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Colson's Expedition across the Simpson Desert
Title : Colson's Expedition across the Simpson Desert Colson's Expedition across the Simpson Desert
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Creator : Colson, Edmund Albert
Source : B 9113/22
Date of creation : 1936
Format : Photograph
Catalogue record
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Description :

Colson's Expedition: Camels photographed about 7 miles west of the Mulligan River, near the Rabbit Proof Fence. This is the only place that drift sand was encountered; the camels are standing 15 feet above the original fence.

In 1936 Ted Colson led a small expedition consisting of himself and Peter Ains, an Aboriginal man, and five camels across the Simpson Desert from his station at Blood Creek, in what would be the first recorded crossing of the desert. Living locally Colson was aware that rain had fallen in the region, and that there would be water and feed for his camels. He crossed the desert to Birdsville in Queensland and returned to his home in 36 days.

The Simpson Desert would be crossed again in 1939 by Cecil Madigan, also using camels. Madigan took a more northerly route than Colson, who had largely travelled along the 26th parallel. Madigan's expedition was also a scientific examination of the desert, with natural history specimens gathered and studies of the sand dunes made.

Camels had been an essential component of the exploration of Australia since the late 1860s, being well adapted to desert conditions and capable of bearing considerable loads.

Related names :

Colson, Edmund Albert

Coverage year : 1936
Place : Simpson Desert
Further reading :
McKnight, Tom L. The camel in Australia [Melbourne]: Melbourne University Press, [1969]
Stevens, Christine, Tin mosques & ghantowns: a history of Afghan cameldrivers in Australia Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1989
Colson, EA 'The first recorded crossing of the Simpson Desert from west to east', Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia, South Australian Branch, vol. 41, 1939/40 pp. 10-21
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing. Taking it to the edge August 2004-



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