Bluebird on the Dead Lake 50 years on

On 17 July, 1974, racing car driver Donald Campbell broke the world land speed record by driving his Bluebird racing car on Lake Eyre at xxxkpm. At that time our brother-in-law, Tim Kendall was chief timekeeper with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports. The Melbourne University Car Club, of which Tim was a member were contracted to do the actual timing.

Last Sunday, eight of us drove out from the outback town of Marree to the Lake and held a picnic to commemorate the landmark occasion. We took champagne, smoked salmon, a silver candelabra, a cake in the shape of Bluebird and the MUCC banner. Unfortunately Donald himself was unable to join us as he died a few years after his Lake Eyre triumph, when tackling the water speed record on Coniston Water in the Lake District, UK.

We walked on the vast salt lake and marvelled once again at its arid crunchiness, amongst bones of dead animals, before retreating to coffee at the bird-filled waterhole near Muloorina Homestead. The setting sun brought out the warm colours of the outback scenes as we drove back to the campground.

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Plane henge desert gallery, mound springs and Curdimurka

Last Monday we drove up the Oodnadatta Track to Coward Springs for lunch and a spa bath in a bore in the desert. On the way we passed an open air sculpture park – “plane henge”.

Our return was via mound springs and Curdimurka siding on the disused Ghan railway line. We returned with the setting sun behind us.

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