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Mackay exploring expedition in Arnhem Land

Herbert Basedow and Donald Mackay teamed up again in April 1928, this time for a
four-month exploration of Arnhem Land.

The party caught a train from Darwin to Katherine, where they took delivery of 26 horses and six mules. Much of the country was a maze of rocky gorges, and at times they were forced to retrace their steps. They climbed hills to gain vantage points to determine the route ahead.

Map outlining the expedition in 1928 in the Northern Territory. The stylised map only shows the expedition route as a white line. Locations such as Darwin, Oenpelli, Roper River and Katherine are shown on the map. There is no other map information in regard to terrain, roads and such. The land mass is an ochre yellow colour while the sea areas depicted are dark brown. The map takes in about the upper 25 per cent of the Northern Territory. A small white map of Australia in the bottom left hand corner shows the area covered by the main map as a small rectangle.
Map outlining the 1928 expedition route through Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory

Towards the end of the trip, the party was relieved to find a camp of Aboriginal people near the headwaters of the Liverpool River. Some of the men offered to guide them to Oenpelli. On the way, Basedow photographed rock paintings using a film camera.

At one stream crossing, several horses got bogged and food supplies were spoilt. After just one day in Oenpelli, the expeditioners pressed on to Pine Creek, where they caught a train back to Darwin.

Read more on the 1928 expedition

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