Full Record

David Ride : [field notebook] : Mundrabilla Meteorite Search, Jan 1965
Record no:
Call no:
1 - 10 Jan 1965
27 p., [5] p. ; 18 cm. + 1 map stapled in back.
"Search for Mundrabilla meteorite on Nullarbor Plain".
> 1 Jan 1965
Nedlands, dead M. gigantes on roadside. Kalgoorlie Airport : attempt to find Flying Dr. operator Charlie Prideaux, suggest Commercial Hotel. West out to Flying Dr. Base at vicinity Hospital but no luck, found at hotel that Charlie had gone to Esperance & Hadley (relief) was in Perth. Finally informed at police stn. that Alma Bairstow was operator. 8 William - non - xRay. Alma Mrs? , V.S.Q. Bairstow & weekdays 7-8.30, 9-9.30 Traffic. 10-10.30 medical, 11-11.30 medical, 1 until traffic clears. / 3.45 clears.

Langford (Roger) luncheon ? bills - 9BF Sat.7-8.30  10.30 last call
Sundays 9.00 until traffic clears
2nd only 8-9.30
Instruction memos.
Back at Coolgardie turnoff to Norseman. Camped at side of rd. in mixed eucalypt, sheoak & spinifex.

> 2nd Jan 1965
Beautiful morning, strong breeze Nuyts tracks plentiful in sand, kangaroo droppings in the camp where they came in to investigate. Skad. 08.45 Away, camped between milepegs 371/2. Small lateratised breakaway on E. of road, seems to be derived from a schist. Small limestone concretions have been used for road making, reminiscent of Gogo. Collected bag full from 414 milepeg. Found gravel scraps in top of hill, e. side of road. This is where concretions came from, collected small sample. Norseman B.P., grey kangaroo dead on road. Fraser Ra. for lunch, examined grey dead on roadside. Balladonia Homestead, [35 m.] Shot Kabuck (?). John Eyre Motel, Caiguna, 1800 hrs., Cold wind. campeed for night vicinity of Twilight Cove reserve area. Open windgrass plain with scattered eucalypts, low and stunted looking rather like myall or dying mulga. Set of breakbacks with universal bait.

> 3rd Jan.(Sunday)
Night with very heavy dew. Rose at 4.30 with heavy mist, went round traps 3 m. misails (?) and one other trap set off. Small ants only, only one bait taken by them and the ants attacked the mice & not the other baits. [WR male 111], [WR female 112], [ preserved formalin, skull crushed][WR male 113] detailed description. Took photos of campsite looking W 7 N, limestone just below surface and ocasionally rubble ( seen in rabbit burrows) red soil with wind grass. Left camp at 7.00. Contacted Kalgoorlie R.F.D.Base passed message to Mundrabilla to say that we would call before end of day. Small eucalypt wood on top of low hill. Madura 3 gals. Mundrabilla no wombats on property, a few occasional "pets brought in by trappers", suggests Eucla will know. Two sorts of kangaroos on property, reds and scrub kangaroos (like a cross beyween the  Gryyada(?) and the red). Red dead on road. Old Eucla col. & b&w photos of building being covered by drifting sand. Eucla Motel, down Reid Rd to rabbit-trappers camp, freezer-operator says one wombat taken a few months ago but very rare this side of the border. Kangaroos common. On advice of rabbit trapper (freezer operator) we tried east down a road towards the border, the spot south of road a pothole v.deep, 2 grey kangaroos & a fox. Athol shot a grey female with furless joey so the grey goes right through the border [WR114], grey faced not melanop(?). Through gate in fence about 2 miles past an old shepherd's cottage & dam. Made camp in small copse on top of little rise.[WR114 fem.] with joey [physical description]. Set traps in vicinity of camp, very cold & strong SE wind, estimate low 60s & bitter. No moon, went spotting to Reid Rd. then N to Reid. First of all myall and bluebush then myall thins out and bluebush only with one saltbush. Foxes & rabbits plentiful, no kangaroos or wombats. Turned back to camp, Eucla.

> 4th Jan.
SA/WA border.

Shot kebada/dugite in formalin, First wombat burrow, about a doz. large holes s. of road, saltbush & broken down turn road(?). Left road and travelled south to examine extensive wombat colonies. Continued down line of scrub. Grey kangaroos numerous, shot female grey kangaroo with joey [WR115] (description). Bright day with a few clouds, v. windy, cool, no dew, tried to get through to VSQ, no luck, found wireless connection inside cone, unsoldered, resoldered, still poor reception, extended aerial on advice of Charlie Priddoux and got through to M message:
Athol skinned out the grey, an excellent skin, food, skull. Left camp for Eucla. Drove between 26 & 34 mileposts other side of Koonalda with spot. Saw a few wombats, collected 3(on Nullarbor Stn.): [WR116] [WR117] [WR118] include descriptions. On way back found generator u/s, got back at 3.30 just at first light.

> 5 Jan, Tuesday
Spent morning recovering from night before trying to get generator to work, in the end gave up getting it off and put all together again. It worked for a few minutes then seized. Got through to VJQ informed them that we will try to get to Eucla tonight. Charlie says that we will ask Eucla to come out if we are not in by the morning. Athol spent day skinning wombats. Ready to move in late afternoon, will try to get to Eucla with slipping fanbelt on seized generator. Trip to Eucla uneventful. Generator completely seized but belt slipped satisfactorily and lasted the journey. Got in at dusk and camped opposite Gurneys. Harry Gurney will see what he can do next day. We must get on to Forrest to see if we can collect the meteorite.

> 6 Jan. Wed.
Got generator fixed, all OK, new replacement for [?], bearings completely shot. Left Eucla for Reid. Trappers camp Diamond Ice. In middle of Nullarbor saltbush wide & a few low desert willows(?) about 3 ft higher. Saw 3 Reds, Douglas & I shot one after a chase, male[WR119] detailed description. Very unpleasant road, concealed boulders in roadside, busted hubcap and blew one tyre, hope we do not do another. Arrived Reid.
Drove on to Forrest, Arrived Forrest and camped at the bendy of the aircraft wireless installation.

> 7 Jan (Thursday)
Camp at Forrest, Up at 0500 Breakfast etc., left Forrest milepost 707.5. Trees. Called VSQ, got through, told them of our events, met railway gang(SPAUI) at a milepost on the line. Bore W. The remains of an old bore to the north of the line, this is at milepost 727.5-728. Found track bearing north east at milepost 733-733.5, identified it with the track in map (3) in relation to Bore W. Left railway line(733.5) Photography of track. A few trees investigated, no camp. Back on track. We took left fork (small cairn) sighted line of trees at southern edge. Arrived at Duga with remains of rabbitohs camp, a very remarkable place, dune vegetation, photos, searched the camp on the left of the road, principle feature an old Bedford ute. No sign of meteorites. Decided that we must be on the wrong track - noone could mistake 10 miles for 20, suspect McCall has got the wrong track on the map because our track is certainly the track marked (on map 3), besides which distances on the 3 maps do not agree. Decided to return and see if there is another Duga 10 m. north of the railway but west of this track ; i.e. closer to the Mundrabilla siding leaving the railway at milepost 736. Left Duga. Blowout . Got tyre off and found the tube completely shot. Got yesterday's off and found the same. Decided to lie up in the heat of the day and then when it got cooler to see what could be done about packing the most damaged of the old tyres. Very hot indeed, went to sleep for an hour or so. Much cooler. Got old tyre packed with both tubes, all the hessian, woodwool and saltbush we could cram in and started gently in low ratio 4 wheel drive. Tyre finally stripped off - at any rate we saved ourselves 5 miles.

Decided, since only 10 miles to go to the Trans line, to walk. Left a note* with the vehicle saying what we had done, took plenty of water and sufficient tucker and got cracking, left at 7.10, 10.00pm arrived at Trans-line at 7331/2 milepost, walked on to 734. The ankle I damaged last year was playing merry hell. Decided to camp and then to go on to the single-men's camp at Mundrabilla next morning. Found a pile of sleepers to break the wind, had tins of tomato juice.

> 8th Jan 1965 (Friday)
A very cold and unpleasant night, biting wind and no blankets, ground v. hard and stony. Up at midnight and lit a fire - too tired to do this before. Rest of the night more or less sleepless. In the morning (sunrise at 3.00) decided to have breakfast and then John and Athol to walk to Mundrabilla (milepost 742) a distance of 8 miles. They left at 4 o'clock. 5.53 goods train went by, did not stop ! Just decided to go and find the shade of a small desert willow some 1/2 mile away when a trolley hove in sight, Athol and John aboard, got in and they took us to 327 mile peg where the Road boss John Martin and the yank foreman of the Forrest gang met us. The yank ferried us in to Forrest. John Cooper officer-in-charge of DCA was very decent. He offered to run Athol out to the vehicle in his car and to try and get a tube for the spare. They got one much too small and left.

Got through to Bob Vincent on the phone. He will send tyres out on the first goods tonight, he will also book me in on the express tomorrow morning if possible. Athol and John will have a shot at finding the "6 mile track" and will then come home by their own route. [Plas of new mine wing not be in hands of architect on Wed.]

Sent telegram to Eucla to tell them that we will not be returning and to send the generator to Madura. Apologies to the rabbit trapper at Diamond Ice and a request to try to get the blood to Perth or to dump it. Drove out to the land rover with John Cooper in his Austin sedan ! a very difficult job indeed, hit the sump several times. Tried to move the landrover with a tube borrowede from a Vanguard Station wagon - and got four miles before it blew out as well. Came home in the evening too late for tea. Had a shower and I had a drink and played bridge with the boys.[Text of telegram 10/-]

> 9th Jan '65 (Saturday)
Train arrived late 11.00 instead of 9.15, a hot morning (c.106). What a shock and how stuffy the airconditioning feels. Met several people on board, an entertaining bunch. Jock Heard - a dentist, R.C., wife & 6 children settling in Perth from Vic. [ list of expenses of train journey].

> 10th Jan 1965 (Sunday) Arrived Perth 2.30.
Added at back of notebook : Notes on the Meteorite types
These maps comprise:
(1) A sketch provided by Dr J.W. Thornton from information from David Ritchie (presumably a patient of his) note on back "Boulder surrounded by many bits on top of a rise bluebush on top of a hillock in ..... limestone gibber"; "one main fragment possibly over a ton, several smaller pieces of a few cwt, many small pieces ranging down to gravel size." see sketch near railway line Loongana Stn., 33 miles to single mens' camp.
Next page: map including same site with information added from verbal reports passed on.
Next page: Sketch map by Ride based on his observations.
Sketch map of region with previous information and proposed future work.
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