Narional Archives of Australia
Report on Blue Streak F2 Patrol October 1964
Patrol Report R Macauley 13.11.1964
Considerable planning went into the ground / air searches in
connection with F2, and on this occasion the Native Patrol Officers
were able to express their own ideas as to how a search should be
conducted. The end result was that the search programme was successfully
and well conducted, and there is very little evidence to suggest that
there are any Aborigines near the impact area and not contacted by a
Native Patrol Officer.
A copy of the Trial Instructions relating to the ground / air
search is enclosed. There was also a complementary RAAF search
instruction, but this is not included in this report. All schedules
were adhered to, although the vehicles of the Native Patrol Officers
suffered severley, the major difficulties being broken differentials
(3), worn drive shafts (2), broken king pin (1) and cracked chassis on
both vehicles. The Workshop International with the party suffered
minor breakdowns only, probably because it had not previously been
subjected to the strains of work in a rough area. The RAAF Dakota
on stand-by at the North-west coastal towns provided excellent support
to the ground parties and the crew are thanked for their ready cooperation.
Brief Notes of Participation by NPO E Macauley
Tuesday 6th October, 1964
Proceeded in International AB-120, 4 x 4, from Woomera to
Emu via Coober Pedy and Mabel Creek. Joined Senior Constable Tom
Murray of Maralinga at Emu. Mileage 393.
Wednesday 7th October
Patrolled the outer northern perimeter of the Maralinga
Prohibited Zone with Tom Murray as far as the SA / WA border. There
were no recent signs of movement by Aborigines and the Prohibited
Area continues to be uninhabited by Aborigines as far as is known.
Thursday 8th October
Proceeded alone to Neale Junction without seeing any signs of
recent movement by Aborigines. The 'unnamed' RHs 113 west of the
border had been cleaned out within the last six weeks probably by the
occupants of some vehicle using the road. At Neale Junction, 210 miles
west of the border, numerous names in a bottle indicated that the road
from Laverton to Neale Junction, Rawlinna and Warburton Mission has
gained in attraction and not only for large survey parties. There was
some Army equipment at Neale Junction and numerous vehicles under Major
Spengler were surveying the area of the road between Neale Junction and
Warburton. A new widely graded Hunt Oil road was encountered 44 miles
north of Neale Junction swinging away to he east. (This road probably
goes as far as the border.) The wide road was followed north, past
another road east to the border at the 27th parallel, to a point 114 miles
north of Neale Junction, at which point the road swung north-west to join
the Laverton / Warburton road. Much confusion could easily result as few
of the roads have any destination indicator. Continued north on a
narrower road past several airstrips and camped 159 miles north of Neale
Junction. Mileage 369.
Friday 9th October
Turned north-east on Beadell's original road, 166 miles north
of Neale Junction, and approached Warburton Mission from the south along
Elder Creek. The country around the Mission was very green following
the heavy falls of rain earlier in the year. At the Mission, 192 miles
north of Neale Junction, hired services of Takamara (ex Taltiwara area)
and Brian Woods. These men were employed at one pound each per day food
provided. Woods was later placed on an incentive payment of approximately
one pound 6 shillings and 8 pence a day because of his general willingness to assist in all
matters. (The wage scale was that recommended by the office of the
Superintendent of Native Welfare, Goldfields Division, Kalgoolie).
Proceeded north of the Mission 40 miles to the Carnegie turn-off then
west for 75 miles. At this point, headed north 22 miles to Lake
Margareta to inspect the area for signs of recent Aboriginal occupation.
(During my April, 1964 patrol I had seen smoke which I thought had come
from the Lake). There were no signs of recent occupation.
Saturday 10th October
Returned to E-W road and proceeded to the fuel dump 5 miles west
of Mt Everard in the Browne Range. While heading north, Takamara
indicated several RHs near the road (Tjatjantjara, Wankatjara, Yirilta).
Reached Taltawara Creek and RH at 89 miles north of the fuel point,
and Windy Corner in another 26 miles. Proceeded to Gary Junction 86
miles north of Windy Corner then 29 miles N-W to Well 35 joining Mr
MacDougall, mechanic Meakins and driver Surman at midnight.
Sunday 11th October
Day spent at Well 35 conferring with Mr MacDougall and
orientating to situation. Lengthy summary signal sent to Woomera.
As Mr MacDougall had covered area from Well 40 to Well 35, we decided
I shall cover area Well 35 to Well 31 while he returns to group of
twenty on Lake Percival. Vehicles checked by mechanic. Mileage 1.
Monday 12th October
In company with Meakins and Surman, workshop International,
and guides Sailor and Nyani (ex Jiggalong), proceeded from Well 35 along
escarpment to Mindikaya RH (12 miles) and more RHs with some (sic) name
3 miles on. Continued S-W generally across spinifex plains another
10 miles to Well 33. (Well 34 was by-passed because Mr MacDougall had
not found any signs of very recent occupation there and the Well was
surrounded by sandhills). Well 33, Kunawaritji, is still equipped
with windlass and bucket. The water is slightly better than Well 35
and is only 12 feet from the surface. (We lived on water from Well 35
for weeks without any ill effects. Proceeded S-W keeping to the
pebbly escarpments and headlands hoping for better travelling, then
returned to the spinifex at Well 32. The water here is 25 feet from the
surface and the quality is good. From Well 32 proceeded on bearing
205 degrees to headlands and in 10 miles came to a ceremonial site and a RH
in an impressive rock cut away through the escarpment. This is Yayarungun
with numerous small heaps of placed stones. From this RH proceeded
west towards Well 31 and camped in spinifex in 4 miles when workshop
International broke a front shackle bolt hanger. Mileage 57.
Tuesday 13th October
Proceeded with guides to Well 31 while workshop International
was being repaired. Reached Well in 7 miles. Plenty of nara (wild orange)
here and good water in Well 24 feet from surface. Well is equipped with a
windlass and the inevitable scattered rusting troughs present around all
the wells. As all indications at Wells 33, + 32 / 31 were that the last
Aboriginal visitors had moved S-E, assumed they had gone towards the
group known to inhabit the Taltamara - Yirilta area. Returned to work-
shop International and began return to Well 35 to allow workshop Inter-
national to join Mr MacDougall whose vehicle chassis had cracked on Lake
Percival. One mile from last night's camp on a small sandhill both
diffs of my International broke into pieces. There were indications
that this was a result of previous fatigue and cracking. At this time
saw very distant smoke towards Well 30 indicating that Aboriginals had
circled around from S-E and Windy Corner towards Lake Auld. Sailor and
Nyani set out to locate them, expecting to be back at Thursday noon.
Wednesday 14th October
Remained at breakdown point. Huge smokes visible in direction
of Well 30. Mileage nil.
Thursday 15th October
Fires still visible. No indications that guides returning.
Friday 16th October
Proceeded gingerly in workshop International to Well 31 and
west 8 miles towards Well 30 and direction of fires. Passed 'Nurgurga'
Soak 5 miles west of Well 31. Returned to breakdown vehicle because of
extreme distance of smoke. (Learned later that fires were beyond Well 30).
Saturday 17th October
(F2 delayed 24 hours). Returned to Well 31 and left Takamara
there with food supply and instructions for Sailor and Nyani and any
others to await our return. From breakdown point headed to Well 35
via Wells 32 and 33, keeping to spinifex flats to west of tableland.
Reached Well 32 in 12 miles (20 miles from Well 31). Well 33 is 14 miles
on, and Well 35 another 28 miles. Proceeded on graded road to Picture
Cave Hill, 116 miles from Well 35, arriving at 0300 hours.
Sunday 18th October
Met RAAF Dakota at Swindells Field 1030 hours. Flew in
aircraft to Mr MacDougall at 21 deg 21 min S, 124 deg 58 min E on Lake Percival
and successfully dropped fresh supplies. Plastic jerry can of water burst on
impact. Flew SSW to broken down International, Well 31 and Well 30.
Did not see anyone at Well 31 (although the group was there). Flew over
huge burnt out area between Well 30 and Lake Auld, then returned to
Swindells via Lake Auld. Unloaded diffs and other supplies from aircraft
and proceeded to Picture Cave Hill with Mr T Long, Assistant Superintendent
Department Native Welfare, Port Hedland, as passenger. Camped Picture
Cave Hill, unloaded diffs, etc. Mileage 170.
Monday 19th October
Proceeded along semi-graded road to western end of Lake Percival
then east on southern side joining Mr MacDougall at north-west end of
main chain (21 deg 21 min S, 124 deg 58 min E) late in the afternoon. His vehicle
was then bolted together and temporary repairs carried out to the king pin. Met
group of twenty Aborigines, seven women and thirteen children. One woman
a suspected leprosy case. Mileage 122.
Tuesday 20th October
At 0830 heard of successful launch and flight details of F2.
At 0840 observed vapour trail at 190 deg and 'burn up' flame appearing
and disappearing finally at 210 deg. Observed first part of break-up and
four to five minutes later heard several low rumbles from break-up.
Trajectory indicated impact was bearing 225 deg. Following his signals
to Commissioner, Department of Native Welfare, Mr Long made specific
request for WRE vehicles to transport the twenty Aborigines to
Swindells Field and this was done by Mr MacDougall, who camped first
night at Pipun Soak, western end of Percival Lakes. Workshop International
proceeded to Picture Cave, reloading diffs etc. Mileage 122.
Wednesday 21st October
Began work 0500 replacing drag link spring on workshop
International. Re-watered at Well 35 and returned to broken down
International along earlier return track. Mileage 170.
Thursday 22 October
While mechanics worked on vehicle, proceeded with Mr Long
in workshop International to Well 31 and met Takamara, Sailor, Nyani,
and group comprising one man, two women, two young men, one big boy
and two children. Sailor reported that group had seen rocket bearing
026 deg and had heard three bangs - no alarm caused. Agreed to Mr Long's
request to transport this group to Swindells Field. International mobile
at 1600 and both vehicles proceeded slowly to Well 35, refuelling and
re-watering there. Mileage 67.
Friday 23rd October
(Workshop International with driver, mechanic, Mr Long, Sailor,
and Nyani transported the eight to Swindells Field to join Mr MacDougall
with the twenty and await Dr Elphinstone and anthropologist, R Tomkinson,
flying in by RAAF Dakota. Three WAG vehicles were sent to
Swindells Field to provide transport for the 28 and Sailor and Nyani to
Jiggalong. This transport was inadequate and Mr MacDougall and the
other International were asked to assist.) With Brian Moore and Takamara
I proceeded to Gary Junction, Windy Corner and Yirilta RH where I met
two women and two children. Two men were away for the day hunting around
another RH. One of the women, Nawali, a widow with no children, had
been injured in a fight and she decided to travel to Warburton Mission
Hospital on the International. (A separate report has been written about
her). Others in the group have been listed below. It is noted that
only one other woman is remaining in this small group, and as she will
probably severely 'miss' female company, I recommend that a WA patrol
should visit the Yirilta - Taltawara area before Christmas, offering
return transport to Nawali if she wants to go. Yirilta is only a
day's travel from Warburton Mission.
From Yirilta, proceeded south to the Browne Range camping
70 miles east of that Range. The whole day had been lengthened and
made inconvenient by water in the fuel. Mileage 304.
Saturday 24th October
Proceeded slowly to Warburton Mission, placing Nawali in
hospital where she was treated by a visiting medical officer of a
WA University Cardiographic Survey team led by Dr Kirk. The
doctor indicated that with penicillin injections and attention in
hospital, Nawali should recover in a short time. I told her she
would have the opportunity to return to Yirilta when she was well again.
Brian Moore and Takamara were returned to the Mission. Travelled on the
north road to Giles, camping a few miles from Giles at 0100.
Sunday 25th October
After a rear spring was welded and clamped at Giles, proceeded via
Musgrave Park to camp 64 miles east of Mulga Park and 27 miles west of
Victory Downs. Mileage 353.
Monday 26th October
Proceeded south on main road, arriving Woomera 0400 hours
Tuesday morning, a trip lengthened in time by carburettor and fuel trouble
and a disintegrating back spring. Mileage 546.
Notes from Journal Account
1. I do not know of any other Aborigines in or around the impact
area, although Mr MacDougall may have some information on one blind man
and his family who may be north of the Percivals.It seems that the
men folk from the Percival groyp have either died or moved to another
settlement, either Balgo or La Grange.
2. I did not conduct a full scale census of the 28 contacted
because Mr R Tomkinson of the Anthropology Department WA University
was flown up to examine the group. However, in company with Mr Long,
I did record names, ages and a photograph of each person (to be made
available). All ages are estimations.
Tapapun, female widow?, 50 years
Ya:puti, her daughter, 14 years
Na:pina, her son, 12 years
Kulata, female, blind in one eye, widow?, 21 years
Mutia, her son, 5 years
Unnamed, daughter, 9 months
Tjuntyun, female, widow?, 27 years
Putulpa, her son, 10 years
Na:kana, daughter, 8 years
Ka:tjani, daughter, 4 years
Ta:taka, son, 3 years
Yultu, female, leper case, widow?, 38 years
Unnamed, daughter, 2 years
Nyukinaya, female, widow, 48 years
Nipinina, her daughter, widow?, 35 years
Yuanani (Yuali), Nipinina's daughter, 16 years, single
Yatjina, Nipinina's son, 10 years
Yitinya, Nipinina's daughter, 5 years
Unnamed, Nipinina's daughter, 18 months
Yuntibana, female, widow?, 48 years
Kulati and Nipinina are full sisters.
The sub-section names for this group are the same as those
of the Noda of the Rawlinson area.
Well 30, 31 group
Yinayatu or Ya:karna, male, married (all teeth), 29 years
Pay na, his wife, 24 years
Yulanbina, their son, 6 years
Tutara, female, widow, 55 years
Tinkurinana, her son, initiated, 18 years
Tipirna, her son, uninitiated, 11 years
Paya na is also her daughter.
Narinarinina, male, initiated, 20 years
Manina, his brother, uninitiated, 15 years
The guide, Nyani, is a first cousin ('brother') of Yinayatu.
3. Sailor's wife at Jiggalong is a full sister to Tutara and
first cousin of Kulati and Nipinina, placing these three women in a
'kiri' or wife relationship to Sailor. Nyani advised that he has
claimed Yuali and Ya:puti for second wives.
4. The geographic distance covered by these people is consid-
erable although it may have increased as the area became more and more
depopulated. Thus the guide, Takamara, knew the area from Alfred
and Marie Range to Well 31. He had been to Jupiter Well from Taltamara
in 1963, although he had never been to Gary Junction or Well 35.
Movement was via Karara Soak to Wells 30 and 31. Well 31 marked the
approximate eastern 'edge' of Sailor's old country. Narinarinina and his
brother, Manina, in the Well 31 group, were recorded by me at Taltamara
in April 1964. Yinayatu and family had recently been as far north as
Well 38 and 16 miles west of Well 35. Narinarinina has pronounced
semitic features, and in this regard it is noted that the explorer,
Carnegie, named Jew Well (19 degrees 41 minutes, 127 degrees 27 minutes)
after the appearance of a family there. This note is not meant to carry
any significance in relation to the origin or movement of the Aborigines.
5. Mr Long moved the Percival Lakes group to Jiggalong Mission
on the real grounds of their tribal, physical, welfare and health
requirements. The Group at Well 31 were also moved at their own request,
mainly on the grounds that such a small group cannot maintain a satis-
factory social life in an area so depopulated. On Mr Long's request,
WRE vehicles transported both groups to Swindells Field and then
assisted in transport to Jiggalong because the vehicle space provided
by the three WRE vehicles from Port Headland was inadequate.
6. The wells on the Canning are generally in good condition with
the quality of the water good and safe without boiling. Supply was
plentiful in all cases. The timbering at most wells has lasted surprisingly
although there are signs of decay appearing. Most wells still retained
buckets and windlasses, and in some cases, covers over the wells. Troughs
are scattered around each well, and at Well 31 had been used as a wind-
break by Aborigines in earlier days.
7. The stock route is not readily visible from the air, or even
the ground at first. There are no cattle or human tracks visible. However,
the Canning Basin itself becomes apparent on close scrutiny. For most of
its course between Wells 30 and 40, it is marked by a conspicuous belt of
numerous closely jumbled sandhills on its western side, an open spinifex
plain about two miles wide to the eastern side, and a continuous eroded
gravelly plateau with jutting low headlands about three miles to the east.
The stock route follows the main basin which is a slight depression with a
good coverage of low acacias. Wells 31, 32 and 33 are found among tea-trees,
but Wells 34 - 40 are among the sandhills just to the west of the actual
8. There is not an abundance of kangaroo, emu, or large game in
the area, but dingoes and bush turkeys abound. There is bird and snake life in
abundance and a few rabbits were seen. The area generally contains a
plentiful supply of 'bush' vegetables and fruits.
9. Good co-operation was received by me from the Missioners at
Warburton and the weather officers at Giles who transmitted lengthy
messages to 5BW before the WRE radio operator arrived at Giles.
10. Takamara, employed from Warburton as a guide, provides an example
of the mobility of the Western Desert people. I first met Takamara at
Taltawara in April 1964. He was born in that area and later spent
several years at school at Warburton. (He is about 21 years of age).
His parents later returned to the bush and left him with a relative,
later believing he had died. The parents then moved to Laverton where they
live in a house on the Reserve, and Takamara's younger brother is now at the
Wongutha Training Farm, Esperance. The family name is Campbell.
11. The Yirilta group consisted of six persons who had previously
been visited by Mr Taylor earlied this year. There was no one at
Natuna, female, widow (Napaljeri), 44 years
Nawali, female, widow (Naparnati), 25 years
(Nawali is not related closely to Natuna.)
Ta:karartukura, male, widower, not seen
(His wife was Natuna's daughter.)
Ngunkalina, female (Naparnati), 5 years
Narla, male (Naparnati), 2 1/2 - 3 years
(These two children of Ta:karartukura are cared for
by their grandmother Natuna.)
Nalpana, young male, initiated, single, Napaljeri=Purung,
Takamara, the guide, stated that Ngunkalina is his 'promised' wife
Native Patrol Officer
Not included in Woomera copy of Report.
1. S. side main Percival Lake. Every channel was a potential bog.
2. Soft-topped sandhills of the Great Sandy Desert, with intervening spinifex.
3. Typical of a very large area - spinifex and sandhills.
4. WAPET dozed sandhill being quickly blown in near Swindells Field.
5. 10 miles NE of Well 31. Rocky escarpment to E of spinifex plain
and low belt of acacias.
6. Atop a rocky escarpment.
7. Typical escarpment (with caves) and spinifex plain.
8. Road between Picture Cave Hill and Well 35.
9. Well 35, Canning Stock Route - a plentiful supply of
moderately good water.
10. Guides at Well 33.
11. Well 32 with original bucket.
12. Well 31, showing troughs used by Aborigines for wind-breaks.
Nara (wild tomatoes) in foreground.
13. Guides Nyani and Takamara operate windlass at Well 31.
14. Takamara drinking from windlass, Well 31. Wells are nowadays
well cared for by all Aborigines and lids replaced where available.
15. Desert oak timbering typical of the Wells, Canning Stock Route.
16. Hardly any indication from a distance that camp is present. Taltawara.
Simplest material terms with physical environment?
17. Wet-weather camp, Taltawara.
18. Three youths at Taltawara, April 1964. Takamara on right.
19. Three youths at Taltawara, April 1964. Takamara on right.
20. Narinarinya and his brother Muninya (right) at Taltawara, April, 1964
21. Narinarinya, Taltawara, April, 1964, with lizard from hair string belt.
22. Narinarinya illustrating his Semitic features, Taltawara, April, 1964.
23. Old man, Taltawara, 1964.
24. Women and children, Taltawara, April, 1964.
25. Guide, Tjitjiri, from Tika Tika, collecting nara, west of Well 35.
26. The women of the Percival Lake, Percival Lake, 20.10.1964.
27. Children, Percival Lake, 20.10.1964.
28. Two girls, new in from Tika Tika, clothed by Rawlinson
Aborigines near Giles, 12. 4.1964.