Kathy Burman, the story of her walk in 1976


by Kathy Burman

Kathy Burman Photo Rex ShawOn the evening of May 18, 1976, a heavily-laden 1971 long-wheel-base Landrover pulled out of Perth bound for the Canning Stock Route, a 1600 km long trail across the Gibson and Great Sandy deserts between Halls Creek and Wiluna. The stock route, with wells up to 32km apart, was last used in about 1958. The wells are numbered from south to north.

Five of us, all members of the Perth Bushwalking Club, hoped to walk the stock route, a trek impossible without first laying in food and water supplies where necessary along the way. To this end, the Landrover travelled north from Wiluna with three of our party on board; Murray Rankin, leader of the expedition, his wife Serena and Ralph Barraclough, owner and driver of the vehicle. There was no room for Rex Shaw and myself, the other two members. Food and water were buried at predetermined sites, mainly by wells. I will emphasis at this point that once we were out of station country and into the sand-dunes of the desert, the Landrover was forced to follow a zig-zag course, often travelling up to three times the distance between wells, whereas the return journey on foot was by the shortest route possible — a straight line from well to well.

After a long hard five weeks of driving, the three finally arrived in Halls Creek, taking two weeks longer than expected to complete the trip. During this time, it had been necessary to detour out to Newman for repairs and spare springs, a total of nine being broken for the trip. Near well 24, fire had broken out underneath the vehicle, but thanks to copper fuel piping, no major damage resulted. There were over 450 litres of fuel on board at the time!


Where to find recently published articles

The following links will take you to pages that are being updated in 2018:

A Timeline of Canning Stock Route Adventurers

Diary of a Canning Walker

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The Canning Walker's Challenge for 2013

End of the CSR for Gaynor Schoeman Canning Walker

Starting from Billiluna in the north near Halls Creek on 31 May 2013, Gaynor Schoeman walked 1657km solo for 66 days, carrying a backpack of 30kg, finishing on the 05 August 2013 in the tiny outback goldfields town of Wiluna.

Gaynor was raising money for quadriplegic wheelchair rugby players under the banner Walk 4 Wheels and Walk 4 Wings in memory of hangglider pilot and friend, Bruce McClunan, who broke his neck on 1st April 2011.

Many class this walk as unsupported, done in a similar way as the first successful walkers lead by Murray Rankin in 1976.

Whilst I did not walk with vehicle support, or with another person, without the help of Andy Sutcliffe in establishing my supply route before the walk, and my food sponsors, this walk would not have been possible.  For this reason I class my 2013 desert walk only as SOLO .... by my own standards. Media interviews - TV, Radio, Newspapers and Magazines.


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