Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Across the Simpson Desert

Camels carry supplies across the Simpson Desert. Photo: Jo Stewart.

Jo Stewart, Across the Simpson Desert by camel, The Saturday Paper, 3 October 2015

Steeped in mystery and romanticism, Australia’s deserts unveil their secrets to those patient enough to traverse them on foot.

Mostly, it’s advice: “Don’t get bitten by a snake.” Or: “Be careful of deranged serial killers.” From one friend, it’s a broad and selfless aspiration for my next 18 days: “I hope you don’t die out there.”

Embedded with a team of scientists conducting field work, the 300-kilometre walk through the Simpson Desert isn’t some kind of life-affirming trek; it’s work that just happens to take place in the great red middle of Australia. Travelling from the outback outpost of Birdsville with the group from the Australian Museum Research Institute, the Australian National University and the Queensland Herbarium, and a team of cameleers from Australian Desert Expeditions, our aim is to explore a remote tract of the Munga-Thirri National Park, formerly known as the Simpson Desert National Park.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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