The Galah Session

"The Birdsville Track is no big challenge!"

Birdsville Roadhouse - Wednesday, May 23, 2012


As I write, I’m looking at the Krakka Koldee Racing Buggy on the dyno, a mechanism that tests horsepower and health of vehicles. We’re waiting for it to be tested to gauge the success of its rewiring in Brisbane, which explains the absence of blog posts over the past week, sorry!

However, before we left Birdsville, we had the pleasure of meeting a group of three cyclists who are tackling a south-north journey of Australia to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. John Jagoe, 70, Maree Smith, 55, and Murray Suckling, 73, were disappointed with the condition of the Birdsville Track. They expected it to be a much harder, rougher ride!

“The Birdsville Track was far better than we imagined. We thought it would be a challenging ride but there was only a little bit of soft sand and loose gravel, which is difficult on a bike,” Murray told us when we spoke to him in Birdsville.

Their journey is 2200 kilometres long, stretching between the Great Australian Bight and the Gulf of Carpentaria, passing through the Flinders Ranges. Since they left Port Augusta two and a half weeks ago, they said that their best stop was definitely Birdsville.



“Birdsville is far more modern than we expected,” Murray said. “It’s a very friendly community and we’ve stayed here a lot longer than we planned to.”

When the group heard that the Birdsville Social Club was holding their annual Bronco Branding, Rodeo and Camp Draft weekend, they decided to stay and watch. They also attended Sandra’s stargazing session and were amazed by the desert night sky. “This is our fifth day in Birdsville now and we’re still not ready to leave,” Murray said.

The group mentioned that they were also very impressed with facilities at Clayton Station, a farm stay and camping area north of Marree on the Birdsville Track and the staff at the Mungerannie Hotel, just over 300 kilometres south of Birdsville. “Clayton Station camping area had flush toilets in the middle of nowhere!” Maree marvelled. “When we left Mungerannie, we were about 20 kilomtres out and they caught up with us and gave us a box of apples.”

Four years ago, the trio successfully completed a 6100-kilometre east west crossing of Australia from Byron Bay to Steep Point, passing Innamincka and Uluru. This journey took three months and eventually raised over $17,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

It’s travellers like John, Maree and Murray that make living in Birdsville so rewarding. They’re inspiring, fascinating people that we get to know over a few days and who are able to experience the best of outback life in Birdsville.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service is an exceptional cause to support and we thank the people who do. With the closest doctor 700 kilometres away, it’s the RFDS who we call for emergency assistance and who fly in for a fortnightly GP practice.

Birdsville local Jenna Brook is about to embark on a challenging 440-kilometre Simpson Desert Walk to raise money for the RFDS. She has already singlehandedly raised over $14,000. If you would like to donate to the walk, you can head to her website, which also documents her walk preparations. If you would like to donate to John, Maree and Murray’s ride, they ask that you contact the RFDS directly or give them a donation if you see them during their journey.

From all in Birdsville, thank you for supporting a cause that is incredibly important for the survival of remote communities.



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