Friday Five Newsletter 2018.3.23

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Westprint Friday Five Friday March 23rd 2018

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 24th April 2015 to 24th December 2015

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 1st January 2016 to 23rd December 2016

Click here to view Westprint Newsletter Archives from 1st January 2017 to 29th December 2017

Click here to view Newsletter Archives from 5th January 2018 to current


FREE postage on ALL folded paper maps. Laminated maps rolled in mailing tubes still have postage added as below.

FREE postage on ALL orders over $100.

Otherwise there is a flat rate postage rate of $9.50 on all books, DVDs and talking books, regardless of the number of items ordered.

To order any of the books listed blow, click on the title to open a web browser, then use the Add to Cart button and proceed to the checkout. (or continue shopping for any additional titles you want.)

Visitors are welcome to call in at 6 Park St. Nhill but please phone first as we are not always open. 0353911466.

Friday Five Books

  1. Robert Pepper's 4WD Handbook. $44.95. In this second edition of the bestselling 4WD Handbook, four-wheel drive expert and author Robert Pepper provides an in-depth explanation of how 4WDs work. He shares practical techniques for hill-driving, sand-driving, water crossings, as well as driving in mud, snow and sand. In this revised second edition, Pepper includes techniques, photographs and technology from the very latest vehicles. This second edition also includes new chapters regarding off-road towing, choosing a vehicle and driving unfamiliar vehicles. This guide also provides comprehensive explanations of how to get yourself out of trouble — always a possibility when exploring challenging terrain — with detailed chapters regarding recovery techniques. Two copies on hand - can get more.

  2. A Nomad was our Guide. $24.95. William L Grayden. A journey through the land of the Wongi in 1953. This is the story of the first motorized party to make the crossing from the western side of Australia to the Rawlinson Ranges in Central Australia, and of the return journey through the sand dunes of the Gibson Desert. “It's the story of our search for reported remains of the ill-fated 1848 expedition led by Ludwig Leichhardt. Above all, it is a story of the skill and dependability of our Aboriginal guide - Mitawalinya - and his people, the Wongi, into whose land we ventured. For the sake of accuracy and because the circumstances of our meeting and subsequent dependence on Mitawalinya as our guide must be seen against the background of that first motorized journey, the story is recounted from the diary of the actual expedition”. William Grayden.

  3. A Son of the Red Centre. $29.95. Kurt Gerhart Johannsen was an inventor, improviser, bush mechanic and pioneer of the road train industry of the Northern Territory. Born in 1915 at Deep Well Station, 50 miles south of Alice Springs. His inventiveness in 1945 on self-tracking trailers changed the Pastoral industry by making it possible for large cattle trains to negotiate bush tracks. Among other inventions the book also contains a sketch of the Wood-gas producer on which he ran his camping vehicle, "Mulga Express" Mark IV.

  4. Welcome to Woomera – DVD. $39.95. In recent years Woomera has been synonymous with what the government called its "immigration reception and processing centre". Once heralded as a model of suburban living, this historic town was reviled as a 'desert jail'. But the detention centre has closed and now the town is in danger of closing too. A purpose-built defence village that once boasted 6000 residents has dwindled to a couple of hundred, and they face an uncertain future. Spanning 50 years from the cold war to the space age and beyond. 55 minutes

  5. A Natural History and Field Guide to Australia's Top End. $33.00. Written and compiled by Penny van Oosterzee, Ian Morris, Diane Lucas & Noel Preece. An essential guide to Australia's Top End written and complied by renowned naturalists and photographers. The vividly illustrated natural history features landscapes, seascapes and even skyscapes. Descriptions of commonly seen animals and plants are grouped according to main habitats. This is an extraordinary and beautiful companion for living in or visiting Australia's tropical north. Two copies only

Friday Forum

Have you seen anything suspicious? Wangaratta, Victoria.

High country hut burned and cow slaughtered.

The Mayford Broad Gully hut, which stood on private property on the Kings Spur Track near Dargo, East Gippsland, burnt to the ground on the long weekend (Mar 11). The remains of a slaughtered Hereford cow were found nearby.

“It appears people cut a lock to gain entry into the hut and were camping there without permission,” Detective Sergeant Justin Schulze, of the Wangaratta Criminal Investigation branch, said.

CFA and DELWP personnel attended the fire and prevented it from spreading into nearby bushland. The offenders could face charges including trespassing, cruelty to animals, criminal or negligent damages and possible CFA offences.

Anyone with information is urged to phone the Wangaratta Police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Update: Police have identified four ‘persons of interest’.

Simpson Desert Reopened.

The Simpson Desert opened on 16 March 2018, following the summer closure. If you're planning a Simpson Desert crossing, drivers need to be well prepared and drive to conditions. Weather conditions will still be warm, and sand will be soft so remember to drive to conditions (speed limit 40km/h) and take note of signs at junctions and the distance you have travelled. This is particularly helpful in case of a breakdown, as it’s easier for rescuers to find you if you know where you are. Also carry plenty of water, food and fuel and have your UHF on channel 10 so you are aware of others travelling towards you. It is advised to have a satellite phone or HF radio to make scheduled calls to a responsible person who can raise an alarm if you fail to call in. Vehicles need to be well prepared and in good working order, have a tool kit, two spare tyres and other spares. And before heading off, don’t forget your Desert Parks Pass, and most importantly, take your time and enjoy one of the iconic 4WD trips.

Ratings and Masses – the end.

This topic has been discussed at length, both in this newsletter and through many, many emails. The one thing that is very clear is that many of us are still confused. My best advice this week is to go to the experts.

There are helpful technical articles on the Caravan Council website.

Robert Pepper’s 4WD Handbook (featured in the new books section above) has a short chapter devoted to weights. It is only 6 pages but includes charts such as the average weight of camping equipment and where to place heavy, medium or light equipment in your vehicle or trailer. There is also a good article about Caravan Obesity by Robert that was shared on Westprint’s Facebook page on Mar 22.

Carolyn’s Book Special

I’ve been working on re-stocking the shelves at Westprint and found some more slightly damaged books.

Man From Arltunga. Light crease mark on front cover. Normally $25.00, this copy $20.00.

Atlas of NSW Pastoral Stations. Light damage to the bottom spine (looks like it has been dropped). Normally $55.00, this copy $45.00.

Cape York – An Adventurer’s Guide. Ron and Viv Moon. This is the last of Ron and Viv’s excellent guide books as they are no longer producing them. Was $35, this copy $28.00.

Prices subject to postage and handling as above.

To order any of these books please email: 

Mitchell Falls

Re your article about charges now to be applied to visit Mitchell Falls. I am sure I am not alone at being very unhappy about this charge being applied.

It seems we are heading toward locking up/pricing out of reach all our natural attractions & it needs to stop. No doubt the prices will keep going up & difficulty to get passes will increase - in other words, stay away. This area is already a national park & has resources applied to it. These sites belong to all Australians, not select groups or government agencies. How do we stop this behaviour here & in the future? - governments could stop it but they are too afraid to take on any groups doing this it seems. Dennis. 

Product Review

Eco Billy – by Jo

eco billy

The concept of the Eco Billy is nothing new. Think olden day chip heaters where people burned wood chips to heat the bath water. I’ve heard rumours that a similar device was used in the trenches in World War One. At Westprint we have looked at a few different designs and makes and think this is one of the best. We even looked at getting them assembled in China but couldn’t guarantee the food-grade quality of the steel and solder and so we have stuck with what we know. We’ve been using the same billy for more than 20 years now and the only part that is wearing out is the original cardboard box because that is what where we store the billy. In fact, in all the years we have been selling billies (at least 15 and probably more) we have only ever had one return. It was replaced but privately we wonder if it may have been used without water.

We use the large billy which holds about 5 mugfuls. Since our three kids no longer travel with us we pondered downsizing to the smaller size but decided against it for two reasons. 1. We put the excess hot water in a thermos for later use and therefore only boil the billy half as much (and after all camping should be laid back) and 2. We have had several people come in to our shop and comment ‘only one thing wrong with the small Billy…should have bought a big one’. So, unless you are on a motorbike, hiking or have severe space limitations we recommend the larger size.

There is an art to using one of these billies. Upend the billy with your hand over the narrow top of the cone, fill with leaves and twigs, flip it back upright, fill with water and then light the leaves through the holes in the base. The cone shaped funnel draws the fire upwards and the large surface area in contact with the fire means that you have boiling water in just a few minutes. The remaining ash after heating, is minimal, and can be put out with a small amount of water (or a large sturdy boot). A word of advice though, don’t use the billy too close to a communal campfire gathering. The funnel chimney design draws the fire into one concentrated plume of smoke (friends call theirs the scud missile). Even though the smoke only lasts a minute or two there is always that one person who attracts campfire smoke.


A few warnings.

Always make sure the area is clear of flammable material.

More leaves and twigs can be fed in through the top of the flue if required but be aware that this area is very hot.


Small Billy $79.00           Large Billy $99.00

A New Use for a Brewery?

While researching billies and trying to substantiate the rumours – without success - that a forerunner of the Eco billy was used in the first world war, I found the following snippet from a Scottish soldier’s letter. It has no bearing on the Eco Billy review, but I thought it was interesting just the same. This Scott is about to enjoy his first hot bath in two months.

“Last Sunday morning we enjoyed our first hot bath since our arrival here. An old disused brewery has been turned into baths for troops, also under clothing is washed and disinfected, and kilts ironed there. Fifty tubs are provided for washing in and two large vats filled with cold water to plunge into afterwards.”

This was in France. It makes me wonder what happened to the before and after beer.

H.F. Radio Club Inc. VKE 237.

Press Release. March, 2018.

Many travellers and HF users may be aware that the HF Radio Club Inc. was severely compromised after actions taken in November 2016 which left the Club without its Queensland, Northern Territory and West Australian bases. NSW's Cobar base was inoperative at that time. Thanks to a team of volunteer sked operators, day to day operations of the Club continued unhindered. This continued for a month or so until Cobar base was restored to service and a new permanent Queensland base constructed and commissioned at Townsville. Not long after this a temporary Perth W.A. base was commissioned and in the late 2017 new permanent bases were established and commissioned at Alice Springs NT and Cue in WA.

The Committee of the HF Radio Club Inc. are proud to announce that these four Bases now effectively cover the Australian mainland and Tasmania using the Club’s nine frequencies. In addition, the Club has had a complete internal makeover with an interactive website constructed, updated daily and made available to all members. Non-members can see a small sample portion of the website:

The Club now has a seven-member Technical Support Group with extensive HF and other technical skills and expertise; a specialist Website developer and a highly experienced print editor managing newsletters. Sked Operators use a mix of base and mobile radios to cover each twice-daily sked utilising four frequencies to ensure maximum coverage.

In late 2017 the HF Radio Club released its GPS reporting system which sends GPS position data from members' radios directly to member-nominated email addresses, an SMS messaging system from radio to any Australian SMS capable phone and SEMS (Short Email Service) from radio to any email address.

Basic membership is $80 a year. Absolutely everything on offer, including reasonable usage phonecall capability from members' HF radios via our bases to any Australian phone number, GPS, SMS and SEMS costs $100 per year. Emergency RFDS medical assistance is available to every member.

Members receive all newsletters with full reporting of financials and meeting minutes. All HFRC equipment is fully insured and every member and volunteer is covered by insurance at Club events and activities. Progress has been thorough and steady with much testing of bases and systems. The HF Radio Club is financially secure into the future. Further enquiries can be made to:

The club Motto remains – Safety First and Friendship Always.

Holland Track

Thank you to all for your tales of Hollands Track, My family from North Pingrup. The Holland Track passed through the family farm. My Father Frank Altham & his Father came out from England in 1911, when he was only 11 years old and started to make a farm in the middle of the bush. First came WWI, then the depression, then WWII. Only when the wool prices rose in the early 1950s where they were able to prosper. John.

Mystery Objects. 


  • There is little doubt that these historic bits of machinery are remnants of old railway carriages that were transported to the lakes in early May 1962 and used to stem a catastrophic breach of the levee bank at the outlet regulator at Lake Cawndilla. The defensive action took place at Morton Boolka Creek which fed water from Lake Menindee to Lake Cawndilla. It seems to be a little-known fact of modern Australian history, and it is surprising it didn’t surface again in recent times given all the publicity about the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Anyone looking for more detail would do well to visit this link - and listen to the short radio interview given by Mick Ratcliff in 2006. He was the Officer in Charge of the WC & IC at Menindee Lakes when the breach occurred and is obviously speaking from first-hand knowledge of the event.  

I hope this is of some help to the FF readers. Roger 

  • I see you are asking for more information about Menindee and large lumps of steel. I noticed whilst at the woolshed there was a large Fowler (I think) steam engine that had been used on the station to clear/make dams for water. This steam engine is a special version and is fitted with a ploughing winch that pulls a plough or similar between two steam engines. One engine pulls one direction the other pulls the other direction. The implement is often a reversible plough or scoop so that it doesn’t need to turn around and just goes backward across the field. After each pull the steam engines would move forward the desired row spacing, and ploughing would start again.

    I have seen magazines from England showing these steam engines working. I believe that Werribee sewerage farm had a pair of these steam engines set up on rails in their early days. My question; where is the other steam engine (its mate) to the engine at Menindee? Ian

Friday Funnies

Old but still good

Actual news headlines

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Hospital Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead  

Deep within a forest a little turtle began to climb a tree. After hours of effort he reached the top, jumped into the air waving his front legs and crashed to the ground.

After recovering, he slowly climbed the tree again, jumped, and fell to the ground. The turtle tried again and again while a couple of birds sitting on a branch watched his sad efforts.

Finally, the female bird turned to her mate. "Dear," she chirped, "I think it's time to tell him he's adopted."

I think I've found inner peace. My therapist told me a way to achieve inner peace was to finish things I had started. Today I finished 2 bags of potato chips, a lemon pie, a fifth of Scotch and a small box of chocolate candy. I feel better already.

A man was filling out a job application. When he came to the question, "Have you ever been arrested?" he wrote, "No."

The next question, intended for people who had answered in the affirmative to the previous question, was "Why?"

The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got caught."


The Fine Print

How to include your items in the Friday Five.

Articles for this newsletter can be emailed to We cannot guarantee any item will have a particular publishing date as sometimes the FF is prepared weeks in advance, but we do our best to keep topics and events current.

About the Friday Five

This weekly newsletter is designed to be informative and entertaining. Wherever possible we try to acknowledge the source of all information contained in this newsletter. We also try to check for accuracy but being a weekly newsletter this is not always possible. We offer no guarantees for accuracy but we do our best.

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You are welcome to use information from this newsletter but we request that you kindly acknowledge that the information is from the Friday Five newsletter, and that any contributors listed also be acknowledged. To use any information that has a copyright symbol please contact 

To all of our faithful Friday Five readers 

Westprint Contact information:


Phone: 03 5391 1466 

Fax: 03 5391 1473 

Snail Mail: 6 Park Street, Nhill, Vic, 3418.


Please note that the opinions and articles expressed in the Friday Five are not necessarily those of the Westprint mob. Also we do not endorse any products (other than our own) or tours listed in any contributed articles.


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