This is Leigh’s final report from his trip across Australia in a 1944 Ford GPW. Thanks again to Leigh for assembling this record of their adventure. This is a news report published while the convoy was on the road. It gives more background into the purpose of the convoy. For previous entries read the previous entry here.
Red section on map was the approx. alternate route home that we fortunately avoided.
Setting off early for Jervois Station, 2750 sq.km (1708 sq.ml.) the Plenty Hwy soon deterioated (“Plenty” of corrugations, bulldust holes & rocks like broken house bricks) to the point where it claimed our first victim, Sam’s Jeep went one way in a bulldust hole & the trailer went another, tipping the trailer. Fortunately no one was injured however the trailer required a bit of work.
Plenty Hwy trailer overturned.
More of the Plenty Hwy.
Arriving at Jervois the weather was deteriorating so some firewood was gathered with the help of the Power Wagon & we set up camp. With no improvement in conditions we continued next day to Gemtree, gateway to the Gem fields of Central Australia, only 126 miles but due to the condition of the road everyone was glad to arrive. Here we were treated to a Camp Oven Roast by the local camping park.
Evening fire and a beautiful sunset.
At Gemtree the road from there on to Alice Springs is sealed so apart from occasional rattles from our clutch and a leaking fuel pump on the Power Wagon there were no further dramas. We arrived in “the Alice” as it is known to coincide with the Alice Springs Transport Hall of Fame reunion, a week long showcase of Australian transport history.
Piano key section of the Hwy is reinforced to take aircraft of the Royal Flying Doctor in an emergency.
From here some were heading back to Western Australia via the Great Central road while others chose to visit Lamberts the geographical centre of Austarlia and continue down the historic Oodnadatta track, another 1200 km (745 ml) of rough unsealed road to Copley, then on to Adelaide.
Coober Pedy the Opal capital of Australia
Fortunately as it turned out, time constraints had us head straight down the excellent Stuart Hwy between Alice Springs & Adelaide stopping briefly at Coober Pedy the Opal capital of Australia. It was here that the clutch started shedding springs from the disc, parts of these then intermittantly jammed the pressure plate causing loss of clutch, character building Cheryl called it, especially when it happened on Bolte Bridge, the main thoroughfare through Melbourne in peak hour traffic.
Some statistics: Miles covered 4235 (6815 km) Total fuel used 987 litres (approx 260 US gal) at a cost of AU$1510. The highest fuel price seen was AU$2.10 / litre, fortunately by carrying five Jerry cans we didn’t have to purchase any at this price.
The next trip has been planned for 2020 to re-trace the route & visit the wartime installations from Alice Springs to Darwin.