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Sailers Set Sail In The Desert by Duncan Horscroft The Bronte Express


I


t's a fair hike from Gardyne Street, Bronte, to the Wiluna Well in the remote Little Sandy Desert in Western Australia. But that little adventure was just a small part of the 46,000kms Peter Sailer and his wife Anne clocked up during their six-and- a-half month sojourn around this great country of ours. Peter and Anne were well prepared for the trip of a lifetime after joining a 4WD club a couple of years ago and undertaking a series of courses to ready them for the harsh Australian outback. "Mate, joining that club was the best thing we ever did, as without that training, we wouldn't have had a hope in hell of doing what we did," Peter said. "Anne finished second in one of the courses we did and that experience paid off as there were a couple of times when she was driving across rivers that the water came up to the wind- screen of our Landcruiser and she took it all in her stride.''


"When you're our age there's so much shit that can happen out there, such as getting crook or even snake bites and you have to be prepared and know what you are doing."


Wiluna Well was the start of a 2,300km journey north along the Canning Stock Route, which crosses four of Australia's most remote deserts in Western Austra- lia and the Northern Territory. Peter and Anne were part of a 4WD convoy to undertake what is considered the ultimate off-road adventure, which takes in the route undertaken by Victorian surveyor Alfred Canning in 1908 to set up a stock route to get beef cattle from the isolated Kimberley region to the south of Western Australia.


"You don't believe how tough these blokes must have been to take on a journey like that on horseback," Peter said. "We took three and a half weeks to drive across it in the "luxury" of motor vehicles, but


these fellers took more than two years in one of the remotest areas in the world.


"There were 900 sand dunes along the way and this Canning bloke managed to build 53 wells from Halls Creek to Wiluna to water the stock.


"We had our problems too, as eight vehicles in our group destroyed 15 new tyres, worth about $4500.''


And for us in Sydney whinge- ing about the latest petrol price hike, take note.


"At Well 33 we paid $3.06 a litre for petrol and needed about 290 litres to keep us going," Peter said.


The stock route was just one of many tales Peter and Anne have to tell and The Beast will be run- ning a series of stories about their magnificent adventures. "Mate, everything about this country is simply magnificent. There’s a million stories out there," Peter said. Stay tuned.


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