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In This Issue
Walloway Train Crash
Secret Rocks!
Painted Desert Opportunity
Birdsville power
Trip itineraries 2012
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Issue: 21 April  2012

Dear Subscriber,

The Gawler Ranges trip a couple of weeks ago is the first time I have included this itinerary as a personalised 4wd tour.
We visited the Gawler Ranges many times with the bus,and
many of you will remember Jenny busily preparing meals for us in the shared kitchen at Mt Ive Station.
It was this necessity to bring all our own food and provisions for the 2 days at Mt Ive that caused me to delay offering the trip in the Landcruiser.

Enter the latest addition to the vehicle ....a new Waeco car fridge!! - It was certainly tested during the trip and I am pleased to say performed very well, particularly as the weather was rather warm!

So Gawler Ranges is back on the itinerary list!

The other trip this month was to Lake Eyre North where there is still water in the southern areas around Jackboot Bay, Belt Bay and the several islands. The contrast of colours was a highlight our guests enjoyed. I have included in this newsletter a couple of articles of interest from these travels.

I had hoped to be able to get to Coongie Lakes this year however the latest information from the National Parks Ranger is that the road will not open until about August due to the floodwaters. There is still water to enter the Lakes system
from the Cooper Creek and our departures are therefore deferred for another year. My apologies to those people who had expressed interest and booked on these trips.

We are off to Terowie Anzac Day to attend the opening
of the World War 1 Soldiers photographic Collection as mentioned in last month's newsletter. It will be a full day trip and  return via Dares Hill circuit and Mt Bryan.

I am off on a personalised trip to Eyre Peninsula and the Head Of Bight in September . The trip explores Eyre Peninsula including Port Lincoln and Coffin Bay to Point Labatt, Streaky Bay, Yalata and Nullarbor. It may become one of our regular itineraries!

Hope all is well and for those in South Australia, enjoy the great weather!

Cheers for now,


Walloway Train Accident

Walloway train crash

Travelling from Eurelia to Orroroo,we mention the collision at Walloway of a north bound goods train and
a southbound train carrying 170 bullocks consigned by
Sir Sydney Kidman.

On our trip home a few days ago, we made a 1km detour to see the memorial wall built by voluntary labour in stone recovered from the now-demolished Orroroo Goods Shed.
A view of the wall can be viewed here.

The inscription reads:

"This monument was erected to mark the centenary of the Walloway railway accident that occurred near this  

site at 2.30am on 16 November 1901.


A south bound train loaded with 170 bullocks suffered brake failure on the descent into Walloway speeding through the unlit siding and smashing head on into a north-bound train loaded with flour and copper ore.  


Sam Eager the fireman on the stock train was killed instantly. His counterpart on the mixed train, Jack Brodie, also died at Walloway 2 1/2 hours after being pulled out of the wreckage by Mike McCauley, a passenger on the train. Both engine drivers miraculously survived, although one suffered severe burns.


Both trains were wrecked. Flour, ore and dead bullocks were scattered and mixed with the smashed rolling stock. The injured stock were shot by Trooper Beinke of the Orroroo Rifle Club. Two young girls, Nell and Bridget Kain, ran from their home nearby to give first aid and comfort to the injured men. Each of the girls later received a gold watch and chain from the South Australian railways in recognition of their brave and humane action.


Monument erected by the Orroroo Goods Shed Heritage Group, November - 2001"


There are some interesting extracts from newspaper correspondents of the time concerning the crash.
Steamtown In Peterborough includes the accident in their Sound and Light show.

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Secret Rocks!

Leaving Kimba on the return leg of our Gawler Ranges trips,we travel through the Middleback Ranges to Whyalla.

Around 70kms in the Ranges before Whyalla is a location once used by the Barngala Aboriginal people as a source of water.
Explorer Edward John Eyre became the first European to visit the area in 1840 and noted "it appeared to be the favourite hunting place of the natives."

The entrance to the parking area is right next to the Whyalla road, and the grey granite gneiss hill is worth climbing!

Eyre named the cluster of 3 hills "Refuge Rocks" because he too recognised the importance of the rock holes and springs for fellow explorers and the pastoralists he hoped would follow.

The Rocks did prove vital for pioneering pastoralists including Pinkerton, King and Sinclair, droving their stock from Port Augusta and Middleback Station to Eyre Peninsula in the 1850's.

Pastoralists subsequently increased the water supply in the 1900's by building concrete walls (which can still be seen today) against the rock faces.

Middleback Ranges

The Rocks provide commanding views of the Middleback Ranges, and are a stronghold for several nationally threatened species, including the Sandhill Dunnart and Malleefowl.

Secret Rocks was purchased from Cooyerdoo Pastoral Station in 2005 with funding assistance from the Federal Government National Reserve system and is now a privately owned Class A Nature Reserve under Heritage Agreement and the owners are John Read and Catherine Moseby of Ecological Horizons Pty  Ltd.

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The Painted Desert!

There are 2 seats !  available on this 9 day Outback trip departing Saturday 5th May.


Highlights include the Oodnadatta Track from Marree to William Creek,the Great Artesian Basin Mound Springs, Coober Pedy and the "Breakways" - a striking & unique example of arid scenery.


 Arckaringa Hills


A full day trip to The Painted Desert explores the Arckaringa Hills, returning via Moon Plain to Coober Pedy and comfortable underground accommodation at the Lookout Cave Motel.


TFurther diverse interest awaits as we head home through Woomera, visting Roxby Downs and Andamooka.


A full itinerary can be viewed here. 



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More energy in Birdsville!

ERGON Energy is set to begin design work on a replacement  

for the geothermal power station for Birdsville. 


Birdsville Power 


The outback town's existing 80kW geothermal plant, installed in 1992, will be decommissioned after reaching its design life.






The new power station is being designed to incorporate the latest technology and will be able to produce between 250kW and 450kW, depending on temperature and the community's energy needs.


It will provide enough power to manage Birdsville's base load, with the diesel generation only required to supply peak load demand.


 It will be built on the existing site, which draws water from an 80-year-old bore which also provides the town's water supply.


The geothermal plant works by drawing water to the surface at 98C where it is run through a gas-filled heat exchanger which heats and pressurises the gas which then drives a turbine and alternator to produce electricity.


The partly-cooled water is channelled into a pond for further cooling and returned to the town's water supply and lagoon.

The design stage, is due to be completed by July,and The Office of Clean Energy will provide $4.3m towards the cost of constructing the new geothermal facility.


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Upcoming Personalised 4WD trips 2012

These trips are in a Toyota Landcruiser vehicle with a maximum of 4 passengers:

Itineraries 2012    


The Painted Desert
                 The Painted Desert
                 (9 days) - $3295pp
                  Saturday May 5

                 Definite departure  

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, William Creek, Coober Pedy,
The Breakaways, Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka,
Port Augusta, Arid Lands Botanical Gardens, Horrock's Pass  to the Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.

Mungo NP 
          Mungo and Hattah
          National Parks
          (5 days) $1525
           Saturday May 19
            Definite Departure 

Pinnaroo, Kow Plains Homestead and Cowangie, Murrayville, Pink Lakes, Underbool, Mildura, Wentworth, Old Zanci Station, Mungo Woolshed, Walls of China, Grand Canyon, Vigar's Well, Perry Sandhills, Paddle Steamer through Lock 11 Mildura, Red Cliffs, Lake Hattah, Lake Victoria, Rufus River, The Riverland.    




Birdsville Hotel         

               Birdsville &
               (9 days) -
               Saturday July 14   
               Definite Departure 

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,Innamincka, Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, Tibooburra,Broken Hill,
 Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide.

Toompine Hotel
             Birdsville & Windorah
            (9 days) - $3300pp
                 Saturday August 4

                  Definite Departure

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,
Betoota, Windorah, Quilpie, Toompine, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Bourke, Cobar, Broken Hill.

Oratunga Creek
                    Oratunga Track
                               (4 days) - $1525pp
                               Saturday August 25 

This 4WD loop commences 10km east of Blinman, on the private property of Di and Ian Fargher. The track passes Nildottie Gap and on towards Patawarta Hill. The scenery changes from cypress pines to ancient eucalypts through the Artimore Valley, culminating on the summit of Mt Lucius (815m).
This is some of the best country the Flinders has to offer.
Includes Warraweena Conservation Park and the Old Angepena Goldfield Track, Parachilna Gorge, Brachina Gorge, Bunyeroo Valley, Hawker.

Skytrek Logo
                         Flinders Ranges &

                         (4 days) -
                         Saturday September 1

                          Definite Depature 

Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Willow Springs Station, Skytrek, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Parachilna Gorge, Moralana Scenic Drive, Melrose, The Bridle Track. Port Germein, Laura, Orroroo, Burra, Eudunda, Kapunda. 

 Sillers Lookout - Arkaroola
               Flinders R
anges &
                (5 day
s) -
                Sunday   September  9
                Tuesday September 18  
                 Definite Departure 


Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Arkaroola,  Ridgetop Tour,  Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Gammon Ranges,  

Moralana Scenic Drive.

 Tumby Bay
                    Tumby Bay
                    and The Eyre

                    (5 days) $1595pp
                     Saturday October 13

Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie ,
Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Whaler's Way, Tod Reservoir, Cummins, Mt Hope, Point Drummond, Greenly Beach, Dutton Bay, Coffin Bay, Koppio Museum.
Enjoy a Clydesdale Horse and trolley ride!
Return is via Horrock's Pass 
to Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.   
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Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours