Skip to content

FRANK FEAST: I'd had special leave from the railway to accompany the expedition to the Petermann Ranges financed by Donald Mackay and with Dr Herbert Basedow, the third trip to the Petermann Ranges and Ayers Rock. We took the train to Oodnadatta. From Oodnadatta in a dodge truck loaded with our provisions we journeyed to the South Australian-Northern Territory border to Charlotte Waters from where we picked up a string of 26 camels.

From Charlotte Waters we proceeded through some very, very heavy mulga scrubs direct to the northern extremity of the Musgrave Ranges. Finally, after the long road stage, we got to Ayers Rock. Dr Basedow spent some time in photographing the various cave drawings in the various caves. After some days there, then we proceeded west to Mount Olga.

One particular camp I well remember it was difficult to get sufficient sticks to even boil the billy, let alone enough ashes or coals to cook a damper. Notably there would be the lack of wood, and then all quite suddenly the next camp might be a water course and there would be lovely white gums – quite a big contrast.

Dr Basedow done all the observations. He done the 12 o'clock observations, and also when we built a trig he would do observations from some distance through the theodolite. From the furthest point reached on the expedition, we then turned around and proceeded back down in the proximity of the Petermann Ranges. From that western extremity of the Petermann Ranges we proceed adjacent to the ranges in a south-easterly direction.

Rather remarkable scenery in the Petermann Ranges. Several very good waterholes. And also we were fortunate to discover two Myall boys, Midergerinya was one and I can't remember the other. They accompanied us for some considerable distance. Dr Basedow frequently interrogated them in the words of their language (karpula karpulyka) meaning 'where was the water, where did the water sit down'. Finally we get to the Alberga. We cross the Alberga and then finally the terminus, the rail head at Oodnadatta.

Watch the video

Return to Top