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Stuart Jackson 2004

Gibson Desert 1997 - Day Five

Day Five: Tuesday 23rd September 1997
Eagle Bore Camp

Another excellent night of observing was had last night.

In the morning the first group went out in the Landcruiser to check the baits and count the predator tracks. Their count was 5 cats, 1 fox, 4 dingoes, 3 goannas and 1 bustard (sort of like a wild turkey). The second group went out in the OKA to the south-west of the camp. Their count was 4 cats, 3 foxes and 2 dingoes.

Surveyors Generals Corner
One of the main aims of our trip was a journey to Surveyors General Corner to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 1922 Boundaries Act. Surveyors General Corner is where the borders of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory intersect. This landmark is not accessable to the public as it is situated in a restricted Aboriginal Reserve. In 1921 and 1922 the Government Astronomers of WA and SA surveyed sites on the then border of WA and setup markers as accurately as they could near the northern and southern limits of the official border - he 129th meridian east of Greenwich. However, even though this was the most accurate survey of the boundary because of its use of overseas radio time signals (a world first), the two lines extended from the markers are seperated by 126 metres at the boundary between SA and NT (the 26th parallel). Thus the intersection of WA, SA and NT is defined by two posts on the 26th parallel, with NT jutting into WA by 126 metres.

Mid-morning we were notified of a drastic change to our plans. The message from the Aborignal Community was that we would not be allowed onto their reserve unless we were in Warburton by very early tomorrow. This meant leaving camp at lunchtime today and drove through the night on a longer route than we had planned. This was to ensure we didnt disturb the initiation ceremonies they were conducting. This turn of events appeared to have been triggered by persistant enquiries to the Aboriginal Community by some zealous journalists who wanted to accompany us to the Corner.

Article in the West Australian on Friday 26th of September (170k).

So the visit to the border was cancelled and instead we will stay at Eagle Bore for another night as planned, then go east tomorrow to Charlies Knob in range and hilly country, come back south and west to Alexander Spring near Mount Worsnop, then south and north to Empress Spring, then back south towards Laverton. The last day will be a run to Kalgoorlie.

In the afternoon Tub took a trip south with another group to take photos at fixed points as per previous times since the last fire in 1988. They travelled some 45kms away from the camp.

That night was one of the best observing nights with myself staying up most of the night hunting down various deepsky objects from a star atlas that had been bought along with the telescopes.

For photos of this trip see the Gibson Desert 97 Photo Gallery (opens in a new window)

you are at: Astronomy Gibson Desert 1997 Day Five
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