The Team

 

 Because of the route involved across the deserts, particularly those in Western Australia, this expedition wouldn't be possible without using camels. They are the best form of transport, not only because of there obvious strength and suitability for dry environments, but also for their character. They are great companions and bond to people just as closely as horses and dogs will for example. The desert stages could not be attempted with horses, as with this type of work, a horse needs access to fresh water on an almost daily basis. Many of the exploring expeditions in inland Australia from the 19th century that were equipped with horses often ended in tragedy for the horse and sometimes for the explorers as well. I did not carry water for the camels. They survived on the native grasses and plants from which they extracted all the moisture they would need to keep in good condition. Of course, once we were in the settled areas, we had access to plenty of water troughs on cattle and sheep stations. I took three camels on this journey (or perhaps I should I say that they took me) and had previously worked with each of them, so knew their personalities well and was completely confident that they would handle the conditions. An important factor here was that they had all worked in the deserts before. This is extremely important as having been in the desert, they knew how to feed in the desert - what to eat and what not to touch. Some domesticated camels that are taken out into the desert will practically starve because they are unfamiliar with the smorgasbord of tucker on offer. I had already been across the Simpson Desert with TC & Bindii in 1995, 96 & 98 and with Morgan in 1996 & 98, in addition to various other treks & expeditions with all three in the Great Victoria Desert, Gibson Desert and Nullarbor in 1997.

 TC - Lead Camel (Top Camel, Tall Camel)

 

 A 15 year old bullock. Mild mannered & completely reliable, but isn't too sure about low clearance railway bridges. * riding saddle on stages 1-4, packsaddle on stages 5-7. * saddle bags containing maps, navigation gear etc * swag * .308 rifle * steel 'freight frames' with green metal boxes containing videocamera, books, ammunition, batteries, etc * spare rope * human First Aid box * 35mm camera

 Bindii - The Middleman

 

18 year old bullock. A bit of an individual but strong and dependable. Loves to pretend that he is invisible and is rather afraid of small puddles. Sometimes sits with the "bikestand" rear leg in operation. * packsaddle * steel 'freight frames' with 4 'Spacecase' plastic tubs containing food & two 12-volt batteries * 2 X 22-litre jerry cans of water * personal gear and camel/dog First Aid box * solar panels * satellite phone

 Morgan - The Watertanker, Dragchain, Anchor

 

11 year old bullock. Incredibly strong & a great personality. He was quite certain that he was being followed by Frank the Bunyip during the entire journey. On his new packsaddle, he was carrying; * 8 X 22-litre jerry cans of water = 176 kilograms * long handled shovel * camera tripod * HF radio & aerial * tent * dog food * spare camel harness gear and rope

 Mac

 

3 year old, pure bred black & tan Kelpie (Australian sheepdog). Mac had his own first aid kit and was on a diet of Pal Meaty Bites. When it was hot, he rode atop TC so that he didn't drink too much water. He was keen to meet his dingo cousins and relaxed by listening to Bob Dylan CD's.