Beadell Tours Updates from 2017 to now
Beadell Tours Updates from 2005 to 2010
Desert Updates from 2000 to 2004
FROM 2011 TO 2016
Another desert season has come and gone and we would like to once again thank our wonderfully enthusiastic and supportive participants for coming along and enjoying and exploring the desert with us. Mick & I ended up mostly off the Beadell roads this year but we are back on again in 2017, with the Anne Beadell & Connie Sue Highways and Gunbarrel Highway featuring in amongst others. We have a number of Beadell plaque projects to fit in including general painting and the like. One very disappointing incident that occurred this year was the theft of my replacement plaque at Everard Junction on the Gunbarrel in mid July, so that will be replaced on our Wanderer tour in September. It never ceases to amaze me how selfish some people can be, and that goes not only for the stealing of Len's plaques but in general camp etiquette and road awareness. Despite the odd failure though, most of us are very respectful travellers, in awe of how lucky we are to live in such a country, our deserts so diverse and fascinating and worthy of great consideration. Anyway, for a brief of where we went this year please click here Beadell Tours 2016.
|Water at Separation Well, May 2016|
The Canning Stock Route was our first tour, a big trip as usual with much to see. The weather was very hot and dry to start with although pools of water were about from previous rains. Thankfully, after about 10 days the hot spell broke with rain and cooler conditions. We escaped the worst of the rains though, and with good management didn't miss anything or have too much trouble (including a flat tyre tally of only 1). We received permission to visit the historic Separation Well, the track in quite overgrown with spinifex and required much clearing of debris. Close to the Well itself the track disappeared altogether but we soon made our way in around the lakes, conditions very wet with a contended Hoary-headed Grebe swimming on the claypan/lake nearby. Separation Well was the point at which Charles Wells & George Jones separated from the Calvert Scientific Exploring Expedition, on 11th October 1896, to cover more country, an ultimately fatal journey for Wells & Jones. For us, drinking water was no problem along the CSR although being early in the season some of it was a bit earthy in taste. Well 18 sported a brand new handle and bucket, courtesy of Track Care WA, the water crystal clear. Camping areas had also had refurbishment since our last CSR tour in 2011, including at Well 26, Well 12 & Windich Springs (the latter still has no potable water available). We met a few groups travelling on the CSR, but we purposely chose to travel early in the season to escape the bulk of the traffic and corrugations and this year was no exception. Diesel prices were as expected - Halls Creek 139.9 cents / litre, Billiluna $2.60 / litre, Kunawarritji $3.40 / litre, Parnngurr $3.20 / litre and Wiluna $1.43 / litre. All in all, a full and rewarding trip.
|The rare Ptilotus marduguru
near Godfrey's Tank
|Godfrey's Tank - mostly dry||Well 18 with new handle and bucket|
|Aboriginal paintings and petroglyphs at Onegunyah Rockhole|
Our second tour was a continued exploration of the country south-east of Laverton. There is so much to see in that part of the Great Victoria Desert and this year was no exception. The weather was pretty grey and cool however, we only had a few days of blue sky which impacted on our photos more than anything else. Previous recent rains had made parts of our route rather boggy, so we reversed the order in which we travelled and gave a couple of detours a miss.
|Even rarer - Eremophila sulcata, now called sp. Gt Victoria Desert,
at Plumridge Lakes
|Dr Hicks Range|
After a spell at home, we joined the Desert Discovery Inc group for a scientific project in the Great Sandy Desert, prior to our successful expedition, before continuing our explorations of the south-west country between Esperance and Nullarbor/Coorabie. The latter tour was a curious mixture of seasons, what with initial freezing temperatures with wind & hail as well as hot north winds and 40 degrees later on. A couple of photos from the wonderful Nullarbor follow, including the very historic Ooldea Soak which we visited with permission from Maralinga Tjarutja......
|Knowles Cave||yellow Cricket - Pareremus|
|Many caves have Aboriginal
blown hand prints
|Ooldea Soak||Lovely Myall country|
Many thanks once again to everyone who assisted and participated this year. Many were Beadell Tours veterans of up to 10 trips and we are so grateful for the friendship and enthusiasm. Just one big happy family!
Merry Christmas to everyone out there and may 2017 be full of safe and happy exploration!
|Best wishes from Connie Beadell & Mick Hutton
Welcome once again to my Brief of our extremely enjoyable touring season for 2015. Great thanks go as usual to our wonderful participants, those who put their faith in us to guide them through the deserts and provide them with a worthy and enjoyable experience. We did not succeed with everyone but if feedback is anything to go by we did for 99.8%. We had our usual good mix of regulars and new hands this year, a good combination of experience. Our one failure was the departure of a new fellow who left us mid trip without a word; Mick & I would like to reiterate that we cannot fix that which we don't know is broken. We do our best to cater to the needs of everyone along but from time to time clairvoyance would be an advantage! Other than that it was a very fulfilling year. Please see Mick's tyre and vehicle reports for more details on those things which challenged and educated us - 2015 Vehicle Report & 2015 Tyre Report. By the way, our page on HF Radio Networks has been updated also this year so for more information on the merits of HF communications please see - HF Radio Information. Our heartfelt thanks go to Wayne Reid of Reids Radiodata ("Bush Telegraph" and "Bush Telephone"). His continual support and willingness to help in any way he can is pivotal to the safety and smooth running of our operations.
This year was also the 20th anniversary of the death of my dad Len Beadell and to mark the occasion I wrote a new page for our website on the history of our Beadell plaque replicas - Plaque Replicas. During this year Mick & I cleaned up and replaced the plaque on the Ghost Gum near Giles (a second replica), the same tree from my 2013 report below that had been graffitied with red paint. The blaze cleaned up really well and with a fresh coat of paint and a new plaque (the old one seemed to be rotting, possibly due to sap from the Gum) it was almost as good as new (for an old tree). Thankfully all evidence of the red paint affair was all but gone.
|The old blaze & plaque needed some work||Mick chopping back the blaze||Finished blaze with a new plaque & coat of paint|
Other plaque projects this year included replacing the small "Anne Beadell Highway" plaque stolen from Vokes Hill Corner (Anne Beadell Highway) and various repainting, all with very willing help from our touring friends. We have much more planned for the future so watch this space!
We travelled the Sandy Blight Junction Road a couple of times this year and after a touch with a grader it was in pretty good nick. Bungabiddy rockhole in the Walter James Range was the lowest that I had ever seen it in regards to water level. This year was fairly dry, for us at least, in the deserts but despite this fact in general the many rockholes we saw and rediscovered (the latter on our very interesting expedition) were more often with water than without (the rockhole in the picture was the prettiest colour of them all....). By the way, the Giles Weather Station balloon tours are no longer being run so if you want to see the weather balloon launch you have to do it from the road near the outdoor measurements enclosure. Unfortunately Graham Nelson, the excellent guide from Warakurna Community, has left now for good and there is no-one apparently willing to take his place. Meteorological staff at Giles have been cut to the bone and find that they don't have time to run them either, so a valuable and informative experience is, at least for the moment, no longer on offer. One bit of good news. Diesel at Warburton was around 40c per litre cheaper than Warakurna, at least mid year it was. A very welcome surprise!
A quick little plug if I may; we had a wonderful visit to the Purple House at Kintore on the north end of the Sandy Blight Junction Road. It is one of a series of dedicated units for remote area Renal Dialysis. Ronnie, Noel, Sue & Mary were very keen to show us around and explain about their great work. It was fascinating and we thank them for their time and hospitality. Please see the website for more information on this terrific program - Western Desert Dialysis.
The Connie Sue Highway was much as it was last year, good in parts and in others corrugated. We did not get permission to visit Point Lillian this year, a great disappointment, but we thank those at Warburton for the opportunity to visit other special places along the track. A couple of other special permits were granted as well this year and for those we are equally grateful (unfortunately we are not able to elaborate on these as part of our agreement).
By the way, I mentioned above that a regrade improved the SBJn Rd. On our final trip the road west of Yulara was wonderfully relaxing (a grader was still hard at work), especially after Mick and I had traversed it in July and it was extremely corrugated, particularly the eastern end. The western end of the Gunbarrel, from "Carnegie" Station to just short of the Mangkili Claypan Nature Reserve, was also in the throes of a huge revamp as is seen in the photo (right).
Our second tour was a terrific little trip with Series 1 Land Rovers. They went really well and were very cute indeed (for more information on a couple of niggly problems please see Mick's vehicle report, link above). They definitely looked at home in the bush!
|Series Land Rovers at the wonderful Coorabie Farm Stay,
ready to go
|Grass Trees, western GVD, unscathed despite bushfires.|
Anyway, I seemed to have rambled on. Suffice to say that there was much admired and explored this year with much more yet to come.
Roll on 2016......
Best wishes, Connie Sue Beadell
Hello everyone. Yet another good touring year for us has now been completed with much new country explored and exciting features discovered. We extend a hearty thanks once again to all of our friends who joined us in the desert this year and of course special thanks go to those who helped us in our efforts to make our tours as interesting and informative as possible. Please see Mick's tyre and vehicle reports for more details on those things which challenged and educated us - 2014 Vehicle Report & 2014 Tyre Report.
Our May tour was originally designed to allow for more adventurous exploration but earlier wet weather meant that water pools and boggy conditions (the latter mainly around Lake Rason) made things a bit tricky. In the end we explored as well as we could without going too far off track. It also meant that we had the privilege of seeing Queen Victoria Spring with water!
Our Expedition was successful with approximately 640 kms off-track allowing us time for exploration and discovery within the unclaimed areas of the Gibson & Great Victoria Deserts. Water was patchy with surface water in some sites but others proved to be dry. By the way, one of our participants also proved that there is more than one way to cook peas in the bush.......
Our August Ranges tour was a busy one with much to see and do. Starting at Kulgera the Gunbarrel west was a bit rough here and there but we did find a grader regrading between the communities of Nyapari & Kanpi. As we reported previously, Len's 110 miles west of Mulga Park Desert Oak was hit by lightning then burnt in fires in 2012. This year Mick made a beaut new post on which he placed a new plaque that I had made for the occasion (an exact replica of the previous one). With an Aboriginal elder from Kanpi with us we erected the post at the site of the burnt tree and painted it white. On that trip we also renovated the post nth Mt Fanny & even repainted the 200 mile rock on the Sandy Blight (it is now back to looking like a white marshmallow). Another wonderful visit was enjoyed at Blackstone with terrific paintings from the Papulankutja Artists amongst purchases made (we heard later about a devastating fire which had subsequently burnt much of their stock of artwork; we wish Jane & all of the artists the very best in their attempt to recover from the loss). Roadwise, the Sandy Blight Junction Road was very much as usual - the south end to the Tjukurla community turnoffs was in very good nick after which a few odd potholes, patches of corrugations & sandy bends were found but all in all it was not as bad as previous years. During the tour two vehicles unfortunately had to leave the tour part-way with only one of those due to vehicle failure. Overall though we enjoyed the tour with lovely fine weather and superb wildflowers.
|Water at Queen Victoria Spring||Cooking peas in a beer tin|
|Mick & Connie's new 110 mile post on Gunbarrel Hwy||Wildflowers on the Anne Beadell Hwy|
Finally, for our Wanderer tour the fantastic wildflower display continued. I spotted a lovely little Verticordia in flower on the top of Point Lillian (see below), probably jamiesonii, and Mick identified 4 Princess Parrots (around 60 kms east of the Serpentine Lakes. He also saw a few Scarlet Chested Parrots amongst others. We did find the Anne Beadell Highway quite corrugated from Mabel Creek to Emu as per usual, but to the west of Vokes Hill Corner it was also corrugated, far more so than we have ever seen it before. The only loss on the plaque front this year was at Vokes Hill Corner; disappointingly someone has stolen the smaller "Anne Beadell Highway" plaque Len placed on the Vokes Hill post underneath his main plaque. The Connie Sue Highway corrugations around the northern breakaway country were not too bad, the David Carnegie Rd was slow but OK north of Empress Spring; namely rocky patches and washouts (with many detours) required care as did wheel ruts, limestone and light corrugations (the northern tip of the road was regraded leading to Mungilli Claypan). Earlier on we had found similar patchy conditions on the Hunt Oil Road interspersed with many very good sections and also spinifex here and there between the wheeltracks. By the way, the road west of Yulara to the border was very rough although it was in the process of being regraded in October.
|Len's missing plaque at Vokes Hill Corner||Verticordia, probably jamiesonii|
All in all, another successful year with next year already shaping up to be a fulfilling one. Thank you for taking the time to read our website and please keep the comments and questions coming.
Well, another touring season has come and gone and we extend a hearty thanks to those who shared our adventures this year. We had a successful year overall with wonderful groups, manageable weather and very good co-operation in regard to permits. More of that later. We didn't have too much trouble with vehicles except for one that left a tour mid-way to get a stressed chassis repaired - see Mick's 2013 Vehicle Report. Tyres were more of a problem although quite a few of the flats were due more to bad luck. Poorly fitted and/or repaired tyres prior to trip commencement and a lack of maintenance were contributing factors in some cases. Mick explains his observations about tyres and tubes for 2013 - 2013 Tyre Report.
Mick & I performed quite a bit of maintenance on Len's markers this year. I repainted many that were in need but there is still much to be done as usual. Some require more extensive work including the placement of a few new posts that we didn't have time to organise this year (including the 110 mile tree - see 2012 below). My replica plaques are still in situ for the most part but some are damaged with bullet holes or scratched by annoying vandals. One incredible thing that occurred in the last 12 months were big red letters painted on the side of Len's Ghost Gum near Giles, a shocking thing to do even if it wasn't Len's tree. We scraped off the paint and left the tree to do the rest and it looked much better. A big thank you to those who willingly helped this year plus the rest who patiently waited around for me to finish!
|Connie repainting on the
|Newly painted blaze west Warburton|
|Graffiti on Ghost Gum near Giles||After we scratched off the paint|
One thing that we found this year was continuing co-operation in regard to special permits (not off-track permits unfortunately but ones for special features). However it is still only in a few areas and only after a lot of work and time on our part. Finding out who to contact to discuss permit possibilities is the first big thing, someone who actually knows what and where you are talking about (not as easy as it should be). We had good responses in general this year though with an emphasis on the tourism dollar on the agenda for an increasing number of Aboriginal areas. The trouble is it takes years for anything to happen on the ground which is why we are trying our best to ask the question of these groups directly, in the long run to help them as well as ourselves. Once negotiations are at an end more often than not we have been asked to keep our agreement to ourselves so we can't even point others in the same direction. In one specific case though our efforts were patchy, namely the Kidson Track (see our link Permits). We found Margaret Rose extremely hard to get in touch with but we did finally get a verbal agreement from her in relation to travelling the Kidson Track. She told us in mid-2013 that an official permit application is being set up and that a fee per vehicle would be instituted but it is unclear to us at this stage when this will start and where you would go to apply. If you wish to travel the Kidson Track then I would suggest starting with Margaret Rose then if that doesn't work go to the YMAC website directly. We wish you the best of luck!
A big thank you must go to those who assisted us with our permit applications this year and those involved souls whom we met along the way. It was an extremely interesting year......
|Birthday Cake||Flowers on the Windy Corner Rd|
|Looming weather||Water on Mungilli Claypan|
Hello to everyone from Mick and myself. After another wonderful year of exploring we would like to take this opportunity to collectively thank those of you who joined us on our journeys. We had many familiar faces among the new with the camaraderie as good as we could hope for. Fine weather made for good camping for the most part but rendered rockholes generally dry with spring not as spectacular in regard to wildflowers. For the low-down on the nuts and bolts of the year please click on the links - 2012 Vehicle Report - 2012 Tyre Report and 2012 Koni Report .
For the first half of the season we enjoyed ideal weather with hardly a cloud in the sky although here and there it did get a little chilly. The Anne Beadell and Connie Sue Highways are now officially 50 years old and the central ranges are still as magnificent as ever. Mick and I have a fair bit of Lennie plaque & post work to do next year with weathering taking its toll as well as damage from extensive bushfires that raged around much of the deserts this year (I pity the poor old animals). More on that later. One sad note however; a magnificent old Desert Oak on which Len placed a plaque 110-miles west of Mulga Park (on the eastern section of the Gunbarrel) is now in ashes. It suffered lightening strikes over the last couple of years which had gradually killed the old tree then fires completely burnt what was left. This tree was also special to the local Aboriginal folk who preserved some of the ash. Luckily Mick & I had been through just prior to the fires and seeing the dead tree had removed my replica plaque in order to place it on a steel post nearby hopefully next year. This is the first of Len's trees that has been destroyed but quite a few of his wooden posts we have replaced over the years.
The 110 mile west of Mulga Park tree in 2007 The same tree with my replica plaque in 2012, after the fire
**IMPORTANT - A few changes travellers should be aware of -:
Weather was mostly not an issue this year with hardly a cloud in the sky all season making camping out ideal, at least until our final "Forrest" tour in September. In general that tour was a rather warm and windy one which exacerbated bushfires that seemed to be plentiful this year. We were impacted on the Gunbarrel during our "Forrest" tour after leaving Carnegie Station with verbal information that scheduled burning by DEC, Central Desert Native Title Service and traditional owners was being attempted but initially thwarted by poor conditions. We had no problems initially, smokes from fires visible but localised so we did not appreciate the extent of them until the winds took a turn for the worse and with astonishing speed whipped up the flames, so much so that we had to get off the Gunbarrel for 4 kms (near Geraldton bore) in order to escape the numerous fire fronts. We cleared an area and had little sleep that night as the fires burnt all around us.
Internet and radio warnings of active fires are not much help to those of us actually out in the scrub. Written warnings of intended burning, and current burns that are potentially a risk due to weather forecasts, should be more prominently on display for tourists, for example at Carnegie Station. It wouldn't hurt either for DEC to include the permit people when sending said information. In addition, a flyer or Internet link could be included in approved permits warning in advance of intended burns (there is not much you can do about those started by lightning strikes). At least it would give those of us who bother applying for permits a heads up. We did see a plane flying about on the 19th (don't remember seeing one on the 18th), the day after our experience. By the way, Len's tree west of Everard Junction survived but was rather singed and Geraldton bore was burnt all around but remained quite OK. We have since learned that Len's drum at Everard Junction was burnt, mainly affecting the rubber tyres around it.
In future we will be much more aware of how quickly fires CAN get out of control in desert areas especially on days of high hot winds (I'm talking under 30 mins here). It sounds obvious but the speed surprised us and we have witnessed first-hand many fires in remote desert country over the years. In our case a scheduled burn apparently re-ignited but if this was an example of how prescribed burning helps to PREVENT larger bushfires then I would say that in this instance they failed.
Smoke on the horizon ahead 30 minutes later (zoomed in)
Fires burning 360o around camp that night Our tracks back to the Gunbarrel from camp next am
As usual, if you want to see a brief summary of our 2012 trips then please click on the link 2012 trips & summaries .
Merry Christmas and may your travels be safe in 2013......
Connie Sue Beadell, November 2012
It has been a very good year for Beadell Tours. We had tremendous luck in dodging the rain and the rain that had fallen earlier in the year resulted in a spectacular display of wildflowers. We have not seen such a wonderful display of Blue Pincushion (Brunonia), Snowflake (Macgregoria racemigera), Daisies, Trigger Plants (Stylidium) and Sand Hibiscus (Ayogyne pinoniana) for many years, just to name a few. Many rockholes were also full as were creeks and claypans (including Lake Cohen on the Gary Highway) resulting in birds by the thousands, particularly Zebra Finches & Budgies. We also saw a pair of Princess Parrots on the Anne Beadell Highway about 40 kms east of Ilkurlka (mid September). We ran 5 trips this year and they were full of lovely people who were lucky enough to see the desert at its best. What more could you ask for (assuming you ran a tour company in the desert of course....). We would like to thank all of you who travelled with us this year and particularly those who helped us with our plaque maintenance. There was quite a bit of work to do this year and we had many willing hands to help us. On the Anne Beadell Highway tour we erected our memorial to Mum in Marble Gums on the western portion of the Anne Beadell Highway. Mick made a fine RHS post to hold my plaque and after painting it was a fitting tribute. Prior to the season commencing family and friends travelled to Woomera to place Mum's ashes in with Lennie at "Lennie's Rest" and fit a brass plaque. Please see our Anne Beadell memorial page for pictures Anne Beadell Memorial page.
The mighty Canning Stock Route was our first trip and what a trip it was. Water was plentiful, so much so that we took the western detour around Lake Gregory and to cross Savory Creek we had to take the (very) wet weather route. We were unable to get into Well 25 due to flooding and various other areas had detours which did not pose any problems. Flowers were spectacular though and grasses were high. Travelling in May also had its advantages in that the track was fairly quiet of travellers (no problem with campsites and firewood) and the corrugations were mild. Durba Springs was a wonderful place to have a break from travelling but if visiting beware of walking around in the tall grass with thongs; the ants were quite aggressive! The CSR history is fascinating; it truly was an amazing achievement to have created a stock route out in that country only to have it in use for such a relatively short time.
Our expedition saw us once again exploring the country east of Laverton. Frank Hann featured heavily on this trip with the country full of features and places that he visited and named in the early 1900's. We had a total of 13 flat tyres between 4 vehicles so it was a pretty good tally for a 28 day trip of exploration! We followed up the expedition with another Beadell Tracks Wanderer trip which saw us travelling on many of Len's roads. We did quite a bit of plaque & post maintenance this year as mentioned above, including repainting the post on the south end of the Sandy Blight Junction road and replacing a rotting post on the WA / NT border on the Gary Junction road. Once again I am grateful to everyone who willingly helped us with these projects despite rather warm weather!
The Anne Beadell Highway tour was followed by a Nullarbor Explorer, both of which went well despite some vehicle problems. Mick had some expert welding help in fixing a trailer which had broken at the base of one of the springs, and on the final trip Mick ended up welding the front end of a Troopie after a radius arm bracket broke off the diff housing leaving a crack that was dripping oil. Despite these events things finished smoothly in Esperance for a successful, if wet, end to the season.
As usual, if you want to see a brief summary of our 2011 trips then please click on the link 2011 trips & summaries.
All the best for a Merry Christmas and a safe 2012......
Connie Sue Beadell, December 2011
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