Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Gillen's Modest Record

I'm reading Gillen's Modest Record, his journal of the Spencer-Gillen anthropological expedition across Australia in 1901-02. The Editor, Philip Jones, has done a wonderful job. From Gillen's repeating of what he learnt from aboriginal people I have learnt more about their culture (very strange from our perspective) than any other source.

There's a photo on page 93 taken by Gillen of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, "snugly nestling in the valley of the Todd", where he "once ruled", from a hill. I tried to duplicate by climbing Trig Hill and my photo definitely does bear a resemblance. By the way, you can see a beautiful 360 degrees panorama of the MacDonnell ranges from Trig Hill.
Why is Trig Hill called Trig Hill? This is explained on a plaque at the top. Five years after the telegraph line was completed, the South Australian government sent a party of surveyors to central Australia. They arrived on 16th November 1877. Trig stations are points where latitude, longitude and height have been determined. They are used for making maps. Trig Hill was the first one, setup by Charles Winnecke.

I noticed another walking trail, named after Bradshaw, the telegraph station Postmaster who replaced Gillen in 1899. I did that walk earlier today, saw a couple of kangaroos and an amazing, hardy tree, and came out at the Todd River. Took another photo just to demonstrate that it is still not flowing!

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