Archive for August, 2008

Canning Stock Route 100 Years Of Operation

August 26, 2008
Hi Everyone and thanks for all of the kind thoughts everyone has been sending us.
We are now half way down the Canning Stock Route and about to make our way to Alice Springs. The journey so far has been one of highs and lows. We’ve had quite a lot of bull camel trouble as well as camels eating poisonous plants which nearly killed Jack and Euco.
The weather appears as though is has changed and is getting hotter. Our next leg is 220Km’s inbetween water, which will test all of us but we are confident we will be in Alice Springs well before Christmas.
The people we have met along the way have been quite extraordinary in their generosity and kindness and to them we would like to extend our warmest thanks.
I only wish we were in a position to add some photos to this blog but unable to do so. Later on when in Alice Springs we will be able to add photos for everyone to enjoy.
Right at the moment we are waiting for Euco to get better from eating poisonous plants. Within the next two days he should have all of the poison out of his system, able to walk again and we’ll be on our way.
Already we are looking forward to the second year of the expedition and hoping for all of the townsfolk of the cities and towns that we will be passing through get fully and actively involved with supporting the camel expedition and it’s aims of reaching the target of $100,000 to save children’s lives through Moira Kelly’s Children First Foundation in Kilmore, Victoria and to create awareness of the foundation and the work they do.
Must get going unfortunately, I have so much to tell you all of the incredible things we have experienced and seen, all of the adrenalin rushes and sad moments we have endured but it will have to wait till another time.
Love you all
Russell Osborne and Ros Consoli.
P.S. the country we have seen has been truely remarkable and at times has had us all with tears in our eyes admiring the intense beauty.
Also, it is 100 years since the Canning Stock Route started operations. It was amazing to have the camel train going down the Canning Stock Route during this period of Australian history.

Gravity Lakes – Great Sandy Desert

August 6, 2008
Aug 6
Russ and Ros (and Ester Nunn) arrived here (Gravity Lakes) after a difficult and winding 17km day through some pretty desolate sandhill country.

The going was pretty tough at times during the last fortnight with heat and strong winds accompanied by duststorms. The last few days have however been fantastic and spirits are high with the trio.

"Baci" is improving every day and all are very upbeat about his prospects. He no longer coughs and is putting on condition rapidly.

Very few feral camels have been seen which is surprising but with the dryness of the country this is perhaps predictable.

All saddle sores are stable and no further deterioration is anticipated.

Russ reckons he is as "skinny as a rake" which is a bit concerning with so many km’s to go still !!


Due to the pending enslaught of the hot, windy and difficult summer season, Russ and Ros have decided to cut short their Canning Stock Route plans and head east from Kunawarritji (Well 33) in about 220km and cut across to Kiwirrkurra Community, then Walungurru (Kintore), and onto the Tanami Road 100km north west of Alice and then onto Alice Springs in early December to finish for 2008. This will cut some distance off their scheduled trek plans for 2008 but not impact on their trans-continental objectives.

Russ and Ros would like to thank GeoScience Australia for their generous donation and postage (to Kunawarritji) of the required additional maps to travel between Kunawarritji and the Tanami Road. 

Heading toward Well No. 46

August 3, 2008
Aug 1
Russ and Ros have now passed Well 49 ("Lambu") on the Canning Stock Route and are headed toward Well 46 ("Kotjowari" or "Kuduarra").

All is well, x3 wild bull camels needed to be sorted out as they came into their camp causing trouble, but that is all.

Michael Barrett has now left them but fellow cameleer Esther Nunn remains.

The Darwin To Melbourne Thank You Camel Expedition 2008-2009
is acting on behalf of the Children First Foundation
and is
Proudly Supported / Sponsored By:
      logo_sc_tv                   Image11                gr_societybadge1                 nt logo
logo1logo2logo3             topRowBBLogo          
Special Thanks:
  tvic_logo_02         oc7_9_3_4c__1          img_logo          Katherine & District Show Society Inc

Arrival at Billiluna settlement

August 3, 2008
20 July
Russ and Ros arrived at the small Aboriginal settlement of Billiluna on July 20, to the warm welcome of the townsfolk.

Their next phase will be along the famous Canning Stock Route, pioneered by Alfred Canning in 1906 to provide Kimberley cattle properties access to southern markets.

"Baci" is OK and improving which is a welcome relief to everyone, especially Russ and Ros, and also of course Michael Barrett and fellow cameleer Esther Nunn who are both accompanying the "Thank you" Expedition on part of this leg.

Enroute to Billiluna the crew bypassed Wolf Creek meteorite crater which is a must see natural icon in this part of the world.

They are now averaging 25-30km/day which is a bit of a slog but a welcome relief to those following progress from the sidelines because they have a great distance still to travel and the heat of the warmer months is scarcely weeks away. The first hot winds will commence in mid August, and the first hot days can be expected in early September. If they are still out in the field in November and December, they can expect some very hot days which will be difficult to cope with, not to mention the much increased need to water the camels every 3-4 days or so.

Russ and Ros would like to extend a warm thankyou to all the Billiluna townsfolk, and particularly to the staff and people at the school who extended much hospitality and friendship. Thank you.

Next stop – Well 49 ("Lambu" or Crystal Well) Canning Stock Route, which has beautiful clear drinking water in it.