Simpson Desert Expedition MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

A white plaque near the hotel commemorates the expedition of Cecil T Madigan whose party crossed a region north of the town in 1939. The Simpson is a sand-ridge desert extending approximately 322 kilometres west to east, the ridges running parallel from north to south at approximately half a kilomtre intervals, some reaching as high as 30 metres.

Madigan planned a ground crossing in the winter of 1939. A party of nine, including a biologist, a botanist, a photographer and a radio operator, with nineteen camels, made the exhausting crossing from Andado station in the Northern Territory to Birdsville in twenty-five days. It verified Madigan`s previous conclusions that the area was a wasteland. This last classic Australian exploration adventure pioneered the use of mobile radio communication; national broadcasts were made through the Australian Broadcasting Commission from desert camps. The scientific results were published and also a popular account, Crossing the Dead Heart (Melbourne, 1946).


GPS Coordinates:Lat: -29.647573
Long: 138.063893
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Landscape
Actual Event STart Date:08-August-1939
Actual Event End Date:08-August-1939


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:June-1962
Front Inscription

On August 8th 1939 the Simpson Desert Expedition 1939

Led by Cecil T. Madigan M.A.D.Sc.  B.E., F.G.S arrived at Marree after successfully completing crossing the Simpson Desert by camel and continuing down the eastern shore of Lake Eyre.

The party compresied of :-

Cecil T. Madigan Geologist University of Adelaide
Robert Crocker  Botanist
Albert Hubbard  Cook
Harold G. Fletcher  Palaeontologist
Jack Bejah  Camel Driver
Robert Simpson  Wireless Operator
Noorie Moosha  Camel Driver
David Marshall  Photographer
Andy  Black Tracker

This later cairn was erected by R. C. Sprigg and L. W. Parkin, past students of Doctor Madigan in warm memory of their past association and admiration for this and other feats accomplished by the earlier pioneers.

June 1962
Geosurveys (Australia) Ltd
Beach Petroleum N.L. and 
The Geological Survey of South Aust.


Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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