Blue peered longingly at the bar of the Wayside Inn as we passed on our way to the local Police Station.

“Could you please inform Sergeant Craig Ryan of the Alice Springs Police that Expedition 360 has made it okay to Timber Creek?” I asked the amicable Aboriginal Police Officer. “He has been monitoring our progress since we left Alice Springs four weeks ago,” I went on.

“Sure, no problem” she replied affably.

“Also, I would like to obtain permission for the Expedition to travel through Bradshaw Station. I believe it’s Australian Army property these days?”

“Yes,” she replied. “I can fax this form after you have filled it out to the Range Control in Darwin and they will fax a reply first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you, I will call over about 8a.m.” I said as I went back out to the truck and Blue Dog, obviously still dreaming of the Wayside Inn.

After an unusual sleep- in this morning we had the truck packed by 8.30 a.m. The sun was shining mildly on the beautiful surrounding mountain ranges as I once again pulled the truck into the Police Station a few kilometres down Highway 1.

“They haven’t replied yet so I’ll give them a call,” said the same officer that I met yesterday. “We get quite busy here as there are only four of us to cover all of that,” indicating a huge topographical map covering one wall. “Must be over a hundred thousand square kilometres,” I thought as ‘my’ Officer was making the call for me.

“Well, they’ll get back to me in the next hour if you would like to wait back at the van park. I’ll come down there and let you know their response,” she informed me helpfully.

Jason and I turned off the highway a few kilometres further past the Police Station to check out the crossing of the Victoria River. After a few twists and turns of the dirt track, we were both stunned into silence of the view past the Crocodile Warning sign of this massive river.


“Not much wonder she said that we could only cross at low tide,” I said quietly to Jason and Blue staring at the fast flowing clear blue water obviously metres deep and several hundred metres wide.

“Yeah, and I think there would be stacks of crocs and I’ve heard that they prefer cyclists. Maybe they find cyclists’ legs good chewing,” Jason went on. Blue Dog said nothing. The satellite phone began to ring.


“Expedition 360” I said grabbing the phone at my right shoulder. “This is Major Neil McDade from Range Control in Darwin. I finally contacted the troops by sat-phone and they’re bogged to the eyeballs trying to get out of Bradshaw. There’s been a lot of rain over the area lately you know - so it won’t be possible for your people to get through”.

“I understand” I said, waiting for the slight delay as the phone signal made it’s way to the satellite, then to Atlanta, Georgia, back to the satellite and down to Darwin, connecting into the city phone system. “I guess we’ll travel up Highway 1 to Innesvale Station and see if we can get through to Wombungi Station that way,” I continued. “Thank you so much for your help.”

“Okay, everybody,” Jason said to the group upon our return. They were waiting patiently, lying around under the trees in the van park. “Here’s the new plan of attack . . . ”

After a cup of tea, some damper and jam, and a quick repack of the truck, Blue Dog and I headed out of Timber Creek to our designated twenty kilometre first stop and who knows what around the next bend or over the next hill . . .

John Andrews and Blue Dog.

*Aboriginal place-names of the day:

YARRAWONGA: Where the Wonga Pigeons are found
WEEMOBAH: A Place of Permanent Fire
UMBOODEE: Big Mountain Eels in the Nearby River
COOLOONGATTA: The Highest Land

Timber Creek forms our Educational Theme for today.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Posted on October 9, 2001 3:34 PM