1948 Trip in Western Australia and the Northern Territory

In 1948 Ray Bean went on a 10 week trip around Western Australia and parts of the Northern Territory. The map below shows some of the places he visited.

Meteorite Crater

SYDNEY, April 22.-One of the world’s largest meteorite craters had been discovered in a desolate region of Western Australia, according to the representative of a Sydney oil company. He states that the crater is 150 ft deep and more than one mile wide, at the base. Its position is given at 400 miles inland from Broome, on the edge of the desert basin.

1948 ‘Meteorite Crater’, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954), 23 April, p. 4. , viewed 17 Mar 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56815223

It was first noted on June 21, 1947, during an air reconnaissance flight over the Desert Basin by Frank Reeves, Vacuum Oil Company’s geologist, and N. B. Sauve, geophysicist, in a Zinc Corporation plane piloted by Dudley Hart. Reeves said, “From the air it looked like a huge bomb crater and was thought to be of volcanic origin.”

On August 24, 1947, Reeves, Hart and Dudley Evans reached the crater after a jeep trip for 47 miles from Billiluna Station. Reeves and Evans then were of the opinion that the crater must be volcanic in origin, because they did not believe that a meteorite blast could tilt the earth’s strata so regularly. Subsequently, however, they decided it was a meteorite crater.

1948 ‘METEORITE CRATER IN W. AUSTRALIA’, Goulburn Evening Post (NSW : 1940 – 1954), 23 April, p. 5. (Daily and Evening), viewed 17 Mar 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103708166

By late July 1948, less than a year after the initial air reconnaissance flight that had located the crater and only just eleven months after the first ground crew had visited the crater for initial observations, Ray Bean and the members of the Upfield Trek visited the Wolfe Creek Crater.

Arthur Upfield based his book ‘The Will of the Tribe’ on the trip to Wolfe Creek Crater. Upfield in the Words of his detective Napoleon Bonaparte, the half caste Aboriginal Detective, described the Crater (called Lucifers Couch in the book).

The Stranger must have been of considerable size to have made such a mark on the land of lemon tinted sand and red-gold rock. He arrived, it is recalled by people who lived at Hall’s Creek, late in December 1905, to dig a pit several hundred feet deep and one mile in circumference, and to raise about it a rampart of rock and rubble some hundred feet above the surrounding plain. Such was the impact, the shock up-thrust three observable rings of rock-rubble; the inner half a mile from the pit, the middle about three quarters of a mile, and the outer a full mile from the centre.

Western Australia Trip 1948. Wolf Creek Crater. R Bean. Out of Copyright, copy from the State Library of NSW

Western Australia Trip 1948. Wolf Creek Crater. R Bean. Out of Copyright, copy from the State Library of NSW

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