The iconic Canning Stock Route is one of the longest, toughest 4x4 desert tracks in the world today. It is remote, hot and inhospitable to life and machine. Once on the track, there are few options for escape. Billiluna is the gateway in the north, Wiluna to the south and about halfway there is the small, remote Aborigine Community of Kunawarritji. Seen as a 'last frontier', the challenge of the Canning Stock Route is getting man and machine safely from one side to the other, crossing 1800km of desert and crawling over 800+ sand dunes. With 4WD enthusiasts regularly taking up the CSR challenge, a rare breed of adventurers are doing it even tougher on motorbikes, 2WD vehicles, camel, bicycle and on foot. Here is a short history from pioneers to modern day adventurers....
A new book published by Phil Bianchi, Work Completed, Canning, comprehensively brings to life over 104 years of Canning Stock Route history. A must for lovers of outback stories and CSR history, 724 pages, maps and photographs rarily seen before, are brought to your coffee table this Christmas. ORDER NOW.
New information and Timeline for Modern Day AdventurersRead more...
A South African woman makes history in Australia, becoming the first person to walk across three of Australia's most remote deserts, The Gibson, The Great Sandy and Little Sandy Deserts ... alone. The Canning Walker's Challenge for 2013
Starting from Billiluna in the north near Halls Creek on 31 May 2013, Gaynor Schoeman walked for 66 days, carrying a backpack of 30kg, finishing 1657km later in the tiny outback goldfields town of Wiluna on 05 August 2013. Gaynor was and still is, raising money for Walk 4 Wheels and Walk 4 Wings in memory of hangglider pilot and friend, Bruce McClunan, who broke his neck on April Fool's Day in 2011.
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01 December 2013
It has been four months since I walked out of the desert. Friends and strangers ask, 'What was it like?' I look at them blankly. Mind empty.
Words do not come..... Nor thoughts.
And then the feeling of frustration floods in. I don't know what to say. I don't know where to start. Is there a beginning to this tale? Do you have the time to listen? I gaze back at expectant faces eagerly awaiting insight. Surely someone who has walked the deserts for over two months would have experienced an epiphany?
How can I describe the desperate isolation that threatened to overwhelm me when I looked too deeply into those endless horisons ... When I felt my place in the world ... And found I was insignificant.
“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It was 10am in Billiluna and time to go. The late start was preceded by a round of hellos and goodbyes with excited members of the Aboriginal community who gathered to greet me and a quick internet update on Facebook and The Canning Walker website courtesy of the Administration Offices Satellite link. A check to see that SPOT was working, a photograph to record the start and we were off.
Andy had decided to accompany me that first day out of Billiluna to make sure I got away safely. On one of my previous visits a young girl, barely a teenager, was allegedly raped the month before. Her attackers were teenage boys with strong family ties. The boys walked free within the Community and attempted to intimidate me on more than one occasion. In a non related incident, one of the sons of powerful Elders approached me for ‘sexual intercourse’, offering $100. I did not fear rape from him, but I needed to be careful. Both men and women, Aboriginal and white, asked whether I was concerned about the featherfoot or men when I was in the desert alone. Whilst I did not fear harm from travellers in the desert, I was concerned about the possibility near Billiluna. I was very grateful for Andy shadowing me that first day.Read more...