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Edmund (Ted) ColsonPrint Page Print this page

13-October-2018
13-October-2018

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

A cairn commemorates Explorer and Bushman, Edmund (Ted) Colson who first crossed the Simpson Desert in 1936. 

The cairn also contains a plaque detailing a levelling survey between Finke River and Birdsville which was completed on the 16th July 1970. 

The triumph of Colson`s explorations was his crossing of the Simpson Desert, which had previously defeated Charles Sturt and David Lindsay.  Prompted by an exceptionally wet season and accompanied only by young Eringa Peter of the Antakurinya tribe, Colson set out from Blood Creek on 26 May 1936. He led a train of five camels eastward along the 26th parallel, clambering over a thousand steep, red sand-ridges, and naming Alice Hills, Glen Joyce and Lake Tamblyn.

Navigating by compass, he reached his goal, Poeppel`s Corner, the point where the Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australian borders met. Ted and Peter walked into the Birdsville pub, Queensland, on 11 June. Three days later they headed back, nailing a tin plate—bearing the date and Colson`s initials—to the peg at Poeppel`s Corner.

Mr. E. A. (Ted) Colson, of Blood's Creek, 100 miles north of Oodnadatta, arrived at Birdsville on Thursday, having been the first white man to cross the vast stretch of country from there to Birdsville. Mr. Colson says that he set out from Mount Etingambra, 53 miles north of Blood's Creek, with five camels and a native on May 27 to cross the Simpson Desert. He set his course by compass and hit wthin a quarter of a mile of Birdsville, and then found his way along the border fence. Mr. Colson said that he was surprised to find vast areas of green feed and the camels got fat on the trip. There was ample evidence, however, that the country had undergone a terrific drought in the last few years. There were vast stretches of sandhills which made travelling most arduous and from the remains of spinifex grass which he found, it seemed that they had extended extensively during the past few years. The sandhills, he said were uniform in a direction of about 20 degrees off north and south and averaged six to the mile, two of which would be huge. Usually they had a gentle slope from the west with a top of drift sand falling steeply on the eastern side in a slope of about three in one. The camels, which were lightly loaded, sank knee deep in the sand. "The country has little of interest geologically.'' Mr. Colson said. 'There seems to be little possibility of settlement even in the best of seasons and it is doubtful if settlement of any sort is desirable as the eating of the vegetation would lead to further drift.
Advertiser (Adelaide), 18 June 1936.

Location

Address:Adelaide & Burt Streets, Opposite Birdsville Hotel , Birdsville, 4482
State:QLD
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -25.899221
Long: 139.351296
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Exploration
Approx. Event Start Date:1936
Approx. Event End Date:1936
Link:http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/adbonli…

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:September -1973
Front Inscription

Plaque 1:
SIMPSON DESERT CROSSING
DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
LEVELLING SURVEY
              BETWEEN
FINKE RIVER AND BIRDSVILLE
COMPLETED 16TH JULY 1970
Surveyor Walked 230 Miles Each Way, Crossing 1,101 Sand Ridges
THE SELF CONTAINED PARTY COMPRISED
             SURVEYOR
            JOHN GIBSON
              ASSISTANTS 
ROBERT WREFORD  RON BURGE  LARRY YEATES 


Plaque 2: 
            ON MAY 24TH 1936
TED, PETER AND FIVE CAMELS
LEFT BLOOD CREEK STATION S.A.
       AND ON JUNE 11TH 1936
ARRIVED AT BIRDSVILLE VIA POEPPEL CORNER
THE SOUTHERLY RETURN COMPLETED  A JOURNEY
      OF 600 MILES IN 40 DAYS
THIS MONUMENT WAS DEDICATED BY 
             W.F.BROOK
CHAIRMAN DIAMANTINA SHIRE COUNCIL 
           SEPTEMBER 1973


​Plaque 3: 
E.A. (TED) COLSON
WITH ABORIGINAL COMPANION
       PETER
    CROSSED THE 
SIMPSON DESERT 
            1936
 

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