Friday Five Newsletter 2018.10.5


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Westprint Friday Five  Friday October 5th 2018

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

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

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


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Friday Five Books

  1. John Flynn. Ivan Rudolph. $29.95. John Flynn is one of Australia’s greatest folk heroes. His achievements are stuff of legend - no other Australian has had more monuments dedicated to him than John Flynn. Flynn established a network of cottage hospitals, flying doctors, patrol padres, welfare centres and radio transmitters to create a Mantle of Safety that would allow the Outback to be habitable for men, women and children. First published 1996. This edition 2012.
  2. No Options, No Choice $21.95. The story of Thomas Corbett and the Moore River experience. "You may think I'm raving on, or just talking to hear myself talk, but I am deadly serious. These were the times when I was young. I've lived through them and they are very real to me. After all these years I still remember and feel so angry at our being treated like dumb animals. We were degraded beyond the concepts of any basic human rights. We had none. I don't know how we Aborigines even survived such dominance or despair. But survive we did, and I am living to tell my story”. First published in 1994.
  3. In Search of a Wild Brumby. $25.25. When Mike Keenan decided to search for a brumby to add to his dwindling stock of farm horses, he never dreamed he'd find himself crashing down a mountain in classic Man from Snowy River style. But he lived to tell the tale – and the result is both an adventure story and a compelling portrait of the life and troubled times of the Australian brumby, and of the mountain people who live alongside them. What does the future hold for the brumbies that have roamed the Snowy Mountains and other wilderness areas for more than 150 years? Are they part of our unique heritage, or merely feral creatures threatening delicate ecosystems? As his quest for a brumby of his own is overtaken by his growing interest in their plight, Mike shares campfires and rollicking yarns with a host of bush characters who could have stepped straight out of Banjo's poem. 274pp. First published in 2002
  4. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia. $49.95. Steve Wilson & Gerry Swan. Paperback with Plastic 560 pages. A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia has been the most comprehensive field guide available for Australian reptiles since the first edition was published in 2003. As new species are discovered, known ranges extended and higher quality images become available, updated editions of the book have been written to reflect these changes. This fifth edition includes images, descriptions and maps for all 1,011 species of reptiles described up until the end of December 2016. Some of these are pictured in life for the first time, and many are represented by several images to depict geographical and sexual differences. The book features easy to use diagnostic illustrations to explain anatomical features, a comprehensive glossary, and the more significant reptile habitats are pictured. Each species has a clear and concise text description to aid identification, with diagnostic differences from confusion species given in bold font. Each species has a distribution map and image(s) on the facing page. For ease of use, indexes to both scientific and common names are provided. Designed as field guide, with a sturdy plastic cover and compact layout, the target readership for this book is anyone with an interest in reptiles, whether scientists or amateurs.
  5. What Lizard is That? $25.00. Steve Wilson and Gerry Swan. Softcover 184 pages. Australia has a unique and diverse lizard fauna with nearly 650 named species, and this list grows each year as more are discovered. What Lizard is That? offers a glimpse into the lifestyles and variety of these amazing Australian animals. This book covers all the main groups of Australian lizards and includes general pointers on appearance, behaviour and ecology. Illustrated with hundreds of striking photographs, it is an invaluable reference and guide for the enthusiastic amateur or keen naturalist. Reptile experts and authors Steve Wilson and Gerry Swan have written many books on Australian reptiles including What Snake is That? and A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia.

Friday Forum

Information wanted – Wire Forks

  • The fork was made by Mick Perks who worked on a property on Lolworth Creek about 35 km north of the Towers. At that time, about the mid-1980s, I had an outback tour company out of Townsville and one of our favourite stops was to see Mick, his dog and his whip skills. He was a great bloke. He would never take payment for his efforts and the visitors saw a truly Australian bushman.

Mick did that wire work on an old rusty worn out vice in a makeshift lean to shed surrounded by various busted trappings of a cattle property.

His dog was just as much a character as was Mick. He would be telling us a story, turn to his dog and say, "get my hat". The dog would run back into the house and fetch the hat and Mick would then say, "not that one we are going to town" the dog would return the rejected hat and produce the "town hat." He also did a trick with my hostess wielding his rather long stock whip he would crack the whip, then with her arms at her side, he would put three or four turns of the whip around her body - a bit frightening for her but he never marked her.

We still have one of those forks hanging, pride of place, in our lounge. Ours has a brass brazing rod incorporated into the design. Mick died some years ago, a quiet but proud man, a true gentleman of the bush. David.

  • I have and still use a similar Fork that I purchased in Nevertire NSW about 35 years ago I believe it to be made by a local in Nevertire from fencing wire, hope my memory is correct. It’s permanently packed in the Prado and still gets used as a toasting fork on our camping adventures. Keep up the good work on the Friday Five, always a good read. Manuel

manuels fork

Manuel’s fork

  • I bought a toasting fork from the groundsman at Theodore Showgrounds while camping there in June 2014. The groundsman told me he makes them. He did have a number of them. They were snapped up by other campers. Overall length is 68cm. Kev.

kev 1

kev 2

Kev’s Fork

  • I’m really curious about the woven fork. What diameter is the wire that it is made from? It looks like it has a stamping on the top of the curves of the wire running length ways on the fork. What are they or are they just bending marks? A very interesting bit of wire weaving. Greg

I’ve asked Phil for more detail on the size. Jo

Hann's Track. W.A.

When visiting Western Australia, you can now follow in the footsteps of that very successful 19th and 20th century explorer, Frank Hann.

A new track: "Hann's Track", which follows some of the many exploration routes of Frank Hann between 1895 and 1908, was opened a few years ago. The track is primarily located in the Great Victoria Desert. It starts at Laverton and follows various tracks, seismic lines and parts of the Connie Sue Highway up to Warburton, and then returns to Laverton by way of the Great Central Road. It's a 1,239-kilometre round trip with the longest section without access to fuel being 700 kilometres, so you will need sufficient fuel capacity for that distance plus of course the usual margin for safety.

The track encompasses everything from sealed highway to totally off-track travel, (although there should now be wheel tracks to follow in the off-track sections due to the usage of the track). And you should do this trip with at least one other vehicle.

Permits are required, and are available by email at or or alternatively by phoning the Ngaanyatjarra Land Council (who are located in Alice Springs) on 08 8950 1711. The Permits are free. Tell them you would like to travel Hann's Track, and they will issue the appropriate Permits.

But before you make any inquiries about a Permit, or make any plans, you really do need to obtain a copy of a wonderfully informative booklet, which has all of the information you will require to travel the Track, including a small scale map, historical info, information on the various track sections, maps used, detailed track notes and waypoints, and some very informative general information. The information on your selection of tyres for the trip is very informative indeed. Unless you know someone who has undertaken the trip, there is no other way of obtaining sufficient information to safely enable you to do it, except by way of the booklet.

The booklet is available from Westate Publishers in Kalamunda in WA, via their website and is $24.95 plus postage, or by telephone on (08) 9291 8303.

Access to the areas of Hann's Track south of the Great Central Road has been made possible by the cooperation of the Ngaanyatjarra Land Council and the Traditional Owners of the areas. Their willingness to share their land with visitors under the Permit system is very much appreciated. John

Footnote: If you would like more information about Frank Hann and his explorations, the very good (coffee table size) book called "Do Not Yield To Despair", which was compiled and edited by Mike Donaldson and Ian Elliott details Frank Hann's explorations. Ian Elliott was also primarily responsible for the coming into being of Hann's Track and it was he who authored the Hann's Track booklet. The book "Do Not Yield To Despair" was dedicated to a man by the name of Bob Collard. Those of you who have travelled the Sandy Blight Junction Track might well have noted the memorial plaque to Bob Collard located on a ghost gum at Bungabiddy Rockhole.

Anne Beadell Highway – S.A./W.A.

Having recently completed the Anne Beadell Hwy I agree completely with both advices given last week. The vegetation is beautiful but the corrugations on the SA side are horrendous. Equally as bad as those on the abandoned section of the Gunbarrel Hwy and north and south of Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route.

Be prepared for your van and vehicle to be continually scratched for a couple of hundred km to the point where the corrugations seem better than the scratching. Destroyed both of my UHF antenna. If you do take your van would you be so kind as to provide FF readers with the chassis number, so we don't buy it secondhand. Vince

Jim Jim Creek alert – Kakadu NP, NT

The Jim Jim Creek crossing is currently 0.8 m deep. Access is strictly by high-clearance 4WD with vehicle snorkel. Please adhere to all warning signs and do not enter the water.

This is crocodile country.

• Always be aware that crocodiles may be present anywhere that there is water.

• Unless there is clear signage that it is safe to swim, assume that crocodiles may be present.

• Warning signs are there for your benefit.

• Always check with local and rangers whether an area is likely to contain crocodiles.

• If in doubt, always swim in designated swimming areas only.

• If there's no sign, don't go swimming.

Information Wanted – Canning Stock Route, W.A.

I am currently planning a Canning Stock Route trip for next June/July. What do you have any on the CSR and its history, books maps or otherwise. Our currently planned route is to head towards Winton from Brisbane then down to the southern end of the CSR from Ayres Rock then North towards the Wolf Creek Crater then onto the Simpson via Alice and Dalhousie Springs. Peter.

Unique business opportunity, W.A.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions is calling for Registrations of Interest from suitable individuals and organisations interested in obtaining a lease over the former Ludlow forestry settlement for heritage, educational, scientific, recreational and/ or tourism purposes.

The former Ludlow forestry settlement comprises 11 workers cottages, a former office, sawmill, school and works depot and was permanently registered on the State Heritage Register in 2006.

The lease opportunity would require the successful applicant to finance the restoration and/ or development and to manage the maintenance of the area for the term of the lease.

If you think that you have the skills, experience and finance necessary to obtain a lease over the settlement, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions would like to hear from you. It is essential that interested parties obtain the Guidelines for Submissions available at or by contacting Matthew King by email: or telephone: (08) 9219 8499. The closing date for submissions is 2:30pm (WST) on Thursday 18 October 2018.

Crossing The Dead Heart – N.T.

In one of the many conversations I have had with readers about the book Crossing The Dead Heart, Jeff kindly offered to write the story of his 2010 crossing of the Madigan Line. The story will run over three weeks. Jo.

I initially read about CT Madigan in 2008. It was rather sketchy details about him crossing the desert in 1939 and that got me to thinking about the Simpson Desert which I had crossed 5 times previously. By 2009 I had traversed all the tracks including the Rig Rd, QAA line, WAA line, Knolls Track, K1 Line, Warburton Track and of course the track up to the Beachcomber Oil Well and the Hay River Track.

I started to seriously research the route Madigan had taken and was able to get hold of the book Crossing The Dead Heart through my local Library who were able to transfer a copy from the library at the University of NSW.

I was now determined to follow in Madigan’s’ footsteps from Camp 1 through to Camp 25. I made all preparations including permits from Central Lands Council and Adria Downs whose land we would cross on the Queensland side.  Adria Downs informed me that it was not possible to access Camp 24 for they would be mustering that time of the year and did not want us in that area, not to mention the degree of difficulty getting there. I decided that I could do this crossing in 12 days with a rest day halfway at Camp 11 which I learned was a nice camp site. Being a bit of a ‘navigation nut’ I purchased all the Topo Maps relevant for the trip a total of 8 1: 250,000 maps and plotted my course onto them. I love my GPS, but I can’t go anywhere without my maps.

Day 1. I used Mt Dare Station as our base for Departure and set off with great expectations. Our plan for Day 1 was to reach the destination of Camp 2. The track north saw us visiting Old Andado Station and the Mac Clark Conservation Park which is the home of the Acacia Peuce, the Waddy tree which is only found in this location and one other north of Birdsville. After leaving the park we headed to East Bore about 75 Km away. The track at this stage was typical of the area being able to maintain a speed 50-60KPH. However, 10 km after leaving East Bore the situation changed dramatically. The supposed track to Camp 1 was nonexistent and after a 30-minute search I decided to scrub bash on a direct line to the Camp. Occasionally one could see faint wheel-tracks, but they disappeared as quickly as they came, the GPS showed the way and as we approached I was very excited to reach Camp 1. Only to be disappointed to find a lone star picket with a rusty tin can perched on top. This area was very scrubby and ill defined, I knew we were in the correct spot as the Lat/Longs confirmed it. We had a celebratory drink (of water) and set off in an easterly direction for Camp 1a nine kilometres away, the going here was slow just pushing through the scrub, following the GPS’s direction. It was about 40 minutes later that we saw the star picket and a small plaque attached indicating 1a, placed there by Owen Correa of Outback Adventures in 1994.

Leaving this location, we struck a station track which guided us directly to Camp 2 our first night’s camp. This was well defined 2-wheel track and we were able to speed along at 40kph, arriving at 4.30 pm.  A dingo was observed on this track and many photos were taken as he was quite happy to pose for us. That first night was a bit of a relief for me as all the planning and preparation was finally paying off, I had been a bit obsessed with the planning over the past 12 months. Particularly the fuel situation, typically my vehicle burned about 15L/100 Km of diesel on previous desert crossings and I’d worked on 650Km crossing from Mt Dare to Birdsville. I decided to take 190 litres for the built-in tanks plus 2 x 20 litre jerry cans giving me 230 litres.

Day 2 and my intentions were to reach Camp 5 and stay the night there. We were on the road by 8am and still on a well-defined track, stopping for an early lunch, climbing the hill and photographing Madigan’s Monument placed there by Les Spriggs. We had received Transit permit to enter the area of Camp 3, 4 and 5. We finally found the track to Camp 3 which was fairly easy going and arrived about 45 minutes later travelling a distance of 15 Km. At every camp we photographed the plaques to show our route.

Permits to follow the Madigan Line do not currently allow access to Camps 3 & 4.

Shortly after we left Camp 3 we were in the flood out area of the Hale River and the vegetation changed dramatically from grassy flat plains to dense scrub. We searched around looking for some semblance of a track to Camp 4 but to no avail. The GPS was pointing the way, directly into a wall of thick impenetrable bush. I drove up and down the Hale looking for a way around this obstacle, mindful of the possibility of tyre staking, but came to a dead end. Did we really want to push through it? And maybe do some damage to the vehicle?  At 1200 hours we found a small cleared area and made coffee and thought it over. The Hale river runs north/ south so after a quick recce and a study of the TOPO maps I reprogrammed the GPS and decided to head north east to Camp 5 where the vegetation started to thin out. It would be slow going but doable. The map indicated a distance of approximately 15 Km and the GPS concurred, so off we went, slowly weaving our way in and out of the bush picking the easy route, sometimes backing up and moving around various obstacles. We hit the Colson Track at 1645hrs with great relief.  We were about 500 metres north of Camp 5, which I had planned for. It’s always a good idea to aim off a little in this case north then you know to move south onto your intended location, after the scrub bashing for 4 hours, driving along the Colson was equivalent to driving a 6-lane expressway.

So, day 2 was quite successful with the navigation but I was a bit bitter about missing Camp 4 (maybe an excuse for another trip).  We were all fairly knocked up that evening and after dinner and a couple of beers it was bed by 2100. Jeff. 

Continued next week.

Friday Funnies

The rain was pouring down. There standing in front of a big puddle outside the pub was an old Irishman, drenched, holding a stick, with a piece of string dangling in the water.

A passer-by stopped and asked, "What are you doing?"

"Fishing" replied the old man.

Feeling sorry for the old man, the gent says, "Come in out of the rain and have a drink with me."

In the warmth of the pub, as they sip their whiskies, the gentleman, being a bit of a smart ass, cannot resist asking, "So how many have you caught today?”

“Actually, you're the eighth!"

Language is a complex and fascinating aspect of our lives that scientists believe to have evolved out of a series of grunts and hand gestures. From those primitive beginnings, languages have been born and have died, with complex systems of understanding built on basic foundations. Here are some of the most interesting language facts from around the world.

There are 2,700 languages with over 7,000 individual dialects spoken around the world today.

Every two weeks, another language dies. Or, perhaps, a dialect.

The Bible is the most widely translated book available in 2,454 different languages. Pinocchio is a close second

The language with the largest alphabet in the world belongs to the Cambodian language Khmer and is 74 characters long

The oldest known languages include Sanskrit, Sumerian, Hebrew, and Basque.

Learning a second language can make you smarter. Other studies also suggest that speaking more than one language can help to slow down the aging process of the mind

Languages are constantly influencing each other. For example, the English language is, in itself, 30% French, as it has adopted words through lexical borrowings

And the best for last, there is a language in Mexico that is in danger of dying out because the remaining two speakers refuse to talk to one another!

How does Moses make tea?   Hebrews it.

Venison for dinner again?   Oh deer!

A cartoonist was found dead in his home.  Details are sketchy.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Typo.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

When chemists die, they barium.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity.  I just can't put it down.

I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words.

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

Broken pencils are pointless.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

Velcro - what a rip off!

Don't worry about old age; it doesn't last.

The Fine Print

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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To all of our faithful Friday Five readers 

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