The aim of the Well 15 Project was to construct a toilet at Well 15 and affix a sponsor’s sign. Then, as we travelled the Canning Stock Route (CSR) from Well 18 to Windich Springs, we would also clean dunnies and empty dunny carts, pump out wells and install new buckets.

The Perth crew met at Bindoon and travelled north meeting the Geraldton crew in Mt Magnet, with several others joining us at Kumarina. From there we headed to Jigalong with 11 vehicles, 4 equipment trailers and a T-van. From here we would use the Puntawarri Track to access the CSR.

After obtaining permission to use the Track, we set off expecting some water at Savory Creek. There was no problem crossing the creek but we encountered water on the track which necessitated a detour. This resulted in a holed radiator to one vehicle.

The radiator was repaired and we set off again. The repair did not hold so the car was towed until the lead vehicle became bogged and several following vehicles strayed slightly off track requiring them also to be pulled out.

By the time all vehicles had been removed from the bog, we simply camped on the track. Meanwhile, the radiator was again removed and repaired that night and reinstalled in the morning.

Next morning we took nearly 4 hours to make our way over 750 metres of very soft track using snatch straps and Maxtrax. Finally, we reached the CSR and set up camp at Durba Springs.

The next day some of the crew remained behind to clean the dunny, empty the cart and clean out the fire pits. The rest of the crew travelled to Well 18 to affix the sponsor’s sign, clean out the trough, install a new bucket and remove buffel grass from around the well.

The next day we travelled to Well 15, set up camp, chose the location for the dunny and unloaded the trailers ready for work the following day.

Work began after a pre start talk, where jobs for the day and risk mitigation controls were discussed.

Day 1 saw the dunny frame erected, all wall panels washed and painted, concreting completed, stairs and floor installed, dunny cart assembled and lower panels attached.

The well was pumped out and the new bucket attached.

Day 2 the dunny was completed. The fire pit plate and billy hook were also removed, straightened and reinstalled. An emu bob was done around the area. 5 x 200litre drums and various other rubbish was loaded onto the 2.4mtr flat top to be dumped later at a tip in Perth.

Over the next few days we made our way down to Windich Springs. We pumped out Wells 12 & 6 and emptied dunny carts, swept the floors, filled lime buckets and removed the cleaning buckets as these were being used as rubbish bins.

The group left the CSR and returned to Gt Northern Hwy via The Carnarvon Range.

The working time for the dunny build was approximately 170hrs. There were 2 pre-start talks and 2 debriefs. Working hours for the other jobs were not recorded.

The pre-start for these jobs was covered in a Pre-start Briefing Note handed to all participants and a reminder at the beginning of each working day to Work Safe at all times.

There were no reportable or first aid injuries.

Several flat tyres, helper springs on the lighter loaded trailers coming loose, a broken master cylinder hydraulic reservoir on the equipment trailer and a holed radiator were the total of the mechanical break downs.

The aim of the Well 49 Project was to build a double dunny, construct a Ranger Station, set up a solar bore pump and build a fence around the grave site.

The Perth crew met at Dalwallinu. One vehicle had alternator problems, so remained in Dalli to have repairs carried out. The equipment trailer had a hot right side bearing when arriving in Dalli. This was checked regularly after departing Dalli and there was no reoccurrence. It was later discovered that the brake had seized on and burnt out the pads The most probable cause was the new brake master cylinder.

The 2nd night’s stop saw a flat tyre on the equipment trailer. The wheel was changed and the flat repaired (plugged). The convoy later waited at the Capricorn Roadhouse for the vehicle repaired in Dalli to catch up.

While waiting, repairs were also carried out to rectify a battery charging problem on another vehicle. These delays meant we were 100kms short of our planned destination for that night.

The next day our only incident was a flat tyre.

The convoy reached Fitzroy Crossing where we did some shopping, had the tyres repaired and fuelled up. We joined up with the last members of the crew at Halls Creek. The convoy now consisted of 12 vehicles with 4 equipment trailers and one camper trailer.

After leaving Halls Creek, roadside repairs were required on the camper trailer.

After visiting Wolf Creek Crater we started our journey down the CSR to Well 49.

We arrived at Well 49 on Thursday afternoon where we were introduced to the Rangers, After a welcoming ceremony, we set up our camp.

Friday June 9, after a pre start meeting, work began on the double dunny and the Ranger station, with a lot of enthusiastic help from the Rangers. The work continued with the Rangers on Saturday where much was achieved.

Sunday saw a cultural day for the Rangers and a half day for the TCWA team. Unfortunately the Indigenous people received some bad news on Sunday night and were obliged to return to Fitzroy Crossing on Monday.

Work at Well 49 was completed on the following Friday, June 16 with final pack up and departure Saturday morning. 4 vehicles and 1 trailer headed north and the remaining 8 headed south on the CSR to Well 33 where 2 vehicles then headed east to Alice Springs and 2 vehicles headed west to visit Rudall River. The remaining 4 continued down the CSR to Georgia Bore. Again, as the crew travelled down the CSR, wells were pumped out, dunnies were cleaned, limed and carts emptied.

At Well 49, a pre start talk was presented each day detailing the day’s tasks and the risk mitigation controls.

The working hours for the TCWA crew were approximately 720hrs. We had no reportable injuries and 2 first aid injuries, a twisted ankle and a scraped shin.

As on the Well 15 Project, all participants were given a Pre start briefing note and encouraged to Work Safely when doing any tasks during the trip.

Machinery breakages and problems were

  • A ladder fell onto the 2.4m trailer master cylinder reservoir, breaking it.
  • Brakes locked on, on the 2.4m trailer after installing the new master cylinder from the equipment trailer (wrong master cylinder replacement fitted to equipment trailer in Perth.? )
  • Wheel bearings on the 2.4m trailer were replaced.
  • Cement mixer on / off switch is faulty, we had to run cement mixer direct from gen sets as switch tripped RCDs.
  • The 7 and 5 kva gen sets need power outlets replaced.
  • 2kva gen set needs power output checked – is it producing 240 volts?
  • RCD boxes need new power points as some are burnt out. The welder was accidentally connected to one of the RCD boxes. Other power outlets were faulty before work commenced.
  • Several punctured tyres.
  • Cracked chassis on one of the south bound vehicles. This vehicle was towing a TCWA trailer from Well 49. The trailer was lightly loaded but the load was not well distributed resulting in a large tow ball weight.

Observations and suggestions from de-briefs.

TCWA to provide tie down straps for TCWA trailers. At present volunteers are providing these.

We had the RFDS medical box so do not require the TCWA first aid kit but a small kit with dressings and sterile solution would be useful.

TCWA business cards with Website/Facebook sites and donation details on the reverse for handing out to travellers.

Track Care was presented with a book – Walmajarri Plants and Animals, by the Rangers at Well 49. This could be the first part of a small reference library to be taken on trips. One of our members has volunteered to source some books on Flora and Fauna relevant to the CSR.

Anticipated travelling distances per day for the convoy which had been decided in the pre-trip planning proved too ambitious. A breakdown, a slower than expected vehicle in the convoy, ensuring participants get to enjoy their time away, all mean less kms covered per day. 450kms a day was a comfortable distance.


  • All 3 trailers to have the same size tyres.
  • As all trailers are usually on the CSR together, carry sufficient spares but not 3 sets of everything, eg wheel chocks, grease, grease guns.
  • Purchase a reliable grease gun.
  • Remove helper springs as they consistently come loose and threaten to puncture tyres.
  • Remove padlocks and use a locking system that will not be hampered by red dust, mud etc.

The redesign of trailers to distribute the weight better and to decide on a service schedule will be the action of a sub committee.

Daily Pre Start Talks

  • Discussion around the pre start talks decided that Job Risk categories and mitigations need clarification and refining.
  • A Sign On/Off sheet is required for participants joining and departing the TCWA group. (Re Geraldton 4wd club)
  • The pre Trip briefer emailed to participants needs to include a generic form covering driving in convoy, PPE required, the relevant parts of TCWA ‘s participant guide as well as general info regarding the Project.

Peter Macgill

Well 15 and 49 Projects

Assistant Trip Leader.

With thanks to Lynn Phillips and Judith Brinkley

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