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Len around 1975 with plaque
Len Beadell examining one of his
Gunbarrel plaques in 1975
Connie & Mick's
Len Beadell Plaque Maintenance Program
Len's punches
Len's original letter & number punches

 

WHAT WE ARE DOING AND WHY

Connie Sue Beadell - 27 March 2015

 

Connie painting post       

Connie & Mick doing plaque maintenance

copyright Patrick Sutcliffe

 

    Coming up to the 20th anniversary following the death of my father Len Beadell on 12th May 1995, I thought a dedicated page was finally in order to help explain the reasons for the 36 Beadell replica plaques that have been appearing throughout the desert (including 2 we will place this year). Len originally stamped around 47 plaques, but other signs he erected take the total to over 50. With a lot of help & support I have been aiming, as representative of the Beadell name, to keep Len's plaques, posts & blazes in good order for all travellers, our tours currently being the ideal means to get around most of Len's roads on a regular basis. Most of the plaques were replaced because of the gross inconsideration of those who felt the need to remove plaques and take them home. This of course happens everywhere and not just with Lennie plaques, but in this case it touches my family and I on a very personal level. I read online somewhere a story of Len's regarding a "gentleman" who had proudly reported to him at one of his talks that the said gentleman had one of Len's plaques hanging above his bar at home. I'm here to tell you that the story is absolutely true, much to Len's astonishment. With all of the thefts that have gone on over the years, including well before Len died, only a handful have ever been returned. An odd few have been found strewn out into the bush, a few others have been lost due to raging bushfires and yet others were collected by persons unknown and are on display at places like Giles Weather Station. Another annoying thing is the defacement of Len's posts and plaques (see below).

    I make the replicas as exact as I can (although Mick tells me they are too neat, not having been made on the bonnet of a Land Rover), and are made with Len's original letter & number stamps. Some are placed on new posts due to deterioration of originals and bushfires have taken their toll too. Eventually they will all be on steel posts to preserve them for the future. By the way, I reluctantly started to remove Len's originals to replace with replicas around 2003 after one theft too many; in fact I had argued with my Mum about this very thing as I had wanted the originals to remain in the desert where they belonged. So far, only one of my replicas to date has been stolen and I hope this epistle does not encourage the removal of any more, but I wanted everyone to understand what we are doing and why.

    Please, if you have a plaque somewhere (it doesn't have to be hanging over your bar) return it anonymously and
we will eventually find an appropriate and safe place to put them on display for all to see.
Better still, don't take it in the first place.

 

Plaque recently discovered
A previously unknown plaque turned up recently

    An exciting discovery through friends recently was this previously unknown plaque from the Gunbarrel Highway. This plaque Len apparently placed on a Desert Oak and is dated April 1956, just 2 months before one nearby and with very similar information. The known plaque is on a post just north of Mt Fanny and marks the most easterly point of that north-south section of Gunbarrel. This new one, according to mileages stamped on it, was 8 miles to the north.

    I offer my sincerest gratitude to the unknown person who gave it back and it is now securely housed at Giles Weather Station for all to see. By the way, there is no record in Len's diary of when he erected either of these 2 plaques near Mt Fanny, it was quite possibly later on as the stamped dates do not usually reflect the date he placed the plaque.

    An interesting thing to note is the shape; to my knowledge he only made a couple with this pointed top. One other was on the now-destroyed Desert Oak 110 miles west of Mulga Park on the Gunbarrel (that one is dated March 1956).

 

Connie ruling up new plaque
Connie ruling up new plaque
Getting setup
Getting ready to stamp
using Len's original punches
Connie stamping
Connie starting to make the plaque

 

New plaque on the way
The new plaque is well on the way
Ghost Gum plaque - Sandy Blight Junction Rd
Replica on Ghost Gum.
New plaque will replace this one in 2015,
Sandy Blight Junction Rd
Replica ready to go
Connie's new replica closer

 

ANNE BEADELL MEMORIAL

 

Mick final touches
Mick putting the final touches on our
Anne Beadell Memorial post
Placing the Memorial
Putting it in place
Connie painting new post
Connie painting it

 

Plaque closer
Connie's plaque on behalf of family
same fixed
The finished Memorial, Anne Beadell Highway
Lat 28 o 21' 56" S ; Long 125 o 05' 07" E

 

EXAMPLES OF DAMAGE

 

painting on Len's tree
Graffiti on the same Ghost Gum, SBJn Rd
Vokes Hill Corner
Vokes Hill Corner plaques intact
Plaque missing at Vokes Hill Corner
Missing plaque in 2014

 

Another missing plaque
Another missing on the Gunbarrel in 2009
same fixed
Cleaned up with new replica

 

Bulletholes - Sandy Blight Junction Rd
Bullet holes in plaque
damage to plaques
Annoying vandalism
This one escaped fire
This replica on Len's tree escaped
bushfire but needed a cleanup

 

Mick cutting back blaze
Mick chopping back overgrowth around blaze
MICK & HELPERS Mick shaving post
Mick "shaving" the post ready for repainting

Since Len's death I have had many people helping me with the plaques and to each of you I offer sincere thanks.

My grateful thanks especially go to my husband Mick who willingly labours to help me in my projects.

Other wonderful helpers include David & Margaret Hewitt, Roger Henwood and those enthusiastic folk who travel with us on our tours.
My deepest appreciation also goes to all the travellers who appreciate our efforts to maintain these little pieces of history, and report to us anything amiss.
Lastly I would like to especially thank the Aboriginal folk for their keen support, through whose Lands most of Len's plaques are now situated.

 

Mick adjusting a plaque
Mick helping with a plaque
Ready for placement
A new post Mick made to replace
an original Desert Oak
that burnt to ashes on Gunbarrel
Mick placing new post
Mick placing his new post,
110 miles west of Mulga Park
(my replica does not have the pointed top
as per Len's original)

 

Post needs a paint
Post near Mt Fanny needed a paint
Helpers painting post
Tour helpers repainting the post
Much better
Much better

 

    As an addendum, Mick & I have placed another 10 plaques of our own about the place including explorer route crossings
and relative to Len's Callawa Track. Quite a few of these are no longer accessible due to Aboriginal Land permit restrictions on travel over the Callawa Track.
Of those still accessible, one points to Len's plaque east of Jupiter Well, no longer on the main road due to relocation,
and a couple are related to the burnt Ration Truck (now at Kiwirrkurra). By the way, two of Len's plaques on the southern end of the Mt Davies
to Anne's Corner road are missing but we won't be in a position to replace those anytime soon, partly due to Aboriginal APY Land permit restrictions
and also due to the severe deterioration of that section of road.

 Thank you for being interested enough to read this page. We appreciate the support and enthusiasm out there for these little replicas of history.

 Please send any comments to Connie Sue Beadell

 

 

 

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