Day 16…hold the press, I’m front page news…

Monday, 18th August 2008.

Today was a pretty quiet and uneventful sort of a day. I started out at Lake Poon Boon and wandered along the dirt road to Stony Crossing. I only saw one vehicle, a council worker (…what’s white and sleeps four ?) on a weed eradication program who gave me a quick lesson in the correct pronunciation of Wakool. After Stoney Crossing I was on the sealed road and there was a bit more traffic, mainly B-Doubles hauling produce. Along with all the trucks was a white sedan that approached me slowly and then stopped. John from Balranald leaned out of the window and yelled “The camels are down by the creek with Mr Wills !”. How did he know what I was doing ? It turns out the interview I did with Hayley at the Guardian was on the front page of today’s issue – it must have been a quiet news day in Swan Hill ! I chatted with John, a Wati Wati man, for a while before continuing on towards the Wakool. By 4.00 pm I was at the river crossing at Kyalite.

Burke had ordered the men to move on from Poon Boon to Kyalite and they arrived at Henry Talbett’s punt at 8.00 pm. The wagons were still some way behind and so the men crossed to Talbett’s Kyalite Hotel and had dinner, before returning to the south bank and the horses and camels where they slept beside the camp fire under the stars. I went into the Kyalite Hotel having crossed the Wakool by the road bridge. Although the expedition had dined here, I opted for a couple of quick beers by the wood-fired heater before heading down to the Edward River to camp.

Becker noted that the following morning he hurried down to the Wakool to inspect the river. He noted some of its feaures in his notebook and then made two sketches, one a cross section of the river and one showing Talbett’s heavily laden punt crossing the river. The ferruginous outcrop is still there and exposed due to the low water levels and it is possible to identify the spot where Becker sat to paint – now on Australia’s largest commercial pistachio farm. The horses and camels crossed on the punt while waiting for the waggons and Landells was angered by Wills interference in the unloading of the camels which he claimed nearly caused the loss of one of the animals. The conflict between Burke, Wills and Landells would continue all the way to Menindee, but there would be more pressing personality clashes that would occur just up the road at Balranald.

Distance travelled today; 29.7 km.
Today Dave is at Kyalite.
After sixteen days of travel, Burke was at Swan Hill.
Dave has had two days off so far. Burke and the expedition have had seven days off by this stage.

Leave a Reply