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Australia West - East 1966.

The 20th of August is the 30th Anniversary of the finish of the amazing 1966 "West-East Crossing of Australia Expedition". This, and other expeditions of the 50's, 60's, 70's, make an interesting contrast to the Camel Races.

Some details:

It took 36 mths of dreaming, planning and trials: this trip was a first. It began May 3 '66 at Steep Pt near Shark Bay WA (the most western point of the Australian mainland, Indian Ocean). They passed thru "Woodlie" sheep station 450,000 acres! It was raining at Ayers Rock when they got there. It finished Aug 20 '66 at Cape Byron NSW (the eastern most point, Pacific Ocean).

Waypoints along the 26th parrallel included Meekatharra, Wiluna, Carnegie, Gibson and Stony Deserts, Giles, Ayers Rock, Finke, Andado, Simpson's Desert (crossing took 22 days, 1105 sand ridges) Birdsville, Windorah, Cunnamulla, Goondiwindi, Lismore: 111 days of travel, 4248 miles at 17mpg (best road) and 3mpg (desert slog and 500 miles of mud in Queensland).

Results and crew:

The first successful crossing ever achieved!
(A)2000 insect and 300 reptile specimens collected for Australian Museum Naturalist Keith Davey.
(B)Documentary 16mm Film released "Wheels Across A Wilderness" Cinematographer Mike Leyland.
(C)Photography and "in progress" Press Releases, book "Where Dead Men Lie" Mal Leyland.
(D)Cook Pat Leyland.
(E)Mechanic Ted Hayes.


A 1963 petrol 88" Land-Rover hard top (9.00x16 aero sand tyres). Army style guards front and rear, front jerry bar and rear tool box on tailgate.
A 1958 S1 petrol 6 cylinder Station wagon (Michelin Sahara 7.50 x 16) fitted with capstan winch, HF radio, safari roof. A 1966 Bridgestone 90 Mountaineer motorcycle.
A heavy duty (overloaded) 4 wheel trailer hand built with Land-Rover parts. Both units and the trailer where red with sign writing.

No roof racks.

Understatement pg 194: "A startling number of breakdowns (mainly on the older vehicle) was both surprising and annoying, but a thorough understanding of the vehicles by the mechanic and the added safety of the second vehicle lessened the possibility of a disaster. Any one of the the breakdowns could have been a major catastrophe to anyone with no mechanical knowledge..."

pg 143: "we were sick of broken diffs." (Simpson Desert)

(These adventurers' home-town is the Hunter Valley NSW.)

Cheers. Ross[8/'96]