Full Record

David Ride : [field notebook] : Ederga to Carnarvon Basin, August 1967. [Part 1.]
Record no:
Call no:
27 Aug - 5 Sept 1967
28 p. ; 16 cm.
Continued in FN205-2.

This expedition "Follows on after Great Victoria Desert, No. 2".

> 27th August 1967 (Sunday)
Left Nedlands at approx 12.00 : picked up maps at museum and then off. Filled up vehicle completely with 25 1/4 gals. Marchagee. Filled up with 9 1/2 gals. Turned to Morawa in 3-Springs, getting dark but decided to drive in to the Ederga and camp in the dark. Meal at Morawa. Drove out on Yalgoo road. What changes in the last 10 years. Roads and farms everywhere. Ederga R. find campsite in the dark night in Bert Maine's exposure from which the "Gullewa Vertebra" came. Had warm drink. Clouds clearing, dew beginning, tent up. Turned in at 11.30 hrs.

> 28th August 1967 (Monday)
Listened to VSQ and let them know we were out again. John Flower gave me the Sched ties for Meekatharra. Walked down to exposure gave it a v. close examination. Nothing new, decided that I will sieve exposures after making sure that this is Bert's. Bob will walk upstream to Ederga Springs & see what he can make of it. Walked back to vehicles to get news and came up on Sched to VKS and let Thelma know we are in the area and will listen on 40.10 at 0700 for any telegrams. Back to river. Walked downstream past fenceline to where stream broadens out , turned back. Walked over top of small hill on E bank of River to see if there are any sediments. No luck at all. All metamorphosed pyrites, schists, vein quartz etc. Hopeless.

Hill, in former times there must have been an edge to this broad valley. Will have to go out to the hills right over to the west & see what we can see there. Lunch at 2.15 Bob back from his walk to Ederga Springs. He did not quite get there. He met Neil Mitchell and told him that I am camped at my usual place & would be calling to see him later in the day. We found no fossils but frustrated because the deposits look as though they should be good.

3.30 Drove out to Ederga Springs and walked out due west of the exposure not seen by Bob. Drove over to Barnong and was invited to stay for the evening meal. Judy in good form, just missed Geoff & Carol Bolton who had been there to stay & left the day before. Judy spent evening showing her rock collection including a great deal of nice fossil bood[?] from the Kennedy Range. Looks as though it could be worth a visit. Neil has a pilot on the station at present mustering (at 400 ft! - 4200 acres) they are trying it as an experiment & it seems to be working. I think that we may hire the aircraft to look at exposures - $25 per hour.

Excitement. News this evening announced that the Govt. had approved the Cultural Centre project which our committee has put up. The museum building will be completed by the end of 1969. Back at camp.

> 29th August 1967 (Tuesday)
Camped at Ederga. A misty morning after a heavy dew. Bright sunlight & clear sky. Tried Sched with Meekatharra - theirs is so clumsy for a station like ours that I switched over to VSQ on S360 at 7.30. 1 telegram.

Looked over maps and decided on a flight plan. Bob most difficult over it - he is unable to make up his mind what to fly. In the end I worked out a plan which takes in all the upper parts of the Wooramel and the Gascoigne which cut through Tertiary sediments. Drove over to Barnong and fixed things up with the pilot (Harry Van Wees) who phoned Perth & made a booking. Went to Gullewa. Photos of Red-backed Spider [C4005-9]. Back to the Ederga, 2 photos of Gense[?] on the way, he maintained 25 mph for over a mile [C4010-11]. Sent telegram:

Set mist net over the Ederga. Bob walked over south of camp and found a wonderful artifact, like a stone bullroarer. Had a good meal and turned in about 22.30 hrs, a clear warm night.

> 30th August 1967 (Wednesday)
A clear crisp morning with the smoke lying low like mist. Nothing for me at either Meekatharra or Kalgoorlie beyond a query for VSQ about someone who might have been in our party - but he was not. Nothing in the mist net. Bob caught a gecko in firewood, preserved in formalin.
Drove out over the other side of the Ederga to see if we could get to the breakaways seen a few miles to the East. These look as though they could be sediments.

Telegram sent to TERRELL PHONE 284411 PERTH

Walked over to the breakaways - a complete dead loss, these are diorite. All the hills are schists, quartz, diorite and generally much metamorphosed. Took 2 colour photos of the Ederga looking SE from a hill about a mile south of the road [C4012,3]. After lunch drove back up to the Yalgoo road to walk out the sediments in the main channel of the river.

Telegram from Bob Terrell. 255 pm 30th, Perth.

While walking out exposures light aircraft flew over and dropped message from Harry Van Wees to say that he will stand by at Barnong from 7am for the charter. No luck at the exposures. Back to camp at nightfall. Took down the mist net, too windy.

> 31st August 1967
Camped at Ederga on Barnong Stn. Drove out to Barnong at 07.15 but pilot not yet there due to having to refuel at Yalgoo. Sent telegram to Sir Thomas Meagher through VSQ.

Aeroplane arrived at 08.30 but we delayed take off because of drizzle and low cloud. Did not appear to be any better in the N.W. so took off at 9.00 in Piper Comanche. Cruised railway line at Wurarsa. Woolgorong [2C   ] at Murchison bridge Nototherium locality. Flew on up river. Good exposures between the bridge at Billabalong homestead. These will be worth doing. Probably best done from the northern end. 0935. Nothing worthwhile between Billabalong homestead and Twin Peaks. Good pitch in bend of river (Western side) closest to Meeberrie Homestead. Rain closing in. Decided to go up the road to the testing at Byro. Mt Narryer, Byro. No exposures visible. Innovealdy[?] on Wooramel River. Turned up river from NE boundary of Byro. Mogil [?] SP. Flew along river , v. poor exposures to Irrida Pool then N. to Landor. Flew downstream along Gascoigne R. to Mt. Puckford. Excellent exposures, flew and took photos. Seems to be limestones[?] underlying inclusion cement [?]. Well worth a visit [C   ], on to Mt. Steere, a strange looking hill on the N. side of the river, took photos [C   ]. 11.10 Strange looking breakaway near Yinnietharra, 11.20 Mt Sandiman. 11.45 Reached Merlinleigh Homestead. [C    ]. Flew down along the Kennedy Range, seems to be a sandstone in lower part. The thing must dip because as you go further south[?] it rises in the range. Possible that this is the Permian and the paler beds overlying it are the Merlinleigh Sandstone. If so, these are excellent exposures in the vicinity of the homestead. Turned East towards Lyons River homestead. Kennedy River seems to be covered on top with dunes & spinifex. Lyons R. Homestead. Flew S.W. to Gascoyne, very flat no good exposures here. Pilot says same all the way down to Carnarvon. Photos at Weedarra homestead. Left river setting course for Wooramel at Callatharra. Fuel flow began to drop off and loss of engine power - down to 50%. Electric fuel pump makes no difference. CARY Downs airstrip within easy reach. Down at Cary Downs 12.00 hrs. Harry and I walked over to the homestead, noone in - all at the races. Eventually found a gin who said she would get us something to eat if we needed it. Walked back to plane and called through to D.C.A. asked for another plane for Carnarvon.

Plane arrived (another Comanche) and we took off for Barnong about 3.00 leaving the u.s. machine on the ground. Had a ride to end at Barnong & drove back to the camp. Shot rabbit for evening meal and decided to go North next morning to look at the exposures at Mt. Puckford and at Merlinleigh. Will do those at Billabalong some time later.

> 1Sept 1967 (Friday)
Camped at Ederga. A beautiful sunny morning. Packed up and left for Mullewa at 10.45 Mullewa : 20 1/2 gals. super, checked tyres, had lunch, left at 1400 hrs for Billabalong Crossing. 95 milepost from Mullewa. 908.7 Sand dune, first seen near road, close to a large claypan full of water, red dune. Narrayer turnoff. Muggan turnoff on left. Empty tank. 154 miles on tea full 10 gal tank. Filled up with 2 jaeercans. This seems to be a normal consumption with trailer on gravel roads in speeds of 50-55 mph. 160 m. Road junction. Byro homestead, looked at exposures in bed of creek south of homestead. seems to be poor exposures c. 6" of Murchison cement seem no obviously tertiary exposures. Occasional quartz slaus[?] and Permian breakaways away to the West. Should have come into the 10 mile Carnarvon sheet - getting dark. Turnoff on left to Stations on the coast at Shark Bay, Woodleigh & Carsla. Innouendy turnoff. Wooramel River, poor exposures of a light grey stone - did not stop in dark. Turnoff near Gascoyne Jun. road at signpost to Glenburgh 2 miles, Dalgety Downs 14 m.. Gate signpost D.Downs 12 miles road goes right along a fenceline to Glenburgh straight on to D. Downs. Camped in a creek alongside Precambrian hills of quartz. 21 hrs. Warm night, howling wind from N.

> 2nd Sept 1967 (Saturday)
Camped between Glenburgh & Dalgety Downs.
8008.1 Sched with USQ. Charlie back we are getting through very well "Booming"! Telegram to Margaret - husen[?] closed.

It was a warm night, rain about 5am just a sprinkle but enough to make me pull a groundsheet over. Breakfast in a dried creek bed, surrounded by Precambrian outcrops. Off to Dalgety Downs at 10.00. Dalgety Downs homestead : Eastern boundary of Dalgety Downs, turned north along a mill track along the west side of the boundary fence. Passed one mill and then an old disused well with pole & windlass & then on to a corner in the paddock nearest to Mt. Puckford. No gate. Decided to go back to Landor because we could mess around with fence lines and get nowhere.Arrived at Landor. Noone in except a cook with hair in curling pins.
We asked if the race course was on the road to Mt Augustus (obviously everyone at the Landor Races) "I don't know" but if you follow the tracks" - I asked if one of the gates led to Yimmietharra (to get to the river). "He was asking me because I don't know"!!
Drove to the Races, met Ainsley & David Stedman of Dalgety Downs. Ainsley v. hospitable ! wants us to stay for the party. Saw their boss Puckford lose, lets hope the Mount of that name does better for us. A chap called McDonald mentioned fossil wood but Bob let him get away. Will try to catch him tomorrow. Also met Will   . Ainsley gave us a map of directions to River.
Left races. Landor Homestead. Across river turn rt off Meekatharra Rd to Dalgetty Downs. reach Dalgetty Downs boundary. Go through run through. Turn N along the fence line past mill. Just before reaching old well go through gate in fence (this is still Dalgetty Downs). Left trailer, put in jerrican.
Continued staying along the fence line for about 1/2 mile & thendiagonally across the paddock. Full of dead snake wood. Light going fast. Go to Gregory creek : high breakaways. this is a tributary of the River and joins it just near the Mt Puckford sal. Camped. Mud-map provided by Ainsley Stedman. [Map of area].
Had a quick look at the section before light failed altogether. The top is grey calcareous and sometimes siliceous cement - a duricrost about 5-10 feet thick. Underneath it is a softer material. Sometimes I suspect a breakdown product in the latugertin[?]  profile, other times there appears to be bedded sandstone. Bob found gneiss (Precambrian) in the bottom. If this is Tertiary it is probably Pre-Miocene but does not look terribly good for fossils. Reminds me very much of the Oakover beds.
Very tired. Turned in at 20.00 hrs.

> 3rd Sept (Sunday)
Camped above Gregory Creek/Gascoyne River (see below) in Dalgetty Downs Eastern Boundary. Rabbits, Dingo, Marloo, Emu.
[4031-2] camp.[4033-4] Breakaways below camp showing gneissic basement rock
[4035-6] Relationship of mudstones & sandstones  to gneiss.

Walked on to Mt. Puckford to try to reach the breakaway at junction of Gregory Creek. Climbed Mt. Puckford. Photos [4101-2], back i.e. S towards camp to show relationship of beds to the river.[4102] back  (N) towards Mt. Gascoyne. View from top shows that our camp is approx 4 miles (1 hr 10 mins. straight walk) from Mt Puckford and on the river about 1/2 miles N of junction of river and Gregory Creek. The exposure of sediments from a peninsula bounded on the East by Gregory Creek and the Gascoyne & in the West by a claypan. Walked straight back to camp, time 1hr 10 mins. After lunch walked S. along the river [C4104] Exposures S. of camp. The top beds of silica seem to overlie directly an evaporite of platelike al spicular crystals with massive opaline silica deposited within it. Sequence seems to be: [Sketch of deposits from Duricrost of silica down to gneiss at base.]

Collected blocks of mudstones about 4 ft. above the gneiss 1/2 mile N of camp for pollen estimation by B E Baker. [4105] Snakewood near camp. Packed up and drove back to race-track to see if we could get fuel. Made camp across road from racetrack.

> Monday 4th Sept. 1967
Camped on other side of road from Landor Racecourse. Drove over to racecourse to see Ainsley and David Stedman. Ainsley was able to arrange for 8 gals of fuel for us enough to get us across to Gascoyne R.
Flat tyre soon after leaving. 
Turn off Meekatharra Rd to Dalgetty Downs. Bidy of Dalgetty Downs - trailer brake gone. Check at mill & holding paddock before D.D. homestead. The usual sequence of loess-like blocks on the top, red grit and green grit below repeated here. Only about 3 feet of exposures & no sign of fossils. Remarkable how uniform this sequence is over 1000s of squ miles of W.A. from the Oakover (DeGrey) to the Ederga. Bed of river, had lunch [C4106,7]  Dalgetty Brook, trib of Gascoyne.
Mooloo Downs turnoff. This is east of the fenceline of the Dairy Creek homestead paddock and not West as mapped in the 10 mile series. Dairy Creek homestead N. of river. Crossed river and joined Mullewa Rd. Low grey breakaways about a mile away, look like Tertiary or Quaternary sediments probably those mapped as Naddara from McWhere et al.

Tertiary equivalent of Oakover ; BMR Bull Courtney[?]. Drove over to iken[?] clearing & kangaroo on way [B&W]. He kept up 30 mph for a considerable distance (Marloo, m.).
[4108] These are a ring of breakaways around the southern edge of a clay pan feature of crabhole country and clay. They consist of evaporates containing[?] silicified bands of a thin silica on the top. they seem to be intrdiate[?] in character of deviant form[?]. Between the evaporates of Lake Baker and those of the Gregory Creek (or Oakover) beds. I think that in these sands a tentative guating[?] eye is justified. No frills.

Back on road i.e.  next breakaway is 1 mile S. of road.

Arrived at Gascoyne Junc. 281/2 gals of fuel. Got hold of mechanic and stripped off both trailer brake-drums. These are a mess. Both sets of bearings are very dry and it is clear that the whole set-up is most inefficient; the toggle only expands one of the shoes and these are very small indeed. Merv Johns the mechanic says that he thinks that they came off an English make of car, possibly a Vauxhall or a Morris Minor ! One toggle cam has pulled out altogether - a complete mystery. I left the other side in and  he will try to copy it. Repacked the bearings and reassembled trailer. Merv meanwhile repaired the tyre. Becoming very clear that for working use Michelins are no good because of their very thin walls. The steel only runs through the tread and they are useless where stakes are liable to go through. Put a small patch on the wall but it really needs welding. No small criss-cross patches available.

Had a drink and left the junction at 22.10. Lyme River/Mt. Sandiman boundary. Camped in stunted mulga for night. A clear cool but not cold night. 0030hrs. NOTE: In Gascoyne Jun. met a couple of stone collectors who said that a small party of Fremantle Rock Collectors  (some club or other) had been through and that they had a fossil"flying lizard", Address of the person with the fossil: Richard House, 3 Dunkley Ave., Applecross. He will be in Perth on the 11th.

> 5th Sept (Tuesday)
Camped at Mt. Sandiman Stn south of homestead. 6.45 up. A lovely morning, slight wind from East. Sched: Spoke to Ruth & Margaret Hogg. No sign of Athol's toolkit. Charlie says that he has now rectified trouble in 6675 and, in future, will be using that for all scheds except 07.30. Suggests that I check it later in the day. Turnoff to Minnie Creek on right. Mt Sandiman homestead. Met [manager] who said that he will drive us out to a paddock where there are lots of fossil wood in the Merlinleigh boundary.

Right fork goes to Mulgerie & Willinby. Woolshed end yards. Did not go through gate into enclosure but west and north of paddock to a gate at the N.W corner. Through gate. Wooden gate on Merlinleigh boundary, turned N. along fence line to corner in fence and then East for small distance. Left fence line, turned South into open paddock with a little mulga and smaller gibbers, also much-silicified fragments of shell.
Back at fence-line. Climbed hill.
Description of hill at 24.8:
The breakaway seems to consist almost entirely of Permian shales and mudstones. Much crossbedded. White in colour with bands of purple and some with ferruginized bands. At the base there is a grey mudstone which contains in some places small Chonetes brachiopods. The higher-up ferruginized bands contain spirifecs and productids. About 8ft from the top there is a coarse pebble layer with silicified wood, at least 3 species of polycepeds, Aturia. Fossils are not plentiful. The matrix is rather variable ranging from sands to a fairly coarse pebble conglomerate. This is obviously the Tertiary Merlinleigh Sandstone. It is Lagorchestes[?] on the top.
After lunch we went back down the breakaway from Merlinleigh homestead and walked around the breakaway to the east. V. poor exposures of the M. sandstone. As far as can be seen, completely unfossiliferous. They tend to pick out to the south and are thickest in the northern ends of the breakouts, most interesting finds were a number of v. large rounded stones of reef quartz and quartzites. These can only be glacial ; there are traces of a large coarse pebble (or small boulder) bed at the same level. Seems little doubt that this is a Permian tillite. It seems to be about 1/3 up the section - rather surprised that it is so high. Photographs south along the Range[4109-11]. Back to the homestead. Rather depressed by the poor quality of the beds.
Found owl (Boobook) roosting in the remains of the bathroom. Good owl pellets.
 Took b&w of the owl in tree outside where he flew to get away from us. Took 2
 c. of a large spider's web and also 1 c. of two crested pigeons on the edge of
 the water tanker.[4112,13,14].

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