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Stuart Jackson 2004

Gibson Desert 1997 - Day Three

Day Three: Sunday 21st September 1997
Carnegie Homestead to Eagle Bore Camp

We left Carnegie at 730 and begun our journey on the Gunbarrel Highway. We stopped a couple of times, once to look at a group of wild camels, and again so Terry our driver could give travel directions to a collegue via short-wave radio.

About the Gunbarrel Highway
Constructed by road-builder Len Beadell, in conjunction with the Blue Streak missile program in the 1950s, the road enabled the establishment of tracking accurate points downrange from Woomera to the Western Australian coast. The Gunbarrel Highway traverses some of Australia's remotest country from 'Victory Downs' near the South Australia/Northern Territory border to 'Carnegie' Station in Western Australia. Its name suggest a straight route but the Gunbarrel is not straight, the name comes from the Gunbarrel Construction Team who built the road under the supervision of surveyor, Len Beadell. The road is remote, carries little traffic and can be rough.

By 10am we arrived at Mount William Lambert, a trig point just north of the highway. We took a break here and enjoyed the panoramic 360 degree view of the isolated outback - not a human in sight, just the desolation of the bush. We entered our name in the visitors book :) Also during the morning we saw two scrub turkeys and some fine blue toungue lizards.

After a while on the Gunbarrel, we turned off and headed north, then east towards the Eagle Bore camp site, which we arrived at after 1pm.

Eagle Bore Camp

The camp consists of a tin shed (with outdoor showers) and a fuel store 200m away surrounded by spinifex, mulga and a few coolibah trees sited in an old, long since dried up watercourse. Power and water are bought into camp when required. We camp in swags under various trees protected by enclosed tropic screens (keeps out the insects and reptiles). The clear skies had me excited and after a short rest and warm beer we headed over to the gravel airstrip 400m to the east of the camp.

The three telescopes had survived the rough journey and were setup by Greg and Jamie. Graeme was busy preparing the local gravel tracks for animal identification by towing an interesting contraption made of railway line and old tyres. He also laid out test baits (sausages) every 100m beside the roads. We returned to camp to dine on a delicious roast pork dinner. Graeme (Tub) gave an interesting talk on the Desert Dreaming project and the relevance of this particular work to it.

After dinner it was dark so we walked over to the airstrip. We were greeted by a glorious meteor exploding to south of us. The night sky was a feast of light and stars and the Milky Way was crystal clear with its dust lanes easily visible. Excellent views of Saturn and Jupiter were seen. The last quarter moon rose later in the night and dramatically reduce the visibility of the stars and Milky Way. This also signalled it was time for bed. Myself, Greg and Fiorenzo awoke at 3:30am to get a look at the glorious morning sky.

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 Three
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