During my 60th year's 52 English gunmakers shoot, I was blessed to have family visit from other parts of Australia in August, 2019.
The weather was good with winter weather holding on & it was a year of plenty of game as Lake Gregory had completely dried up. The drying up of Lake Gregory forced over 100,000 waterbirds to disperse throughout the Kimberly, the rest died in their thousands. I wanted the visit to complement the '52 English gunmaker shoot' but in the planning stages didn't have 5 examples of one maker!
Fortune favours the brave and we continued with plans from early 2019 to make this family visit happen, even though there were challenges. My nephew Joash was the instigator in bringing us all together, and his father in law 'Eddie' wanted an outback experience.
To maximise our adventure/safari I planned a big loop run out on the Duncan Hwy, south through Sturt Creek to Tanami Hwy and home.
This greatly simplifies the journey we did through arid lands on remote & often little used roads, but this was experiencing the RAW outback!
As the planning turned into preparation stages I advised Joash they needed to bring a couple of swags to compliment my kit.
Not long before their arrival in August 2019, the 5th WW Greener arrived in Halls Creek, completing a QUINTET set!!! From the rear they are as follows......
WW Greener 'FH-50' boxlock ejector cased gun.
WW Greener 'SPECIAL' Bluerock, boxlock non ejector gun.
WW Greener 'E-17' Empire, boxlock non ejector gun.
WW Greener 'Grade 1' Facile Princeps, boxlock non ejector gun retailed by James Rosier.
WW Greener 'DH-33' boxlock ejector gun, with tang safety & cased.
This set is exactly what was required to execute the outback safari as an inclusive group. We packed most of the equipment into the Toyota troopcarrier Friday night excluding firearms/ammunition and esky with ice.
through the hilly country and out onto the sprawling plains of Flora Valley
Having had an early breakfast with copious volumes of coffee, we hit the road heading almost due east on the Duncan Highway. We visited the little known Aboriginal cemetery on the north side of Duncan Hwy before Olde Town Halls Creek, and even less talked about.
Then onto Olde Town HC where we visited the colonial cemetery and read about its contribution to establishing the 'Royal Flying Doctors'.
Continuing east we passed the semi-completed house on the hill, Palm Springs, through the hilly country and out onto the sprawling plains of Flora Valley.
We turned southwards at the Sturt Ck station turnoff and reduced our travelling speed as we were now on station roads & not graded highway. On the top end of Sturt Ck I showed them the site where I broke down in 2016 & had to survive for 3 days unaided with 2 young boys. Our plan was to get to Wolfe Creek Crater in time for a sunset viewing so we had to keep travelling as quick as we could, there are no roadside distance markers!
Near Sturt Creek Station homestead I blooded the WW Greener 'E-17' Empire on a nice grey Plains Kangaroo doe, using Federal No 4 Buckshot. Many hands make light work and I quickly butchered up the grey doe (Aboriginals call these 'blue') & ferried all the meat back to the esky, in part for dinner.
Just north of Sturt Ck station we discovered the 'massacre site' at the goat yard I'd heard about for years, but NEVER seen despite driving past previously. We took photo's & solemnly paid our respects to this TERRIBLE blight on Australia's history, still unreconciled today in August 2022!
Continuing on southwards we were travelling on my memory of years before and the station had put in extra fencing/gates where the road had changed! Several times I had to get out and check which road to take, based upon most regular tracking usage! (yes I know, NOT very sophisticated in 21st century)
I couldn't determine if we were on the correct road
At one stage I couldn't determine if we were on the correct road, but as we were heading southwards had to back my judgement and continue. The sun was beginning to drop in the west and still I didn't know if we were on course, when we neared Wolfe Creek I began to recognise country.
I then knew we were onto Carranya station, soon after we made a turn right and were headed west along the north bank of Wolfe Creek to Wolfe Ck Crater. It was satisfying to arrive in time for the sunset at Wolfe Ck Crater after a hard days driving in the outback with little signage and NO GPS!
My brother Geoffry commented that, "He'd have been surprised had we made it by Sunday sunset!" In fairness we covered a lot of country I know by experience.
We climbed Wolfe Ck Crater perimeter wall and took the mandatory photo's, my nephews being hi-tech executed 'panoramic' shots for us older guy's. Then we descended into the crater, perhaps 200 metres drop & walked across the dry salt pan in the centre to far wall climbing out to perimeter.
not many lizards tolerate this
We noticed the wall being eroded here on the north side by the predominant winds bearing sand that effectively is sand blasting the north side rim! (15 metre cutting) It was decided to walk the perimeter anti clockwise back to the start point, arriving in the twilight, viewing a Wolfe Creek Crater 'Dragon' in the process.
These are quite tame and if one moves slowly so as not to alarm them, can be approached to under a metre to photograph, not many lizards tolerate this. Retiring to the campground after dark, we set up camp of swags around a fireplace, and used the esky as a work bench to prepare dinner.
Because firewood was sparse, the nephews drove back to Carranya homestead to gather good wood whilst I started cooking Kangaroo & veges on the barbeque. Dinner went well, and with extra wood brought back we had fuel to feed the fire during the night.
No flats, mission achieved to get to Wolfe Ck Crater for sunset achieved & a good dinner, day 1 was declared a SUCCESS!!! Day 2 saw us rise early to appreciate the sunrise, cooked breakfast over the fireplace again with copious coffee.
It had been a GOOD campsite, with cold winter weather and a fireplace for warmth and cooking, we all enjoyed the moment. (Carpe Diem)
Having a responsive team HELPS greatly in breaking camp, packing the Toyota troop carrier and getting onto the road for day 2.
Once again we headed southwards towards the Tanami Highway, passing Carranya homestead & pausing to photograph.
From here on I knew the roads quite well & we weren't under the pump to arrive back into Halls Creek at a specific time like sunset @ Wolfe Ck Crater.
At the Tanami Hwy junction we viewed & photographed the old roadhouse & I shared the story of an Aboriginal man being shot there in modern times! Whilst he survived being shot with birdshot from a shotgun, it was another TERRIBLE incident of modern times in this region. (thereafter it was boycotted & closed)
satisfying to arrive in time for the sunset at Wolfe Creek Crater
We crossed the grid on the Tanami Hwy travelling west onto Ruby Plains station country, turning off south into Ruby Plains country after about 20 minutes/ The hunting was good and my guests were surprised how quick I could field dress (butcher) a Kangaroo ready to load into the esky.
Covering the country gave them an appreciation of the different environments, habitat and game. The sun set and it was dark by the time we looped back north to the Tanami Highway, now it was a simple drive up the Tanami Highway to the Great Northern Highway.
Arrived at the Great Northern Highway & headed north up the bituminised last 18 kilometres, home to Halls Creek, with NO flats or breakdowns. We did a quick charitable meat run around town which pleased the recipients, and home to HOT showers to wash off 2 days of outback dust and grime.
Then sat down to a lovely fireplace asian dinner prepared by my Chinese girlfriend, 'Abby'. Good food, good fire, & good red wine to celebrate a SUCCESSFUL 2 day safari over the weekend.
My nephew's father in law Eddie got his wish, a memorable outback safari celebrating WW Greener!
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