Gabriele Caroline Grossmueller Print Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The memorial commemorates Gabriele Grossmueller who tragically perished in the area in 1998. A memorial is also located along the Halligans Bay track. 

On the 7th of December 1998 tourists Karl Goeschka and Caroline Grossmueller (from Vienna, Austria) left William Creek Hotel to travel 65 km East to Lake Eyre. Before leaving the hotel the couple signed their name in a register letting the boy behind the counter know about their whereabouts in case they would not be back within a few days so he could raise the alarm. After arriving at the banks of the lake that evening they bogged their Britz troopy campervan manoeuvring in loose sand at the camp site. Karl did let the tires down a bit and dug some of the sand away with a plate but was unable to get it free. They were stuck at the bush camping site, had a full 65 litre water tank in the vehicle and enough food to survive for weeks. They were bogged next to a shelter with large water tank containing over 300 litres of water. Karl and Caroline were confident that the hotel boy would raise the alarm and that someone would come to their rescue. But after 2 days of waiting at the banks of the dry lake, there was no sign of help. They became worried that somehow they were forgotten.

Caroline and Karl decided that they could not wait any longer. They took a tent, various small articles, and 17 litres of water between them. As an experienced walker and medical student Caroline estimated they could do about 4-5 km an hour in the night, making it possible to do the 65km in less than 12-14 hours, just enough time before the heat of the day would become unbearable. However the temperature was over 40º each day (shade temperature) and did not drop much below 35º at night. They only walked 5 hours before needing to rest for another 5 having already drunk half their water. After another hours walking Caroline left Karl who felt he couldn’t continue, taking his boots because her shoes had started to melt and most of their remaining water and heading on alone about 4:00am on the 10th. Karl stayed in the tent during the day and returned to the lake that evening. Caroline only covered half the distance to William Creek and was found dead five days later by two German tourists. Caroline had died next to the road, half way between Lake Eyre and the Hotel. She managed to walk about 30 km before collapsing. She still carried almost 2 litres of water on her and had walked past cattle troughs and dams containing water (and was only 700m from another one when she died). Karl was rescued that same day.

During the inquiry into her death, the coroner attributed her death to "heat exhaustion and exposure".



Address:Oodnadatta Track , Park opposite hotel , William Creek, 5710
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.907192
Long: 136.339086
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

In loving memroy of Gabriele Caroline Grossmueller  

Born 1 June 1970 Died 12 Dec. 1998

Caroline was tragically taken in this area while travelling the outback.

A precious life ended all too soon.

Your spirit will live on forever

This memorial was set up by her companion Dr. Karl M. Goeschka with the help of Coober Pedy CIB. 

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