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Stuart Jackson 2004

Gibson Desert 1997 - Day One

Day One: Friday 19th September 1997
Perth to Nallan Station

We assembled at UWA at 06:45 and packed all the stuff onto the Oka and Landcruiser. Just after 7 we departed and travelled up the freeway and out to the Great Northern Highway. For the first hour or so there was quite a lot of fog around. The first pit stop was at New Norcia, followed by morning tea (and repairs) at Dalwallinu. Near the White-Wells turn-off we stopped for lunch of rolls and salad.

Afternoon and a fuel stop was made at Payne's Find, then driving through Mount Magnet and Cue before arriving at Nallan Station during evening twilight.

About the towns we passed through...

  • New Norcia - Located 132 km from Perth, New Norcia is a combination of a monastery, two schools, a church, and a number of tourist attractions. This page has a good story of the history of the area.
  • Dalwallinu - 254 km north-east of Perth on the Great Northern Highway, Dalwallinu is an argricultural town well known for its local wildflowers.
  • Payne's Find, located 420kms from Perth on the Great Northern Highway, with its small community of no more than twenty people, marks the centre of pastoral and goldmining activity. A gold crushing plant for extracting gold , new gold discoveries and the reworking of old mine sites have rejuvenated the area.
  • Mount Magnet, the oldest surviving gold settlement of the Murchison, is 567km north of Perth on the Great Northern Highway.
  • Cue has a population of 300 (1996 figures) and is approximately 650 kilometres N of Perth.

Nallan Station

Nallan Station is a farm station 11kms north of Cue. Accomodation was in basic Shearers Quarters. After dinner we set up several pairs on binoculars on some tripods. Greg and Jamie gave a quick introduction to naked-eye astronomy and gave us a tour of the rising moon, Scorpio the Scorpion, the Southern Cross, the pointers (alpha and Beta Centauri), the Large and Small Clouds of Magellan, star clusters M6 and M7. The telescopes stayed packed away so they would survive the trip out to the Gibson Desert. It became cloudy shortly after and we were all in bed shortly after 10pm.

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 One
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