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October 14, 2001

Overland Australia - Update 65

October 14
Day 83

Dorisvale Station
From: Todd

Everyday seems to be an adventure out here in the Outback, but some days are certainly more packed with excitement than others. Take yesterday for instance.

After our midday break to try and hide from the miserable heat we were ready to set off for our cooler evening ride. Blue Dog and April went up ahead in the truck and didn’t get more than two kilometres before being stopped by a most incredible sight. A road train full of cattle had jack-knifed sideways right at the river crossing blocking all passage across.

The tractor and both cars were on their side. The scene was just mayhem. Bullocks were everywhere and in different stages of panic—some charged past our truck and headed up the road, others darted about directionless, some had fled via water and were now looking back at the accident from across the river and downstream.

These bulls had been out in the wilds of the station for at least two years before being mustered. Now these beasts were panicked and mad. Both April and Blue Dog knew what they were dealing with and radioed back to warn us about the situation. We arrived and then, shortly thereafter, so did a tiny helicopter that landed right next to the river. Out popped two men who came to help the three stockmen and the driver who were already there. It didn’t seem long afterward that things got kind of wild.


Some bulls were still inside the downed trailer and would slip-slide their way out of the compartment. The men and their dogs would be there to try and direct them up the road, safe away from the river where they could potentially drown. But these bulls were aggressive and would charge at both the men and the dogs.

The first one bolted for one of the men and began to chase him around our truck, but that’s where we were so we had to do a little running ourselves. At one point it seemed quite intent on Josh, who just barely jumped up into the cab of truck and felt the door slam closed beside him, courtesy of the bull. I was just in front of Josh, myself, and with no room left in the cab, I was left to do a dive and a roll under the truck from where I watched the rest of the melee. Bel, April and
Jason all ran up on a hillside above the action, with Jason filming the

This happened several times over the rest of the afternoon. Most of the group took refuge at the top of the truck and watched the stockmen flee just out of reach of the bulls horns. From Jason’s view on the hill, he said we all looked like some refugees from a flood. When the action was at ebb, I came down from the truck top to get some items I had left underneath. About as soon as I got there, though, another bull came charging at the stockmen and I found myself stuck there again.

But then the truck engine turned on! Blue Dog had decided to use the truck to try and do a little mustering himself. Nobody knew that I had gone down there. Fortunately, I managed to get one of the stockmen, who was hiding by his vehicle, to motion to Blue Dog’s passenger and keep the truck from moving.

Something else that kept the truck from moving was the tipped road train. We had to camp near the scene of the accident. We were finally able to cross this morning when a large crane finally arrived and moved the trailers out of the way.


Before we left, one of the stockmen said he saw a 14-foot crocodile in the river near the accident. Unfortunately, some cattle did die and were bleeding into the river. This, apparently, attracted the one croc and is likely to attract many more to the area even after the road train has been well cleared from the scene.

In our education section, find out a little about the HISTORY of road trains in Australia, complete a MATH problem or in ENVIRONMENT find out more about those killer crocs!


*Aboriginal place-names of the day:

MUSHWANDRY: Good Place where Good People Go
SPARINDEEN: Plenty of Turtles
WINGADEE: Look at the Big Fire
WEIGHKNARLBUP: Emu Lost Feathers
WEEGOOLGURRA: A Place of Hot Weather

Environmental Studies

Posted on October 14, 2001 4:00 PM