Trek 2015 – Alice Springs Trek

Trek 2015 – Alice Springs Trek

Alice Springs Trek 2015

Alice Springs Trek – August 6th to September 14th

On Wednesday 5th August, members of the Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club congregated at Kondinin for the start of the 2015 trek to Alice Springs. Soon after arriving, everyone made their way to the Men’s Shed in Kondinin for a welcome BBQ. It was a cold night, however we were greeted with two large fires and everyone soon formed groups around these to keep warm before moving inside the building. Entertainment for the evening was provided by guitarist Kevin Butler along with 9G Club members, Brenda Barr and Jack Bock. Brenda sang several songs and Jack recited one of his own poems entitled “Salt Water Ted from Knobby Head”. This had special significance to the Dongara members as Ted was well known in Dongara.

The Shire of Kondinin and the Kondinin Men’s Shed made a generous donation towards the Club’s fundraising. The hospitality shown by the Kondinin community was very much appreciated.

Photos 1: Kondinin – 4th to 6th August

Lucy Murray, a Graduate Diploma of Broadcasting student from ECU, kindly attended our start at Kondinin and sent this link to the story she downloaded which makes for interesting viewing.

The following morning we set off for our first camp site at Lake Johnson. In no time the fire was lit and the camp ovens were on. Our travels from there took us through Norseman, Frazer Range then on to Balladonia. We continued on from Balladonia towards the Trans Access Road. Most of the journey along this road was slow due to pot holes, rocks and dust. Vision was difficult at times with the tail wind blowing all the dust back over our vehicles. Several trains passed by as we slowly made our way to Forrest. Our group received great hospitality here by Managers Sandy and Mark Nash. During a very enjoyable three course meal, Mark provided us with information on the history of Forrest, a railway siding named in honour of the first Premier of WA, John Forrest. Before leaving the following morning we were invited to visit the museum and the hanger at the airstrip. We continued on our way travelling SE through limestone country towards Border Village.

Photos 2: Kondinin to Border Village – 6th to 12th August

After two nights in Border Village our journey continued along the Old Eyre Highway. The landscape here has many large cave systems and blow holes so there were many stops made along the way to photograph and explore these.

Koonalda homestead, with old shearing shed and outbuildings was an interesting stop over, along with a visit to the Koonalda cave which was enormous. This cave provided the water supply for the early settlers.

We left the Old Eyre Highway at the Nullarbor Roadhouse and continued along the bitumen highway to Fowlers Bay where we had an overnight stay. Everyone participated in the community BBQ which was organised by the proprietors of the caravan park. Several donations towards the Club’s fundraising were received at this event.

Photos 3: Border Village to Smoky Bay – 12th to 17th August

Next stop was Smoky Bay via back tracks through some scenic cropping country. Another group BBQ was kindly provided at Baldwin’s Caravan Park with everyone enjoying a feast of Smoky Bay Oysters. Entertainment was provided by singer Jodi Martin. A film crew was present collecting footage for a new programme called Back Roads which will be shown on the ABC later in the year.

Our journey continued on from here to Streaky Bay then up through the South Australian Gawler Ranges to Coober Pedy where the WA members met with the Eastern States group, bringing the number of vehicles in the group to approximately 30. After another camp out and a very enjoyable drive through the Painted Desert, everyone soon arrived at Dalhousie Springs in the remote Witjira National Park. Most people took advantage of the opportunity to swim in the main spring. These thermal springs emerge from the Great Artesian Basin deep below the surface and are said to be therapeutic.

Photos 4: Smoky Bay to Alice Springs – 17th to 27th August


Before arriving in Alice Springs on Thursday 27th August we visited the Old Andado homestead which has volunteer caretakers in residence these days. It was very interesting to walk through the homestead and learn more about Molly and her family’s life on the station.

During our stay in Alice Springs, Club members visited the Transport Hall of Fame, and the Chamberlain 9G tractors participated in the Grand Parade which was held as part of the Transport Hall of Fame 50th Anniversary celebrations. There were numerous activities and events in Alice Springs during our visit, and it was great to be a part of the celebrations while we were there.

Photos 5: Alice Springs to Kings Canyon – 30th August to September 2nd


Kings Canyon, which is in the Watarrka National Park, was our next stop where we spent many hours exploring the walking trails and taking in the wonderful views across the canyon. We stayed two nights here then travelled on to Curtain Springs Wayside Inn & Cattle Station. The following morning the Eastern States members set off to visit Yulara while the WA members headed south to make their way back to WA via the Mulga Park area, and further on to Warburton. The scenery through this area was spectacular. From here we continued on down the Connie Sue Highway through Neale Junction Nature Reserve to Rason Lake Road which took us through Plumridge Lakes Nature Reserve. This track proved to be a bit challenging with bush and stakes very close to the edge of the track. However, with some excellent teamwork shown between members we all made it through without too many problems.

Photos 6: Kings Canyon to Kalgoorlie – 3rd to 13th September


The trekkers arrived in Kalgoorlie on Sunday 13th September. We all joined together for an evening meal before going our separate ways home the following morning. Apart from a few trailer repairs and the ‘odd’ flat tyre, everyone agreed it was another very memorable trip.

Many enjoyable nights camping out around a camp fire, coming into contact with a wide variety of flora and fauna, visiting interesting towns, lots of laughs (especially when Butch and Mick joined in with their special awards each night!) and more funds raised for the Club’s chosen charities, RFDS and Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital.

Thank you to the members who put in so much time planning this trek. Thank you also to those who spent time ‘out the front’ to guide us through to our destination each day.

Photo 13th September – Wind-up dinner at Kalgoorlie


Thanks to Di Turnock for diary notes.. Photos and video link courtesy of Lucy Murray – photos also from Hugh Campbell, Di Turnock, Kerry Bywaters and Carol Suter



I’m classing wool, I’m rousabouting, I’m picking up the dags

I’m catching ewes and wethers and penning rams and stags

We’re north of Jerramungup and miles from the pub

But I could have been in Alice Springs with the 9G Tractor Club.


We started our adventure at Kondinin town

With a barbie at the Men’s shed, some singing and a clown

Then we trekked across to South Australia and loved every single day

But we had to pull the pin when we got to Streaky Bay.


‘Cos our sons had started shearing, they wanted us to work

And we didn’t feel inclined our duty for to shirk

So we left our new found friends and came back to the West

Yet we’d have loved to have gone to the Alice with the rest.


We met a lot of characters on our journey through the scrub

A noble lot they were from the 9G Tractor Club

Like our leader Faulky who kept us all in line

He’d ring the bell, address us all and get us off on time.


And Georgie Bass who broke an axle on his caravan

But stuck it up with scrap and wire with the help of handy Anne

Chris the ‘barbie builder’ burnt all the wood we had

But he kept the home fires burning. Barry was his Dad.


Ron and Hughie ‘Cumber’ drove solo all the way

All across the Nullarbor and down to Streaky Bay

Susan cared for Charlie when he couldn’t go to sleep

He had to count the crows ‘cos there wasn’t any sheep.


Ken and Zandra Taylor kept us entertained at night

With yarns around the campfire, some wrong and sometimes right

Stan and Noreen’s trailer was six inches off the ground

Yet by some quirk of luck they towed it all around.


Tim and Vicky were there to lend a hand

And explore the wonders of this fantastic land

We won’t forget the time when Rosie bogged the ute

Somewhere East of Zanthus on the Trans-continental route.


Barb and Dick the camel catcher from the Willemenup stud

Led the convoy from the 9G tractor club

He thought he was a camel catcher but he couldn’t catch a cold

They chased one beast for twenty Ks, or that’s the story that he told.


Mary walked for miles through scrub and rock and sand

Why you’d walk instead of ride I just can’t understand.

Dianne and Graeme were there to drag the chain

Last from start to finish, through dust and wind and rain.


Cedar and his grandkids kept us on our toes

Mitchell and Joshua and pretty little Rosie

Lisa left her bagpipes at home beside the bed

So she brought her husband Enzo along with her instead.


They even somehow conned me to recite a poem or two

Every tale I told was absolutely true

‘cept for some slight exaggeration –poetic license not a crime

If you stretch the truth a little bit, it helps to make it rhyme!


I know we’re rather biased and a little bit insane

But there’s something very special about a Chamber…lain

They were made in West Australia with a huge amount of pride

With a spring on the front axle, they gave the smoothest ride.


They were a very innovative tractor in their early life

High speed gears, a cab and bench seat for the wife

The business was a huge success with no mortgage to the banks

Then for some unknown reason they sold the whole lot to the Yanks!


You will find it oh so common when the Yankies come to town

They buy up big then skin the cat and close the whole lot down

Chamberlains are made no more, my tears would fill a tub

That’s why we owe a special debt to the 9G Tractor Club.


I’m classing wool and rousabouting, I’m picking up the dags

I’m catching ewes and wethers and penning rams and stags

We’re north of Jerramungup and miles from the pub

But we could have been in Alice Springs with the 9G Tractor Club!