Friday Five Newsletter 2018.10.12

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Westprint Friday Five  Friday October 12th 2018

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

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


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Visitors are welcome to call in at 6 Park St, Nhill, Monday to Friday. Please phone/email beforehand as we are not always open. Phone. 0353911466.

Friday Five Books

  1. Women of Spirit.  Anne Crawford. $30.00. Inspiring true-life stories of women who've grown up connected with the country or who've fallen in love with it or with the men working it. Women who've struggled through bushfires, floods, poverty, discrimination and accidents to come out smiling at the other end. Stories of hardship, triumph, resilience and love. Anne Crawford has woven together the extraordinary true stories of nine inspiring women from remote parts of Australia - whether that be the bush, the mountains or the outback. The women featured range from hard-bitten bush women to those who've left the city for a new challenge. Together they share their stories of lives forged in often inhospitable conditions, the hardships imposed by isolation and the personal trials they endure to live there. Women of Spirit is a wonderful snapshot of strong women living quiet but important lives in Australia today. First published 2014.
  2. Aboriginal Fables & Legendary Tales. $21.00. A.W. Reed. First published: 1965, Paperback 137 pages. Price includes postage. How did the porcupine get his spikes?  How was the Murray River made?  Filled with mythical half human, half animal beings such as the Rainbow Snake and the woman who changed into a kangaroo, this extraordinary collection of legends and fables explains how the animals and birds appeared in Australia, and how the lakes, rivers and mountains were made. Gathered from all over Australia, these legends have been passed down through the tribes for thousands of years.  Here they are re-told for a new generation of readers. Aboriginal - Fables & Legendary Tales is a magical introduction to the world of Aboriginal folklore and the Dreamtime, for all those interested in Australia's colourful history.
  3. Outback Pioneers. Evan McHugh. $25.00. There were few more exotic places in Australia. Tribal Aboriginal people could still be seen around the town. Camel trains slowly made their way through the red-stone gorge that split MacDonnell Range. Rugged cattlemen and hard-bitten prospectors strode the streets.' In Outback Pioneers, Evan McHugh gathers the enthralling stories of the men and women who opened up the Australian outback and, in the process, discovered the beauty and terror of this extraordinary country. We meet the little-known convict explorer John Wilson, the first European to cross the Blue Mountains (though history favours the proper English gentlemen Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson); we follow Australia's greatest drover, Nat Buchanan, as he blazes stock routes from one side of the country to another; and we marvel at the genius and grit of the men who overcome political treachery to build the Coolgardie Pipeline and the Trans-Australian Railway. There are some delightful inclusions: a gentle Pakistani cameleer who saves foolhardy expeditioners; a nerdy ham radio operator who invents the pedal radio and paves the way for John Flynn's Flying Doctor; two bush nurses who toil in the ruins of a pub while saving outback lives; and the modern-day pioneers who battle apathy to save endangered wildlife. Plus, there are the intriguing stories of R.M. Williams, the Cattle King James Tyson, and the women behind the CWA and the School of the Air. 277pp. First published in 2008, this edition 2009.
  4. Goldie. $32.95. Bill 'Swampy' Marsh has been writing about the Australian outback and its people for many years. But as well as being a writer and storyteller he is a collector of rich outback characters -- and Jack 'Goldie' Goldsmith is, he says, a gem among many. Born in the Blue Mountains more than seventy years ago, Goldie was a troubled, reckless boy. When he was fifteen he left home and school and took off for the bush with his mate Bluey. It was just after World War II and there was massive unemployment, and he had to take whatever job was going. In his travels throughout western New South Wales and Queensland Goldie worked at everything: he picked potatoes, trapped rabbits, was a shearer, roustabout, railway fettler and ringer, among many other jobs. And before long Goldie became known as the kind of bloke who could do anything -- and who probably would. Bill 'Swampy' Marsh tells Goldie's story in his own words, and the result is a rich and vivid account of a fast-vanishing Australia, with its values of mateship, willingness to give anything a go, determination not to let the bastards get you, and spirit of daring and adventure. 276pp. First published in 2008, this edition 2009. One copy only in stock - will not be getting any more.
  5. Kokoda Lieutenant. William Leonard Grayden. $32.00. 2015 edition, 157 pages, illustrated. Lt Bill Grayden, under Brig. Arnold Potts, led his men in the bitter fighting of Kokoda in 1942. This book is possibly the only one written by one of those who fought, rather than by a distant armchair observer. The Isurava-Ioribaiwa segment of the Kokoda Track campaign is one of the most significant in Australia’s military history and yet is one of the least understood in terms of its significance. It was in the mountains and swamps of New Guinea that the previously unstoppable Japanese Army was turned for the first time by a small dedicated Australian force in the most inhospitable terrain imaginable. The almost certainty of Japan establishing a forward base for attacks on Australia and cutting our all-important supply line from the United States was averted. While many books have been written on Kokoda, few, if any, of the authors served in the campaign. This is the story of the men who fought under the inspired leadership of Brigadier Arnold Potts in the land equivalent of the Battle of the Coral Sea. Kokoda Lieutenant – The Triumph of the 21st Brigade is a book that should be read by every Australian and particularly by serving and former members of the ADF. It should also be compelling reading for the relatives of the men who served at any stage or in any of the Australian units in the Kokoda Track campaign. The Kokoda Track campaign averted a very real and very serious threat to mainland Australia. It was, in every sense, a war on Australia’s doorstep. This was Australia’s Thermopylae. In 480 BC Leonidas and his 300 Spartans destroyed a far superior force but died to the man. We remember the Spartans, and their message, ‘Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.’ Our soldiers turned back a superior force in appalling conditions, and at terrible cost. Hampered by degenerate leaders, MacArthur and Blamey, it was a remarkable achievement. The book introduces the 2/16th in the Middle East, and discusses the return to Australia, the US forces, and Bill Grayden’s time with Mitchell’s Guerilla Warfare Group. Two copies hand - can order more.

Friday Forum

McPherson’s Pillar, Gibson Desert South, WA.

Sixty-nine kilometres north of Everard Junction, an obscure track heads east from the Gary Highway*.  If you follow that obscure track to its end, approximately 30 kilometres away, you will come to a low, round pillar of conglomerate rock atop a spinifex covered, rocky knoll.  That low pillar of conglomerate is McPherson’s Pillar.

The Pillar was named after a prospector, Gilles McPherson, by the explorer David Carnegie in 1896.  McPherson had essentially followed the tracks of an earlier explorer, Ernest Giles, acrossWestern Australiaand east to the Central Australian Telegraph Line.  Carnegie had cut the tracks of McPherson and his camels during his own explorations and followed them for about 20 kilometres.

 The Pillar, the top of which is only about 20 metres above the track, is the highest point for hundreds of square kilometres. It affords panoramic, 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside, including the Alfred and Marie Range further to the east, and Nipper Pinnacle to the north east. It is well worth the short scramble to the top of the Pillar just to enjoy the absolute emptiness that unfolds in front of you. It also drives home, in no uncertain manner, the bravery, skill, toughness and determination of those early explorers and prospectors, and the harshness of the terrain they were battling through.

The track is not difficult to find, (it’s clearly marked on the Hema maps), and is quite easy to follow. The track is sandy, with a few stony and rocky patches, and is slightly overgrown in a few places.

About 12 kilometres from the start of the track there is a very interesting blaze on a ghost gum. That blaze gives every indication of being a fairly recent removal of bark by local aboriginals to make a “coolamon”.

Exactly 1 kilometre before the end of the track there is a small sign attached to a tree. The sign gives the direction and distance to the Pillar and to another nearby feature: Mulgan Rockhole.

Mulgan Rockhole is located at the end of a 2.3 kilometre track. There are a few rocky sections to negotiate, particularly at the very end, but nothing too difficult. About 30 metres off the track from the apex of the turning circle at its end, you will see a small, low sign on a star picket. The Rockhole itself is just behind the sign and is about a metre across. It was full of reasonably good water, about a metre deep, at the time of our visit, with hordes of native bees and wasps competing for a drink. The Rockhole was visited by David Carnegie on 1st September 1896, but regrettably, he found it to be “filthy and smelling”. Not even his camels would drink the foul-smelling water.

For such a short detour, McPhersons Pillar and Mulgan Rockhole are well worth a visit. And you never know, nearby Lake Cohen could well make a great campsite, complete with a fantastic water view. John and Fran

*N.B.:  Whilst a permit is not required to traverse the Gary Highway, permits are required to access it. 

macpherson 1

macpherson 2

rockhole sign

 tree sign

Wire Forks

We had a query last week asking the size of the original fork. Here is the reply.

You asked for the size of my wire fork 13.5 inches long it looks like 2mm thick. I was also wondering if these gentlemen who made the forks made anything else it’s sad that the first person you said has passed on is there any more information on him.  Philip

What’s On?

Murray River Retriever Association's - Murrays on the Murray is on again from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th October 2018 at Morning Glory Resort, Gilmore Road, Moama. Saturday is the AGM but also a welcome to all Murray owners to come and enjoy the day. If you know anything or have owned the breed often called a "Curlie" we would love to meet you and hear all about your knowledge and see photos if you have any". Dianne

Crossing The Dead Heart

I have just received my copy of CT Madigan’s book “Crossing the Dead Heart”. Sadly, I couldn’t really afford the hard cover, but (listen up all you Friday Fivers) the soft cover version is beautifully presented and well worth the $34.95 plus postage. We are heading to Parachilna this weekend, and I’m looking forward to having a good read of it in between emu burgers, the odd gin and tonic (or two). Millny

Hann’s Track Query

I read with interest the article on Hann's Track and was wondering if it was suitable to take my off-road Vista RV van. I am in the early stages of planning next year's trip and this may well fit in nicely; if I can take the van. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Malcolm

Looking for old track logs – Canning Stock Route

I am looking for the site of the historic track from well 36 to 37 on the Canning Stock Route. Tracks out there last a long time if you can find a little bit of it at ground level to start from but using satellite imagery is too hard for the older Well 36 to 37 track. If anyone has old track logs of the Well 36 to Well 37 alignment that they are willing to share, please let me know. Peter

Second Hand Selection

The following books are not available on our website. To order any of these second-hand books send an email to If more than one person requests any book a ballot will be held on Monday. This week we have a selection of books by Paul Brickhill. All are hardcover in reasonable condition. Some have dustjackets (usually in poor condition). Cost of books is normally $10-20 each plus post. This week’s special price $8.00 each. Postage is $9.50, regardless of the number ordered. Titles available are:

Reach For The Sky

The Deadline

The Dam Busters

Escape or Die.

Crossing the Dead Heart in 2010

Part 2 of Jeff’s story.

Our second night on the Madigan Line (ML) was uneventful but very satisfying. Now we would be heading due east for the next 10 days for about 400 Km before turning south down the Eyre Creek then east again along the QAA Line and civilisation. Therefore, leaving Camp 5 was really the point of no return and a commitment to finish at Camp 25.

Day 3 was typical of the next 10 days, no track, looking for easy crossings of the sand ridges, and most times hitting the bottom of the horsepower sapping ridge as hard as possible to get yourself over ready for the next. Many times we would need to walk the ridges to work out the best way across. On a couple of occasions, we ‘d arrive at the top of the ridge only to find an almost vertical drop off on the east side which was most disconcerting. The other issue we had was most of the ridges were covered in ‘Parrot Pea” which was about a metre and a half high. Imagine driving up a sand ridge flat out the engine revving it’s guts out, you have no idea what’s beneath you and you have to just ‘go for it’ Each time we crossed these ridges I thought of Len Beadell and his stories of crossing sand ridges in the Western Deserts.

All this was very energy sapping for both driver and passenger. To add to the ridge crossing was the added problem of driving in the swales between dunes. These areas were covered by Moguls or Spinifex mounds which were about 4-500 millimetres high. We tried driving over them at different speeds and going around them, but in the end you just accepted it. The constant driving over them placed enormous pressure on suspension and tyres. The ride for both passenger and driver was very uncomfortable being thrown from side to side, you could almost feel the chassis and body twisting in opposite directions, in fact attacking the sand ridges was some relief from the seemingly endless motion. Progress was walking pace. A funny situation was that a moth flew into the cabin and settled on the A pillar for a while then flew out again only to fly off in front of us going much faster than us.

An example of our progress was that on the 5th day we had travelled just 28 Km. Lunchtimes were a godsend, a half hour break from the constant sideways motion. You often got out of the car with wobbly legs for the first 10 paces. We ate little. Now don’t get me wrong we were still having a great time loving every minute, especially when we stopped for the night.

My plan was that we would stop at Camp 11 on the afternoon of day 6 and have a rest day there, which turned out to be a great move, a couple of hundred metres north we found a suitable area with plenty of Gidgee wood for a fire and some shaded areas, it was nice to have a free day to roam about, a bit of make and mend and even a decent wash from the bucket. Whilst I checked under the vehicle every day for excess vegetation, it was time to climb under and have a good look around testing for loose undercarriage parts however everything appeared OK and so my peace of mind was satisfied that the Toyota was performing well. Our fuel consumption after driving 453 Km in 60% High Range and 40% Low Range was 15.8 Litres per 100 km this is for the 4.2lt 6-cylinder non-turbo diesel.

We departed Camp 11 but before leaving, signed the visitors’ book which took us all by surprise when first noticed the afternoon before. Now the same conditions of big moguls and big sand ridges were presented to us yet again. The same low speed then the rocking and rolling then the charge up the ridges to arrive at the top with a sigh of relief and then the controlled slide to the swales. Many times we needed to drive up or down the swales to find the ‘easiest’ way over. We always attacked the ridges at a 90-degree angle even though it was sometimes tempting to approach at 45 degrees, we didn’t need a rollover situation out there, it was also important to then get back on your navigation line to the next camp.

Once we departed Camp 13 the terrain improved 10-fold. Suddenly we noted a two-wheel track in front, the sand ridges reduced in height from 30 metres down to 10 metres the moguls were gone as was the ubiquitous Parrot Pea. We were able to move along at 40 KPH, it felt like we were doing 120KPH!  It was quite exhilarating. We arrived at Camp 16 (the blaze tree) on the Hay River track in the early afternoon. After the mandatory group photos, we moved on to find Camp 17. It was here that the sand ridges started to increase in height, forcing me at one to have 3 attempts at crossing. I had obviously grown complacent after the recent expressway drive from Camp 13 to 16.

Having crossed the Hay River track for me was the 2nd phase of the trip, it was very satisfying that we had all arrived at the location unscathed and in good spirits.

Friday Funnies

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

'One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,' said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery, so he slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, 'One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me...'

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

'Come here quick,' said the boy, 'you won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!'

The man said, 'Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk. When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, 'One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.'

The old man whispered, 'Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can see the Lord!

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, 'One for you, one for me. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done...'

They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him. 

Mick and Paddy had promised their Uncle Seamus, who had been a seafaring gent all his life, to bury him at sea when he died.

Of course, in due time, he did pass away, and the boys kept their promise.

They set off with Uncle Seamus all stitched up in a burial bag and loaded onto their row boat.

After a while Mick says, 'Do yer tink dis is fer enuff out, Paddy?'

Without a word Paddy slips over the side only to find himself standing in water up to his knees.

'Dis'll never do, Mick. Let's row some more.'

After a bit more rowing Paddy slips over the side again but the water is only up to his belly, so they row on.

Again, Mick asks Paddy, 'Do yer tink dis is fer enuff out Paddy?'

Once again Paddy slips over the side and almost immediately says, 'No dis'll neva do.' The water was only up to his chest.

So on they row and row and row and finally Paddy slips over the side and disappears.

Quite a bit of time goes by and poor Mick is really getting himself into a state when suddenly Paddy breaks the surface gasping for breath

'Well is it deep enuff yet, Paddy?'

'Aye 'tis,

NOW hand me dat shovel.'

I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.

He didn't want to marry her for her money, but he didn't know how else to get it.

Stress is when you wake up screaming & you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.


The Fine Print

About the Friday Five

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