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108th EDITION Spring 2018

WA’s own 4WD Magazine

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Len ’s legacy Kimberley whirlwind tour

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Choosing a


The Ed picks an airbox Ranger with the lot Emission control systems - how they work

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- 17 Days out and back_____________________________________ 10

Kimberley Whirlwind Tour

- Mike and Amanda race North____________________________ 111

TESTING Hilux Rugged X

- Off-road Cred from the showroom floor______________________ 30

Good Air In

- The Ed picks an airbox_____________________________________ 54

All that Glitters

- The easy way to suss out the hotspots______________________ 120

New Forester 4

- Neil Dowling heads to Japan______________________________ 125

Western 4W Driver #108


Len’s Legacy

- Lyn Mitchell chats to Connie Sue Beadell_______________________43

Power to Burn (Part one)

- Choosing a battery_________________________________________ 68

Clay’s Ranga

- Just what the Doctor ordered________________________________ 94

A load of hot air (Part two)

- Emission control systems - how they work____________________ 146

Trials and Tribulations

- Mr E. suffers a trouble-plagued trip_________________________ 156

My Country Estate

- What works for Susie_______________________________________ 167


What’s New


Happy Dayz


Over the Bonnet


Popular Botanics


Gear to go Camping


Capture the Moment


Goings On


Subscriptions 188 Advertisers Index


Silly Snaps


COLUMNS EdSed Wildtrax What’s in a Name The Things you See Bindon’s Lore Clewed Up Fishy Business

6 79 85 107 139 154 163

BITS & BOBS The Perils of getting Higher Toying with Toyos

91 136

Western 4W Driver #108


Westate Publishers Pty Ltd

ACN 009 360 169 PO Box 510, Kalamunda, WA 6926 Phone: (08) 9291 8303 Email: Editor Nick Underwood Contributing Writers Phil Bianchi Peter Bindon Linda Bloffwitch John Bormolini Ben Broeder Amanda Burton Graham Cahill Jo Clews Neil Dowling Ian Elliot Alex Garner Colin Kerr Kristina Lemson Lyn Mitchell Ron Moon Rob Robson Susie Underwood Advertising Nick Underwood Administration Marilyn Dawson Typesetting BENSON ADVERTISING


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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Westate Publishers Pty Ltd or the editors but those of the authors who accept sole responsibility and liability for them. While every care is taken with images & photographs, and all other material submitted, Westate Publishers Pty Ltd accepts no liability for loss or damage. Edition 108 Autumn 2018

Lucky Campers Most of the Time


o misquote that time-worn phrase, “we DO know how lucky we are” - we just need reminding of it every now and again. The details of our good fortune are always there for review, it just takes a taste of the dark side to jolt us out of our complacency. With just such a jolt reverberating in very recent memory (which I’ll come to soon) a look over our good fortune seems appropriate. As 4W drivers, travellers and explorers we do live in a lucky country. Lucky we have a bloody big bit of land to look around with bugger all people to bump into, relatively speaking, along the way. Lucky we have a landscape around every turn that inspires with its grandeur and absolute vastness. Lucky we have flora and fauna unique to our wide brown that we can experience every time we head off down the road. Where else, as we did last weekend, could you take off, almost on a whim and drive to a remote beach on the South Coast to camp under paperbarks metres from an inlet shore, to kayak, fish and watch groups of southern right whales, mothers and calves basking in the nursery shallows just off the beach under a sunny winter sky - all in a mere 900 km round trip. Fact is we wear our pride-of-place excitedly on our sleeve, ready to extol the aforementioned virtues to any visitor with open ears and an enquiring mind. What goes hand in hand with our roaming is stopping and propping and in most cases our camping options are many and varied according to desired comfort levels. Caravan parks tie in nicely for most people who require facilities, enjoy the communal life and nearby attractions


that caravan parks tend to approximate. National Parks go that step closer to nature with bush surroundings, less bollards and limited facilities. Usually a more with Nick Underwood peaceful setting and right on the doorstep of some magical country to explore. Then there’s our nirvana, the ‘wild’ bush camp, most often at the end of a rough track and simply a cleared space under trees with as little evidence of past usage as possible (don’t get me started on those lazy bloody litterers with no respect for the natural environment). The other option in the nirvana stakes is bush camping on stations an amazing opportunity to experience the landscape, remoteness and hospitality offered by station owners willing to share their space with appreciative travellers. Now, back to the reverberating jolt in the form of an eye-opening jaunt to the Red Centre in July - school holidays! On the camping front this was a very mixed bag. Starting with three nights of blissfully peaceful bush camping we crossed the NT border and at Lasseter’s Cave got a warning from a traveller that things were going to get busy. The understatement was realised as we wedged our vehicles into the Kata tjuta car park and followed the growing crowds east to Uluru(ted). To be fair we were seeing the place at its most crowded - peak season school holidays. The queue to get into Yulara Camp Ground was many cars long with security at the gate to control flow. 70 kms east our ‘station stay’ at Curtin Springs was a free-for-all in a dust bowl acre jammed in cheek-by-jowl with a lot of resigned faces, stoically set on seeing the sights then removing themselves to less confining quarters. We did the same then sought solace and breathing space in Finke River NP and Owen Springs before girding our collective loins for a stay at Kings Creek Station where we were very happy to pay for organised sites in a more relaxed environment and even more happy to spend our remaining nights once back over the WA border, in bush camp nirvana. Why on earth after all these years they don’t create overflow camping to cater for the busiest times around these national icons I’ll never fathom. This time I chose to hide my pride-of-place under my sleeve and out of sight. What a national embarrassment to have visitors travel thousands of kilometres to the centre of Australia to be jammed in like sardines - there ostensibly to revel in the wide open spaces of Australia. Now I am reminded how lucky we are every time we pull into a clean, empty, remote campsite somewhere other than the Red Centre in peak season.


Western 4W Driver #108




Crisscrossing the Finke River.


Western 4W Driver #108


For 38 of us in 17 vehicles, all the iconic images beckoned. Our national symbol of a large rock in an otherwise flat landscape is etched into our collective psyche, much like Rushmore to the Yanks (at least we had enough environmental empathy not to take to Uluru with hammer and chisel). So to take the pilgrimage and bask in its mysterious power is a joyous inevitability for most Australians.

Fr om




In the shadow of Kata Tjuta. Western 4W Driver #108



toll was still high with Anderson trailer f course the centre is not all plugs disconnecting and destroying Uluru and our journey would take in Kata Tjuta (Olgas), Finke themselves on the rough road. Rear NP, Owen Springs, the West windscreens also got a hiding with MacDonnells, Watarrka (Kings Canyon) five vehicles losing glass from rocks and the long dusty drive along the flicked back from camper trailers over Great Central Road from Laverton to the course of the trip. Once into the Kata Tjuta. NT and back onto To get to the good bitumen the rigors “... The rigors of the bits took three the drive were drive were soon forgotten of and a half days soon forgotten as the weathered hulk of solid driving as the weathered from Perth and Kata Tjuta loomed over the hulk of Kata Tjuta once on the (the Olgas) loomed grey green mulga....” Great Central over the grey/ Road (GCR) our big green mulga ever convoy stretched out up to15 kilometres larger and ochre red in the afternoon when easterlies kept the dust hanging sun. Higher than Uluru, Kata Tjuta is over the road. comprised of conglomerate created From Laverton to Warakurna the road from the erosion of a then much higher was in pretty good shape with a new Petermann Ranges way back in the section of bitumen from the Parallel pre-Cambrian, while Uluru is sandstone Road northeast of Tjukayirla Roadhouse from the finer material washing further through to the Hunt Oil Road. We from the ranges. Together they’ve been dropped pressures east of Warakurna pressured and shaped by the planet’s as the corrugations, gutters and soft settling crust, covered by ocean and sand got progressively worse, but the eroded to reach the form you see today,

The enormity of the place is realised as you wander further into its shadow.

standing proud of the horizon. This is indeed an ancient land. It’s not until you see Kata Tjuta from above (check it out on Google Earth) or wander around its base that you realise it’s more a collection of elongated shapes than domes and to wander ant-like between its towering walls as we did elicits a silent awe. Moving on, Uluru grew from the horizon as did the tourist traffic. Let me say right now, if crowds are not your thing, then in July school holidays Uluru is not for you. Humming along Lasseter Highway we encountered growing numbers of loaded 4WDs, caravans, motor homes and tour buses busy zipping

between the two outcrops and as we passed through Yulara a quick visit to the fuel stop revealed a long queue of vehicles waiting to inch past the sentry into the overcrowded campgrounds. Having anticipated the congestion, we continued 70-odd kilometres east to Curtin Springs Station where an idyllic camping experience awaited. Ah, such naivety from experienced travellers! How unprepared we were for the heaving masses, even at this distance from the main attraction. After three nights of pristine and exclusive bush camping with nothing but the birds and dingoes for company, we wandered through a dust bowl packed

Sardine time in the holiday cram.

Western 4W Driver #108


down to a neat edge at ground level such that it is easy to imaging those furrows continuing deep into the earth. The spiritual quality of this enormous monolith for the Aboriginal people here is also easy to appreciate. We were fortunate enough while checking out some Aboriginal art in a rock overhang to hear a young girl explain the depictions in her native tongue, which was translated by the tour guide with her. The richness of human interaction with Uluru is to many, far more absorbing than its imposing physical presence. While we didn’t climb the rock, we witnessed the folly of doing so for a

The Mala Walk is a sedate stroll from the start of the climb. The rescue helicopter heads up to retrieve a climber’s body.

with campers desperate to protect their personal space. The unpowered sites we expected, the station euphemistically titled “free camping”. Rather dejected we jammed ourselves in, feeling much like the cattle just over the road in the yards where mothers, separated from their calves, kept up a constant lowing throughout the night. The bright side to this accommodation (and I use the term loosely) was the happy disposition of the backpacker staff, a great outdoor restaurant with good food and a fortified beverage sold in the shop called F****ing Good Port, which was indeed F****ing good. The next day was spent waiting in a 200 metre queue at the Uluru entry station before joining the throng to explore the cultural centre and roam around the big rock. Up close, Uluru is impressive. Its water-worn sandstone gullies and crevices present a sculpted rock scape that starts high on its outline, flowing 14

Western 4W Driver #108

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The bush drive-in at Uluru.

Japanese tourist who had a heart attack and died on its slopes. We instead made our way out to the sunset viewing area to join hundreds of others watching the rock change hues as the sun’s rays passed through a denser atmosphere near the horizon. From Curtin Springs and eager to escape the madding crowd we wound our way north to Finke River Gorge and the promise of a return to bush tranquillity. Our first creek crossing north of the Ernest Giles Road was the Palmer River where some drivers learnt the value of lower tyre pressures in the sandy creek bed. From there we wound our way along pleasant bush tracks to Running Waters for a lunch stop and a look at quite large schools of fish - possibly bony bream. From here to the southern entrance of the National Park was wood

collection time and we had no shortage of people to collect or vehicles to carry. As part of our procedure we had the benefit of a forward scout who would search ahead for a viable campsite for 17 vehicles each day we were bush camping. By staying in touch through HF radio we never missed an excellent bush campsite and arrived in good time. On this day Mike went forward to scope out Boggy Hole while our convoy followed a well defined track along the banks of the Finke into lurching rocky or soft sand crossings and up out again, The Finke River Gorge is a bit soft in places.

Western 4W Driver #108


all the while in the shade of the ubiquitous river red gums. Ernest Giles found much of the same on 2 September 1872 minus the well defined track. “We started early and proceeded up the glen, still following its mazy windings. In less than two miles we passed the junction of the northern tributary, noticed by me yesterday, and continued on over rocks, under precipices, crossing and recrossing the creek, turning and winding to all points of the compass. One bend perhaps ran west for half a mile, the next turn was perhaps south and so on, so that nearly three miles had to be travelled to make one good”. As one might expect of the largest river in central Australia, Giles regularly ran into (and sometimes foul


Western 4W Driver #108

Time to relax at Boggy Hole after several full-on days.

of) the Finke’s Aboriginal inhabitants who took exception to this strange incursion to their country. “Immediately upon their discovering us, they raised a great outcry, made several fires, and raised great volumes of smoke, probably as signals to their friends in the first instance, and to intimidate us in the second, which

latter effect did not take place.... One gentleman most vehemently apostrophised us from the summit of a rocky hill, and most probably ordered us away out of his country”. We finally reached Boggy Hole campsite late in the day and on one of the few remaining water bodies at this time of year, two regal black swans with a bevy of cygnets in tow formed the welcome committee. Taking a day off at this beautiful riverside campsite we roamed about taking in the nearby police station ruins and with the benefit of a geologist in our troupe learning about the landform and the strata in the hillside opposite our camp. Picture me now standing on my soapbox because here’s my thoughts on reinstating Aboriginal place names. The Finke River was so named by John McDouall Stuart on the 4th April 1860

after one of his sponsors, William Finke Esq. Further north of the Finke River Gorge we have Larapinta Drive - a ribbon of bitumen stretching from Alice Springs to west of Hermannsburg. Larapinta is the Aboriginal name for the Finke River. So why on earth is one of the oldest rivers on the planet named after a bloke who never even ‘found’ it and was simply a financial backer for an explorer just 158 years ago while the original name easily thousands of years old is taken from the river and slapped like an afterthought onto a road sign to represent a modern road? How arse-about-face is that? Besides that, Larapinta sounds much better than Finke -as do most Aboriginal place names. Leaving the gorge next day we all shot into The Alice to restock, regroup Stunning views above our campsite. Pic: Glenn Simon.

Western 4W Driver #108


We immersed ourselves in the botanical conundrum that is Palm Valley. Pic: Glenn Simon.

and bundle back out to Owen Springs and another riverbed campsite at Lawrence Gorge. All, that is, except Tim, who shall remain un-nameless and remained in Alice Springs E.D after thrusting his trusty new pocket knife most of the way through one hand trying to open a nut. He rejoined us the next day rather sheepishly sporting ten stiches for his efforts. We, meanwhile, had backtracked to Hermannsburg to take in the historic precinct and empty our pockets in return for Namatjira prints and souvenir mini tin cups to transport aforementioned F***ing good port from bottle to lips. Then it was back down the Finke and into Palm Valley over a very lumpy track to take in the spectacle of its famous resident red cabbage palms. There are a number of theories about how these palms came to be here, the latest being that they arrived via the bums of passing pelicans. I prefer the posit that they are remnants from when the place was lush with vegetation and considerably more temperate than it is today. Much more romantic to my mind. Back at Hermannsburg we regained the bitumen and pointed our convoy north to the West MacDonnells for a rather cool and windy night at the Finke

Finke No2 upstream from Glen Helen. Pic: Glenn Simon.

No 2 bush campsite alongside quite a number of other campers. The scene of the Milky Way sparkling in a moonless sky while numerous campfires glowed along the riverbed is etched in my memory banks along with a great view of Mount Sonder in the next day’s early morning light. Before heading down to Watarrka

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Western 4W Driver #108

NP and Kings Canyon we dropped in to take in the magnificent Ormiston Gorge. Just a short distance down a paved pathway, a perfect scene of large pool (14 metres deep) surrounded by towering red rock cliffs draws the eye to a rugged and mountainous backdrop. If you’re inspired to visit this stunning spot, do yourself a favour and spend some time walking the tracks here to get the most out of your visit. Then top it off with a fresh coffee and slab of

across the sky as the Milky Way back in the creation time. During the dance a mother put her baby aside in its wooden carrier which fell over the edge of the dancing area and crashed to earth where it became the walls of Tnorala. Luckily no-one was around when this thing hit the deck 142 million years ago because it would have made their eyes water as it blasted a crater up to 20 kilometres wide. The original crater wall has eroded away leaving

Ormiston Gorge in the West MacDonnells has the WOW! factor. Pic: Glenn Simon.

delicious cake at the car park kiosk. We toddled off to Glen Helen Gorge, but couldn’t get a park. Redbank Gorge, couldn’t get a park (did I mention school holidays) and finally wound up at Gosse Bluff (Tnorala) for lunch and a look around, “look around” being the appropriate phrase as we were in fact in the middle of a meteorite crater. Interestingly Tnorala has a celestial origin in Aboriginal belief when a group of women danced

a much smaller wall which is actually the now exposed deeper section of the impact crater. With our heads full of dreamtime stories and staggering statistics we dropped down to Mereenie Loop to skirt around the Gardiner Range and down to King’s Creek. At the time of travel the Mereenie Loop is a wide but rough dirt road with potholes, sharp gutters and exposed bedrock not a road for high speed or hard tyres. Kings Canyon Resort took us back to Western 4W Driver #108


The sheer drop of the South Wall at Kings Canyon will keep vertigo sufferers well back.

the hustle and bustle of school holiday time at a major Australian tourism icon and we scooted quickly on 42 kilometres to Kings Creek Station where a solid booking into unpowered sites awaited. We were greeted by a young bloke who had been expecting us and guided our convoy to clean, organised individual sites with fireplaces and in close proximity to amenities. Fires were allowed (bring your own wood) and the place




! us


Western 4W Driver #108

also featured its own restaurant and separate mess hall staffed by happy backpackers. Kings Creek Station is famous for its camel burgers but its menu doesn’t stretch to Hump Diane



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and we were more than satisfied with the enormous beef or chicken burgers that threatened to add another hole in our belts. Kings Canyon was the final icon on our cook’s tour and one for which I had great expectations. Ernest Giles waxed eloquent over its virtues as part of a range that promised much for future pastoralists although his enthusiasm may have been fostered by the torrid time he’d spent searching for good water out towards Lake Amadeus.

“We chose the ‘Dickey Knees’ South Wall return walk....” “We turned our horses out here (Stokes Creek)for an hour, and had a swim in the rocky basin, which was most exhilarating; and I could not but reflect, how different this line of country was to that further to the west, where we could not get water to drink, much less to swim in.” We once again dived into the throng, parking in the overflow carpark and studied our options for walk trails. The most arduous is the Rim Walk which, as the name suggest, takes you up around the entire canyon with side trips into the ‘Garden of Eden’ (sans apple tree) and the weathered domes of ‘the Lost City’. This is a 6km walk taking 3-4 hours. We chose the ‘dickey knees’ south wall return walk which eventually took us to the edge of a sheer sandstone clifftop with stunning views into the canyon. The rule here is to keep 2 metres from the edge but there’s always one or two rebels. A few months back a chap was unfortunate enough to be struck dead by lightning on the Rim Walk and that was called an ‘act of God’. If the young bloke who sat with his

The South Wall is a moderate walk.... .... to great views.

Western 4W Driver #108


legs dangling over the edge to impress his female companions on the day of our visit was to fall, it should be termed an ‘act of idiocy’ and no claim be made on his behalf against park operators. It’s called taking ultimate responsibility for your actions. We followed our south wall walk with a brief wander up the canyon floor but didn’t get far as a large boulder had flattened the viewing platform at the end of the trail. That one would have been called an ‘act of clod’. In essence Kings Canyon was the final stop in our whirlwind tour of The Centre. From there various

A Goldfields Gem

On our way home and down around Laverton our alternator showed signs of packing in. The warning lights battery on red, fuel pump and oil on orange all flashed intermittently suggesting a faulty connection. When the lights stayed on, batteries lost power so we rang Ben Broeder at Goldfields Off Road in Kalgoorlie. Being a Saturday Ben had the presence of mind to purchase an alternator before the shops shut and an hour and a half after he started the new alternator was in and we were on our way. A bonus - the new alternator has a higher output than the original. Ben has helped a lot of people out of strife over the years and we’d recommend you put his number: 9091 4797 in the sleeve of your sun visor for the day you might need him for any mechanical or electrical repairs to your fourby in and around the Goldfields. 26

Western 4W Driver #108

The Mad Hatter’s Dinner Party was a great finish to the trip with this hat raising $120 for the RFDS.

members of the convoy separated for home via the bitumen for reasons of health, vehicle damage or expediency. For the rest of us, we got to enjoy the scenic route back along the G.C.R. with delightful, uncrowded bush camps, our trademark ‘Mad Hatter’s Dinner Party’ and a gander at Lake Ballard and its emaciated residents before plunging back into wet wintry weather in Perth. It took 6,300 kilometres to cover a whirlwind tour of Red Centre icons in 17 days and in ideal circumstances, read a month or more, much more could have been seen at a more relaxed pace. But it is what it is. We saw the big three though the big one for me was Larapinta (sorry ‘Finke’) River Gorge. This place epitomises the raw natural beauty and remoteness of the Red Centre and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Tip No2: Protect your rear windscreen

Tip No 1: Tie up your plugs We had several trailer power connections disconnect to be demolished bouncing along the road. To avoid this, secure the plug and cable so if they come apart they don’t drop to the ground. Cable ties should do the trick or restrain your cable with an occy strap.

Stone damage bouncing back from camper trailers smashed five rear windscreens in our convoy. One was even covered to prevent damage happening and was discovered to be smashed when they got home. At best fit big mudflaps like Rock Tamers


Western 4W Driver #108

for towing or a sheet of mesh from vehicle to camper - anything to prevent stones rebounding. At worst, carry an emergency screen and lots of duct tape (the webbed type) to seal the dust out should the worst happen. If you have Solar Screens fitted inside your rear windscreen, this can be taped to the outside in an emergency. While the smaller stuff ends up on your roof, bigger stones do a lot of damage.

Best time to visit: June, July, August though if you don’t have kids, avoid the school holiday period. If you do have kids, gird your loins. Permits: You’ll need for Great Central Road and the stretch from the border to Kata Tjuta and Uluru NP. These are online applications only from the Dept. of Aboriginal Affairs and the Central Land Council respectively. These are cost free. Entry fee to Uluru and Kata Tjuta is $25 for three days. Family $65,

Children 5-15 y/o $12.50. Entry to Kings Canyon is free. Fuel at Yulara was around $2.15 litre at the time of our visit. Unpowered camping at Curtin Springs is no charge and no booking required - first in, best dressed, Ph 8956 2906. There are powered sites that will require booking. Camping at Yulara Resort (your last) is $43 per night for a non powered site and $50 per night for powered. Kings Creek charges $24 per adult for an unpowered site and $53 per family, Ph 8956 7474. Free camping on the Finke.

Excerpt from Hema’s NT State map.



Western 4W Driver #108

Off-Road with

Rob Robson

Off road cred straight from the show room floor Western 4W Driver #108



t’s a competitive world out there and possibly no more so than in the dual cab 4wd market. Finding a point of difference or appealing to a particular demographic could, and more than likely would see the sales graph heading skyward, so I suppose it is no wonder that Toyota along with several other manufacturers in the segment have decided to go down that road. In Toyota’s case they have released three new models of the current Hilux, specifically of the SR and SR5 variants. Badged as ‘Rogue’, ‘Rugged’ and ‘Rugged X’, each is accessorised to appeal to buyers with different needs for their dual cab utes. The Hilux Rogue, is designed to appeal to buyers who want the benefits of a Hilux dual cab ute but with a touch of bling and sophistication. On the other hand, the Rugged is based on the SR dual cab Hilux and is directed at those “Inferno’ paint job for these models only.


Western 4W Driver #108

who need a functional 4wd work horse but with a balance of off-road protection for a range of conditions and environments. Top of the range is the Rugged X and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the first one to arrive in the State thanks to the team at Toyota WA in Welshpool. Not only that but it was finished in what Toyota calls Inferno, an eye catching burnt orange colour which is only available on these new released models. The Rugged X is available in manual or automatic but our eye catching variant had just two pedals and a ‘tiptronic’ shifter.

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It’s priced at $63690 and you can get the manual for $2000 less at $61690 – but for me, having the benefits of the auto, both out in the bush and on the road would be worth every cent of the additional cost. Although the base Hilux is built by Toyota in Thailand, all the major new components for the Rugged X, Rugged models and many for the Rogue, are sourced from Australian suppliers and fitted locally in Port Melbourne. These local suppliers include ARB who supply the rock sliders and recovery points, Brown & Watson (Narva) - the lights and Frontline Australasia - the bar work.


Western 4W Driver #107

First time out for this Hilux and it shows.

All the new features of Rugged X were also developed locally by Toyota’s Melbourne based engineering and design teams specifically for Australia’s tough conditions with support from

Integrated light bar and spots from Narva complement the Aussiemade barwork.

Toyota in Japan. In addition the team at the Melbourne facility fit all the components by hand for the Rugged X and Rugged. Toyota reckons they will produce 6000 units – that should keep the boys busy for a while! The three new models have been in the pipeline since 2015 and have been largely designed and developed by the 150 strong team at Toyota Australia’s state-of-the-art Port Melbourne facility. OK let’s start from the front. For me, the stand out feature on the Rugged X is the front bumper, its sleek lines, upswept corners, integrated 66cm light bar plus a couple of LED spread beam

spots certainly look the goods plus it is winch compatible. Add to that the new designed grill and the Rugged X decals on the bonnet – all go to making a pretty smart unit. But it’s not all bling, the genuine Toyota snorkel should keep the engine breathing even when the high water mark is well over the bonnet. Below the bumper is a 5mm thick, high tensile, alloy bash plate, along with two very, very substantial recovery points, powder coated bright red that stand out like the proverbials. 17” alloy rims are fitted with Bridgestone Dueller A/T’s – I reckon more aggressive rubber would have added to the appeal not to mention its capability on the dirt. Then there are the rock sliders – yep, they are the real deal and I like them a lot. The black sports bar in the tub and behind the cab is more substantial than most and provides some additional tie Western 4W Driver #108


and quite a unique design in as much as it uses the 20mm thick recovery points as the attaching points for the bumper and integrated tow bar – it should be super strong I would have thought. Black wheel arch flares and body mouldings along with black door handles, mirror caps and tail light surrounds add to its purposeful attitude and sets it down points although I didn’t find them to be particularly user friendly. Toyota reckons the bar is good to restrain up to 200kg but only a mere 75kg of vertical downward load – a figure like that certainly won’t give much roll-over protection; in fact a couple of lads sitting on it to watch a local footy

There’s a bear in there....

match would be exceeding its rated capacity. The tub liner will be great to protect the paint work but being a slide-in type of liner, water will get under it and could cause the tub to rust in the long term. The rear bar, like the front is substantial 36

Western 4W Driver #108

apart from the standard SR5 configuration. Inside the cab, black perforated leather accented seats along with a black hood lining, metallic black dash features and a new designed instrument cluster with white illumination and orange needles is about all that is different from the SR5 - still it looks and feels great. The downside of all these additions, is an increase in weight of close on 200kgs. Revised suspension components compensate for the increase and also give it a slight lift in ride height. Needless to say the

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payload is also affected and may influence fuel figures and performance from the 2.8 engine. As a daily driver the Rugged X, like the SR5 is comfortable and relatively easy to punt around the ‘burbs although it becomes a bit of a handful getting in and out of those car parking bays that seem to keep getting smaller and smaller. The reversing camera helps but with no parking sensors in the front bar it becomes a matter of judgement or, I suppose one could resort to a bit of touch parking which, with the Rugged X’s armour means you’re not going to come off second best. A day out on the Powerline Track gave us the opportunity to get a feel for what this newest Hilux has the potential to achieve. On the way across to the Great Eastern Highway I gave it a squirt along the still very corrugated Lockwood Road. The new suspension, traction and stability control did the job of keeping the ute in a straight line and the ABS did the same when I slammed on the

anchors even with road pressures in the tyres. With no weight in the tray and the hard tyres it felt a bit ‘skatie’ on the slippery corrugations but that would have to be expected I guess. It was a different story on the smooth bitumen of the Great Eastern Highway. The little 2.8 combined with the six speed automatic got us to the 110kph limit with not too much fuss and once the auto slotted itself into top gear it all seemed pretty effortless and civilized. The Powerline Track is an icon for 4w drivers in Perth and has been used by multitudes of 4w drivers from the rank beginner to the hard core enthusiast. These days the majority of the track is negotiable for most 4WDs with a reasonable amount of ground clearance. For the most part there are plenty of side tracks around the more difficult sections but be aware there are some very gnarly bits that are only for very well set up vehicles piloted by experienced drivers. For us though in the Rugged X, we needed something Western 4W Driver #108


The 2-8TD works well with the six speed auto. Plenty of room for a second battery.

Rock sliders trim the ramp-over a bit on the sides - a small price for good sill protection.

that was challenging without being vehicle damaging or too dangerous and that wasn’t hard to find on the Powerline Track. We had to be a bit careful not to scratch up or ding this brand-spanking new vehicle so we chose a section of track that was enough to get a wheel or two in the air and to scramble about in high and low range. As you would expect the Rugged X did everything we asked of it - no fuss, no problem. The well designed front and rear bumpers provided good approach and departure angles particularly in the front corners where the upswept bar cleared obstacles that would have seen 40

Western 4W Driver #108

the original plastic bumper cracked and broken. We didn’t give the rock sliders a work-out but suffice to say that they would prove their worth when the going got tough. The bottom rung of the sliders does sit about 20mm below the sill, reducing the ramp-over marginally but no more than most other sliders on the market. Traction control took care of the majority of any wheel spin but it was nice to be able to engage the rear diff lock which eliminated the momentary lag that is evident while the sensors and the computer communicated together to decide on the best plan of action to keep us moving forward. Low range and Hill Descent Control took care of a couple of steep downhill pinches. After getting a few more pics and a bit of footage for the Emag we called it a day and headed back to Flynn Road and the Great Eastern Highway. On the way home I took a bit of time to have a look around the cab and take a critical look at how it feels and drives on the highway. I really like the Hilux cab layout, it is functional and uncluttered and I have even got used to the iPad look infotainment screen. (No you can’t take it out as much as it looks like you can.) All the controls and buttons are where I’d expect them to be and after a few days operating

the infotainment centre and finding the controls it becomes almost second nature. The engine is no fire breather but is adequate and does the job particularly when combined with the six speed automatic. There is however a fair bit of engine noise which becomes almost intrusive when accelerating. Other than that, wind noise and road noise are acceptable. I found the ride quality to be quite harsh to the point that I decided I’d check tyre pressures to see if they were excessive but they were all at 28psi. Back home I put the Rugged X up on the ramps to see what, if any upgrades had been added under the vehicle . To my disappointment all I could see was the alloy bash plate under the bumper which extends back less than 500mm – the rest was standard Hilux, light weight stone guards. For all the great off road credentials the Rugged X gains from the addition of some excellent add-ons it was disappointing to see that Toyota hadn’t taken their efforts that little bit further. Still, I suppose it’s no big deal to spend another $4-$500 having some aftermarket under body protection

fitted up. Fuel capacity is 80 litres which should give a range of 1000kms if you can believe the stated 7.9L/100km. There are plenty of long range fuel tanks available most around the 140 litre mark. Towing capacity of the auto is 3200kg down from 3500kg of the manual. Warranty remains at 3 years and 100,000km and service intervals at 6 months or 10,000km which is quite short in this day and age but I don’t have a problem with that because I reckon a vehicle that is designed to operate in a harsh environment needs to be checked regularly and often. Toyota make up for the short intervals by offering fixed price service at $240 for the first 6 services.

We reckon;

The Rugged X does have plenty of off-road cred straight off the showroom floor - shame about the lack of underbody protection. On the positive side, all that additional good gear - bars, sliders, lights, etc are really well made and designed in and for Australian conditions plus it is all covered under Toyota’s new car warranty – and to top things off it even looks the part.

Nuts ‘n’ bolts

2018 TOYOTA HILUX RUGGED X AUTOMATIC Price: Built: Body: Safety: Engine: Power: Torque: Fuel Economy: Fuel Tank: Transmission: Drive: Suspension: Brakes:

$63,690; Thailand; Body on frame; 5 Star; 2.8ltr, 4-cylinder turbo diesel; 130kW @ 3400rpm; 450Nm @ 1,600 to 2400rpm; 7.9L/100km (stated); 80 litres; 6-speed auto, 2-speed transfer case; Part-time 4wd; Front - double wishbone and coil springs / Rear – leaf springs; Front – discs / Rear – drum;

Steering: Wheels: Track: Approach Angle: Departure Angle: Clearance: Turning Circle: GVM: Weight: Payload: Towing Capacity: Warranty: Service Interval:

Power-assisted rack & pinion; 17” alloy; Front - 1535mm / Rear 1550mm; 28 degrees; 21 degrees; 251mm; 12.6m; 3000kg; 2252kg; 748kg; 3200kg; 3 years/100,000km; 6 months/10,000km – capped price servicing. Western 4W Driver #108



ZERO PUNCTURES “Our Coopers have taken us from Adelaide to the Kimberley, across the Tanami, and Pilbara regions. We wouldn’t risk being out there in anything else but Cooper tyres”. - Linda & Grant from My Aussie Travel Guide -


In 1958, the legendary Australian surveyor, Len Beadell, temporarily hung up his dusty but well-loved bush boots after finishing constructing the famous Gunbarrel Highway. Now, 60 years later, ‘the Gunbarrel’ as it’s affectionately known, is top of the 4WD todo list for most Australians.

End of the Gunbarrel making.

Courtesy of the Beadell family.



Lyn Mitchell has a conversation with Connie-Sue Beadell.

Western 4W Driver #108



he Gunbarrel stretches 1,600km across the outback from Victory Downs homestead in the Northern Territory, onwards through South Australia to the Rawlinson Ranges and Warburton, with its official end at Carnegie Station in Western Australia. The remote Highway was so named because Len wanted to ‘keep Australia looking neat and tidy’. To achieve this lofty goal, where possible, he made his road as straight as a gunbarrel, hence its unique name. Lennard Beadell, OAM, BEM, FIEMS,

his handpicked, six-man, Gunbarrel Road Construction Party as he named them, opened some 2.5 million square kilometres of isolated areas throughout the Great Sandy, Gibson, and Great Victoria Deserts. The work was undertaken as part of the Australian/British Weapons Research Establishment project. After World War II, Len was given the task of establishing a remote desert launching site for a rocket range. He chose an area 450km northwest of Adelaide and surveyed a townsite, which became known as Woomera. In 1952, Len set out to find a suitable

“The team operated hundreds of miles from civilisation, in complete isolation for months at a time, battling high temperatures, rugged terrain and difficult conditions.”

Len Beadell with Theodolite. Pic: Courtesy of the Beadell family.

was justifiably known as the last true Australian explorer. He was an outstanding surveyor, a remarkable road builder, bushman, artist, author and a highly entertaining public speaker. From 1947 to 1963, Len and 44

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test site for the first nuclear weapon tests to be conducted on the Australian mainland. His explorations led him to a claypan, known as Emu Field and later, he established Maralinga, which saw nuclear tests conducted there from 1955 to 1963. As a vast network of access roads was needed to monitor the weapons tests, Len and his trusty Gunbarrel Road Construction Party set to work. To form the great outback tracks through some of Australia’s most remote and extreme terrain, Len used a theodolite and undertook astrofixes – using celestial navigation to lock in a local feature, such as a hill, a tree or a mountain’s position in relation to the stars, allowing a grid of latitude and longitude to be created.

The abandoned section of the Gunbarrel between Warburton and Warakurna is a delightful drive through desert oaks and spinifex country.

A Beadell marker out near Gary Highway on the Gunbarrel.

His trusty crew came along behind him, following his line with a cherry picker to help clear the scrub, a D8 bulldozer to cut a raw track and a grader to grade the newly-cleared road. It was extremely arduous work. The team operated hundreds of miles from civilisation, in complete isolation for months at a time, battling high temperatures, rugged terrain and difficult conditions. However, Len and his team’s resilience and dedication to the tough task paid off and today, this amazing array of outback desert tracks still exists. Nowadays, the Woomera

townsite is accessible but much of the nearby region is still a prohibited area and, it is still the largest land testing range in the world. Weapons materiel tests continue to be undertaken there for short periods. In March each year, the Department of Defence publishes the exclusion periods showing the access restrictions which will apply during the following financial year. In 1961, Len was temporarily back from the bush when he married Anne Matthews, a newly arrived 10-pound Pom. The couple had three children, Connie Sue, Gary and Jackie. In honour of his family, Len named many of his iconic 4WD tracks after them – the Anne Beadell Highway, the Connie Sue Highway, the Gary Highway, Gary Junction and Jackie Junction. When the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party’s work was finally completed in Western 4W Driver #108


1963, they had built over 6,000km of outback tracks during 11 major road projects built in 24 separate stages throughout central Australia. Nowadays, the group’s famous grader, a Caterpillar No 12 Model S8T, is housed at the remote Giles Weather Station where it can still be viewed. In May this year, Len Beadell’s eldest daughter, Connie Sue and her husband, Mick Hutton, ran an 18-day, tag-along trip through their company Beadell Tours, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the completion of Len’s famous Gunbarrel Highway. The six-vehicle convoy, led by Mick and Connie’s trusty 2005 Land Rover Defender 130, was to have travelled the full length of the famous road. However, the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY), the traditional owners of the eastern end of the Gunbarrel Highway, refused them permits to travel that section. Instead, the trip departed from Kulgera Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway

who met in 2003 while both on a desert trip, took the opportunity to replace the pointers on Jackie Junction that had originally been placed there by Len Beadell. The convoy also refurbished paint on signage poles and cleared the tracks of any debris. Back in his day, Len would mark astrofixes along his roads with aluminium plaques, stamping the latitude, longitude, and other important

Connie-Sue in her mother Anne’s arms 1962 at Jackie Junction and fifty six years later renovating the same sign. Pics: Courtesy of the Beadell family.

in the Northern Territory and skirted around via Yalara to join back up with the mulga and ironstone track of the Gunbarrel Highway through to Carnegie Station. While on the trip, Connie and Mick, 46

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information into the plaques with aluminium punches. Sadly, while some of these historic plaques have been damaged by fire over the years, many others have been stolen by travellers as souvenirs. After his retirement, Len would often travel along his roads, replacing missing or damaged plaques along the way.

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After Len passed away in 1995, Connie took over the job of replacing them. Connie said she and Mick endeavour to keep the new plaques as close as they can to the old ones that Len had made. “I use the same aluminium punches that he did to make them and the content on the plaques is to the letter the same as his,” said Connie. “Overall, there are 45 plaques out

they could be”, said Connie. “We spent a fair amount of time out there with just Mum, Dad and I on our own but occasionally, we joined up with the rest of the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party.” It is believed that while on that trip, baby Connie Sue was seen to be standing up for the first time in her tea-chest on the front seat of the car so it was decided Mick prepares new pointers for the Jackie Junction sign. Pic: Connie Beadell.

to call the new 650km long Warburton-Rawlinna road, the Connie Sue Highway. A decade or so later, long before tourists went out that way, Len again took his wife Anne and their now three children out for adventures on the roads he had constructed. Along the way he taught them bushcraft, basic survival skills and how to be resilient in the scrub. there but we’ve replaced 36 since Len Connie remembers that most of the died.” In 1962, at just five tracks back then were ‘just months old, Connie two little wheel ruts was fortunate to join “... Len and Anne through the bush’. her Dad and Mum “Four-wheel driving slept in the back of on a five-month long didn’t really exist back their vehicle and baby then,” said Connie. exploratory trek from Adelaide via Connie slept on the “We travelled like Len the Stuart Highway front seat in a cut down used to with drums of and the Gunbarrel fuel on the roof and tea chest for a cot.” we had to be fully selfHighway to Warburton to determine the course sufficient. We got used of the next road. Along the way, Len to the values that Dad instilled in us as to and Anne slept in the back of their taking care of water. We had to look after vehicle and baby Connie slept on the every drop of water out there because front seat in a cut down tea chest everything we had was a finite resource.” for a cot. Even today, Connie and Mick don’t Stocks of nappies and baby food travel with a fridge in their 4WD. now joined Len’s other survival items “Len never travelled with a fridge and on his roof rack. Mick and I don’t travel with one either,” “Things were as rough and practical as said Connie. Western 4W Driver #108


“We find shopping along the way is easier and for a limited time you can cope. Meat can be bought as you go along through the communities and I cook it that day. Usually, every two or three days we are at a community. We carry tinned food to supplement the diet and I sometimes use soy meat, which is high in protein. We carry fresh fruit and veges and pack them well so they usually last.” Connie said her father didn’t drink alcohol and wouldn’t allow it on his trips. “We aren’t anti-alcohol,” she said. “We enjoy having a drink between

as possible about the land they are passing through. They cover the Len Beadell history and, given that your vehicle is your lifeline out there, they have a focus on basic bush mechanics and the importance of tyre repairs. “Every night around the camp fire there’s a talk or we have a projector and we show pictures of Len’s exploration and our family life with Dad,” said Connie. Connie and Mick have been leading four or five tag-along 4WD trips into Australia’s desert regions each year for the last 14 years. They have an abiding interest in the flora and Visitors stop off at Giles to check out Len’s grader.

trips, but we don’t take alcohol on our trips as we go through Aboriginal lands. Although you can carry it if it’s kept out of sight, we prefer not to. That’s the way we were brought up.” Connie said very few people nowadays travelled in the bush the old-fashioned way like her father did. “For many people, three days without a shower is like the world has ended,” said Connie. “Following Len and his training, you can do without showers. You need to be aware of your limited resources and we learnt that as kids. Nowadays, people tend to bring everything they can to make their trip just like their life at home.” On the Beadell Tours’ convoys, Connie and Mick teach their guests as much 50

Western 4W Driver #108

fauna, Aboriginal history and the early explorers, such as Forest, Carnegie and Giles. “We enjoy bringing the desert and its history to people,” said Connie. “Our trips are slower-paced because there’s so much to be seen and learnt out there. Many people drive the roads and have no idea about the history that’s out there. They tick the road off their bucket list but miss the whole point of being out there.” In his retirement, Len Beadell spent much of his time taking people out on trips into the desert areas he had opened to access. He also wrote a series of books about his exploits in the bush and gave more than 900 inspirational talks about his adventures. One of his talks, to a Rotary Convention

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in Shepparton in Victoria, is available on CD and is an hilarious insight into the early days of Australia’s atom bomb testing and accounts of his experiences in the bush. Today, Len Beadell’s remarkable achievements live on through the isolated desert tracks he built as a treasured legacy for four-wheel drivers to experience and enjoy – just as he did.

Mick and Connie on more civilised terrain. Pic: Lyn Mitchell.

Connie Beadell and Mick Hutton run trips into the western deserts of Australia during April to September each year through Beadell Tours. For further information, telephone 0408 841 447 or go to their website: www. Len Beadell’s books, such as “Too Long in the Bush” and CDs, including his famous talk to the Rotary Convention at Shepparton in Victoria, are available online from www. or by telephoning 0417 848 741.

Permits: In Western Australia, three-day transit permits to travel on the Great Central Road, Heather Highway and Gunbarrel Highway, are issued through the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage. Applications can be made online at entry-permits/ For information on the Woomera Prohibited Area Exclusion periods for the financial year 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 go to woomera/exclusionperiods.htm Road conditions: Shire of Wiluna on (08) 9981 8000 or email Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku (08) 8956 7966 or email Western 4W Driver #108



ollowing the dusting and subsequent (costly) replacement of the engine in our 70 Series Cruiser we swore we wouldn’t hit another dirt road with the original airbox still there. The seal on the original was sub-standard and leaking dust directly into the engine. After some deliberation we had United Fuel Injection install an airbox from Fatz Fabrication. The key reasons we went for the Fatz were the cylindrical filter which has a greater surface area (by about 30%) than a panel filter and is fixed solidly to the outlet pipe within the airbox. This fixing point is effectively replacing the faulty lid seal on the original airbox. Commensurate with the filter area increase, the Fatz proved an airflow of

Airbox with a view.


Western 4W Driver #108

GOOD AIR IN 1095.1 cfm compared to the original 680.7 cfm. The Fatz airbox also features a clear Perspex lid which, apart from giving us a visual on the state of the filter, means we can keep an eye on the seal around the edge of the box and so far, after a very dusty run to the Red Centre and back, the seal is clean as a whistle. The airbox body was customised to match the new Safari snorkel and features a baffle in its base to spread the airflow around the filter. This works well according to the even spread of dust over the surface of the filter.

Baffle circulates air around the filter. Greater surface area on a cylindrical filter.

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The only compromise I can see with this type of filter is that it is more difficult to blow out from the inside when cleaning as opposed to a panel filter. A long gas torch-type nozzle fitted to our airline should fix that one. The Fatz is plumbed to the engine with large diameter silicon and stainless piping. With this new airbox in place we have more confidence our new engine should last a lot longer than the 228,000 kms the previous motor survived. For more, go to or Ph: 07 4936 1588.



YUNDAI’S fourth-generation Santa Fe has received a more sophisticated all-wheel drive system and an Australian-tuned suspension system with a new steering layout to up the ante in the surging large SUV sector. The Santa Fe has also received substantial exterior changes, highlighted by the dominant grille, while the two engines - a 2.4-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel - remain unchanged. Length goes up 70mm to 4770mm, while the wheelbase grows 65mm to 2765mm.




Cargo area is also up, now 547 litres with all the seats up, and 1625 litres when folded. The bigger wagon offers more room for seven occupants - and even smallish adults can squeeze into the third row - and improvements in safety and infotainment. The all-wheel drive system can detect traction changes far quicker than the previous system and alter the torque to each wheel to suit. This works in

Western 4W Driver #108


conjunction with the upgraded safety inventory that - even in the base Active trim - includes autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control with stop and go function, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, drive attention warning and lane-keeping assist. All models have a “walk in� switch to easily fold the second row of seats when accessing the third row. The top-spec Elite and Highlander versions add an

electric tailgate with automatic detection of the smart key. The new Santa Fe comes in three trim levels - Active, Elite and Highlander - with the choice of two drivetrains in the Active - the 138kW/241Nm 2.4-litre petrol engine with a six-speed automatic transmission or the 147kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with the new eightspeed automatic transmission. Santa Fe Elite and Highlander come standard with diesel engine. The body is all new and that includes a greater use of high-strength steel, up 15 per cent on the outgoing model, to boost body strength by 14.3 per cent and torsional stiffness by 15.4 per cent. The car-like suspension has MacPherson struts at the front and multi-links at the rear, all stiffened up compared with the 58

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previous model and Australian-tuned suspension that includes German shock absorbers now mounted vertically. Suspension testing covered 27 front suspension shock absorber builds and 22 at the rear, as well as two front and three rear spring rates, over thousands of kilometres on a variety of surfaces, from country roads to freeways and corrugated dirt roads. Both petrol and turbo-diesel engines have specific shock absorber and spring rate tunes. Aluminium front knuckles and rear carrier mountings are claimed to reduce unsprung weight by 3.6kg and 5.6kg at each side, respectively. The Santa Fe now gets a rack-mounted electric powerassisted steering system. This places the motor right on the horizontal steering rack, compared with the previous

(less responsive and less expensive) system of putting the motor on the steering column. The Santa Fe is on sale now priced at $43,000 for the petrol Active and $46,000 for the diesel. The Elite is $54,000 and the Highlander is $60,500. Prices do not include onroad costs.


ID-SIZE SUVs are screaming up the popularity charts as buyers seek spacious alternatives to sedans and conventional wagons. It has become a fertile ground for new products but also for companies updating existing vehicles to make them fresh. Kia is a prime example. Its popular Sportage has recently been re-specced and now comes with more features, improved safety gear and ride comfort. For people who know what a Sportage looks like, it will be a hard task splitting the latest model from its predecessor. Design obviously didn’t rate highly in the list of things buyers wanted. There are four grades - Si, Si Premium, Sli and GT-Line with prices ranging from $29,990 to $47,690 plus on-road costs. However, the Si premium petrol and diesel have drive-away price specials at $31,990 and $37,390 respectively, a saving of about $3500-$4000. The drivetrains remain

unchanged from last year, so that’s a 114kW/192Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol; 135kW/237Nm 2.4-litre fourcylinder petrol; and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel rated at 136kW and 400Nm of torque. The petrol versions have a six-speed automatic and the diesel has the neat eight-speed unit. Interestingly, if you want all-wheel drive it’s only fitted when you tick the diesel box. This AWD has a lockable 4WD for low speed operations, then it reverts to on-demand though it has a wheelbrake electronic aid to maximise Western 4W Driver #108


traction to driven wheels. New is standard autonomous emergency braking (AEB) across the range. This camera-based system will automatically brake the vehicle to avoid a collision and works with the active cruise control to vary speeds and ensure a safe distance to the car ahead. Bonus! There’s also lane-keep assist that will gently tug at the steering wheel to ensure the SUV stays in its lane (unless the indicators are used); auto wipers, electrochromatic mirror (stops glare) and a full-size alloy spare wheel. Changes inside the wagon include an upgrade to the infotainment system. The base Si model gets a 6.0-Inch screen while the others get an 8.0-inch unit. The audio includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with six speakers in the Si and eight for the rest (Si Premium, SLi and GT-Line) that also add in

satellite navigation with 10 years of free map updates. On the road this is a more comfortable and more accurate handling vehicle than the one it replaces. Much work was done by Kia consultant Graeme Gambold, who sourced new shock absorbers and springs and changed the geometry to suit Australian roads. The result is a unique setting for this

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country that suits our particular driving style and the rough roads and off-road conditions. On gravel roads the Sportage now soaks up the corrugations with ease, is less thrown off-line by large potholes and has steering that is more direct and makes the driver feel more in control. It is also significantly quieter and the engine feels smoother - no doubt because of the better sound deadening

and the improved isolation of the body from the rough roads beneath. The pick of the bunch for people who want to get out of the suburbs is the diesel. Its eight-speed auto is silky smooth and the wider ratios improve economy. Even on the launch of the Sportage in and around Canberra - including dirt roads - the fuel thirst was a surprising 6.9 litres/100km (14.5km/litre).



VER hit a rock or a treestump or, if your 4W driving is done in the city, a kerb or a place where the council’s road works has left a military-like open trench across your path? ‘Course you have. Then you find your vehicle complaining about your uncouth treatment. They either start crabbing, that is, running a bit askew, or by chewing up one or more tyres, or by trying to tug the steering wheel out of your dainty hands. Or all of the aforementioned. So what you need is to get your wounded fourbie to an alignologist as soon as you can. That word might not exist in a dictionary or on Google, but it’s vehicle-speak for a suspension specialist, one such as Wilkinson Suspension.

The Bayswater company has installed a Hunter HawkEye Elite aligning machine, an advanced bit of kit that analyses your car’s ailments in next to no time. Well, about two minutes, if you want to be picky. Western 4W Driver #108


It has digital imaging sensors and four high-resolution cameras that instantly update adjustment readings on-screen. Working with the newly designed targets, it provides 3D modelling of

wheel position and orientation for spot-on alignment measurements and it has a feature that lets a technician capture measurements of all four in one go. It also has an electronic steering system reset device and a VIN bar code scanner to identify the factory settings of your car. The Hunter’s clamping arms grip the tyre tread instead of the rim edge, so there’s no metal-to-metal contact to mark your expensive alloys. And your vehicle will be back to factory suspension and steering specs before you can say a big word, like ‘bugger.’ Wlkinson Suspension Centre has been at its craft for 30 years and is also the WA distributor for big brands such as King Springs, Koni, Rancho, Tough Dog and Bilstein.



OW many batteries do you have linked to your SUV, ute, caravan, camp or home? Four, six, 10? Maybe a lot more if you live in South Australia. Well, Hummingbird Electronics has just released an update of its RF Battery Monitor Kit and you’ll be happy to know it can remotely monitor up to 16 batteries simultaneously. Oui, Pierre, 16! Easy to install and operate, the RF Battery Monitor displays the status of the batteries on a remote colour screen and since it is multi-voltage compatible (12/24V) it works with all types of batteries, so various voltages are no problem. Getting it to work is as simple as 62

Western 4W Driver #108

plugging the receiver, or screen, into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket, or other power supplies applicable to desktop or bench top management. And to monitor the batteries, you just have to connect a transmitter to the battery terminals and pair it with the remote receiver display. You can customise a threshold for the voltage and an alarm status if the battery reaches the designated level.



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In alarm mode the icon changes colour, identifies the battery and beeps. A key improvement is a change from Bluetooth to an RF Technology protocol, which has allowed the unit to improve its reliability and improve signal strength.

The Hummingbird RF Battery Monitor Kit comes with a compact highresolution colour monitor, a wireless RF battery transmitter, a cigarette lighter plug and a sturdy mount so it can be installed on any surface. More on



OU’VE probably heard of Parking Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Brake Assist and other ‘assists’ that feature in the classy upmarket sedans of the day - but Tailgate Assist? Where have you seen a Lexus 450h with a tailgate? Well, you haven’t, because you have a ute, right? And you probably don’t give a hoot about whether a luxury sedan has 10 or more ‘assist’ features. Simply does not apply to your good self. However, picture this: you’re struggling across the Bunnings car park, OK, ute park, with a bag of cement in your arms and a 10litre tin of Taubman’s finest balancing on top. You approach your steed and want to put your stuff in the tray without first depositing said materials on the deck, which means another heavy lift later. Nah. Think ahead. If you have an ARB Tailgate Assist, you’ll be able to do it much easier and without having to consume a box of Weeties. The all-new ARB product uses two very special Stabilus struts to not only help lower the tailgate, but also to raise it once you’ve finished loading or unloading. The passenger side strut helps to slowly lower the tailgate and the driver side to raise it. ARB had a chat to the lads at Stabilus and co-developed a unique mounting system to ensure they’ll do the job and

last for a heck of a lot longer than you thought possible. The company is based in Koblenz, which for those who have not gone bush-bashing in Germany, lies at the

confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Stabilus has been there since 1934 and is recognised as a global leader in strut technology. The town, by the way, (actually, it’s by the rivers) was established as a Roman military post by a centurion called Drusus in 8BC, which is quite a while ago, and it’s still there, so they know a lot about long life. Enough of the history lesson. If you want the tailgate on your Ranger, BT-50, Colorado, D-Max, Navara or Triton to work a lot easier, pop around to an ARB store or stockist. And while you’re there, ask them if they know where Koblenz is. Western 4W Driver #108




E don’t get the Fiat Fullback here in the Land of Oz. But we do have most of the other utes, like HiLux, D-Max, Triton, Navara, Ranger, Amarok and Merc on our shores. All of them, the Fullback included, can be fitted with the Oz-as-Anzac biscuit Ironman 4x4 suspension kits. The news is that after more than a yearand-a-half of red tape, also known as bureaucracy, the kits have been given the formal tick of approval by German TÜV Nord and the German Federal



F you want to reach the summit, you almost certainly need a step. But wait, we’re not talking Himalayas, or even Kilimanjaro here. Today’s subject is back ends. There’s the Summit from ARB, and now there’s also the Summit Raw, both of which will help you get in or out of the back of your 4WD, but the Raw one has a bit more protection - which is good if you want to keep the derriere of your beloved ute nice, firm and shapely. The Raw comprises a 60.3mm tube finished in textured black powdercoat and it comes with provisions for trailer plug wiring, a compressor outlet, trailer camera wiring, parking sensors and a 50amp 66

Western 4W Driver #108

Motor Transport Authority (KBA). And you thought red tape was something used only in Canberra? Nah, no problem there, but the lads in Berlin are very cautious about whacking ein rubber stamp on something not made in der Vaderland. Indeed, Ironman 4x4 is the first aftermarket suspension company to get approval for its products, tailor-made for the most popular 4x4 pickups sold worldwide. So German uteologists can now install the KBA/ABE certified suspension kit upgrade without requiring annual recertification and without visits from der polizei. Still wondering what in hell a Fiat Fullback is? No, it is most certainly not the guy at the very back of the field in the Italian rugby team. It’s a very attractive ute, very closely related to Mitsubishi’s Triton. So now you know, and should you end up in Germany at some stage, you can get one with Ironman 4x4 gear and drive to the Zugspitze, rather than take the ski lift. Anderson plug. Also, it can tow 3.5 tonnes, and it looks ever so sexy on the not-so-lone Ranger. In the marketplace, the Summit Raw is positioned between a standard tow bar and Summit rear step tow bar. There’s a model for Ford’s Ranger PX and PXII and the similarly tailed Mazda BT-50, with one for Toyota’s HiLux being developed.



It’s the night before the morning after and the drinks are flowing well, and cold I might add! A perfect start to your two week jaunt across the tropics. But when you crawl out of your swag the next day under the searing sun to fetch a bottle of cold water, the fridge greets you with a wave of warm air. Worst case scenario you’ve ruined all your food, AND the vehicle won’t start. But even if you’ve only flattened a second battery; mouldy sandwiches aren’t a great start in anybody’s books.


Western 4W Driver #108



kay, you get the idea; flat batteries are bad. In this four part series we are going to look at everything 12 volt. Starting with energy storage; batteries in our case! In future issues we will go into wiring, charging, and making efficient use of your power.

Western 4W Driver #108


But first, some terminology You’ll see these mentioned all throughout this series, and also while you’re out battery shopping so it’s important to get a grip on their meaning. SLI – Starting, Lighting, Ignition. A cranking battery may sometimes be referred to as an SLI battery. CCA – Cold Cranking Amps. I won’t mention this much beyond this article, as it only applies to starting batteries. CCA is the number of amps a battery can deliver in a 30 second window at -18 degrees celcius, without dropping below 7.2 volts

RC – Reserve Capacity. Again, used more on cranking batteries. Measured in minutes, it states how long the battery will discharge 25 amps AH – Amp Hours. A measure of capacity used mostly on deep cycle batteries. Theoretically, a 100 amp hour battery would run a load of 1 amp for 100 hours, or 10 amps for 10 hours. Realistically, a lead acid battery can only be drained to about 50% capacity without damaging it, so you can halve that amp hour rating if you want you batteries to last Cycle Capacity: Number of times a battery can be charged and discharged.

Lead acid batteries, how do they work? Technically, every battery we talk about here is a lead acid battery (aside from the lithium ones). There are just differences in how that acid presents itself to the cells. If you were to crack open a battery, you’d find a series of positive and negative plates separated by an insulating material. Each

place when your battery is put under load. When your battery is recharged, load is applied INTO the battery, rather than out – which simply reverses the chemical reaction! Keep in mind though, the deeper you discharge – the harder it becomes to reverse that reaction. All lead acid batteries whether wet cell, GEL, calcium or AGM can be considered flat at 50% capacity or 12.1 to 12.2 volts. Going further into dead flat territory around 11.8 volts will ruin your battery or severely damage its capacity.

Wet cell cranking & deep cycle

arrangement of plates forms a ‘cell’ which produces about 2.2 volts. The cells are linked together in series, essentially like joining 6 smaller batteries together to create 12.8 volts at the battery posts. The cells require contact with sulfuric acid; an important part in the chemical reaction which takes 70

Western 4W Driver #108

Wet cells are the battery that has been around since car batteries begun. Each cell is submerged in liquid sulfuric acid, which gives off large amounts of hydrogen gas (look up the Hindenburg disaster if you don’t know how dangerous this can be). This is why they are only suited to use outside the vehicle cabin or canopy – and certainly not inside a trailer. The cranking battery is designed to deliver a huge amount of energy over a short timeframe; your starter motor

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sucking 20% of the energy in a matter of seconds. Thin lead plates are what make this possible, a quicker chemical reaction to deliver a huge burst of power – and recharge quickly. But thin plates are the enemy when it comes to overnight use. A cranking battery will run your accessories for half the time of a deep cycle at best, and it’s not going to like it either. Deep Cycle batteries are built exactly the same; and generally the plates are fewer in number, but thicker. The rule is the opposite obviously, longer discharge times are possible, but it won’t put out the massive burst of power – and it will take longer to reach full charge.

What about Calcium? These are still wet cell lead acid batteries, but incorporating elements of calcium on the plates. This promotes lower self-discharge, and much less gassing; which means next to no loss of electrolyte. Calcium is the reason so many wet cell batteries are “maintenance free” these days.

AGM & GEL batteries These two are rather similar to one another in that the plates are sandwiched together using a medium which holds the sulfuric acid. With very little liquid inside the battery, the amount of hydrogen gas produced while charging is miniscule; and could only become a danger if the battery is over charged. No liquid also means they are lighter; and can’t be spilled, so both GEL and AGM can be mounted any which way; with no concerns. AGM Absorbed Glass Mat batteries have been around since the 1980’s, developed by the military as something more resistant to vibration. They are named so due to the porous fibreglass mats which insulate the plates, and act as a sponge for the sulfuric acid. 72 Western 4W Driver #108

Cranking and deep cycle (red top) in a typical under bonnet configuration. Not a good environment for AGM.

Recharge rates for AGM batteries are far quicker than wet cell, and they aren’t as fussy as a GEL or lithium battery when it comes to charging rates and profiles. Their self-discharge rate is better than wet cell, but not as good as GEL, lithium or calcium variants. The Achilles heel of an AGM is heat. Under bonnet installation will quickly ruin an AGM battery without decent heat shielding and cooling; and certainly any warranty will be void. Overall, if a wet cell deep cycle is the base level option, then AGM would be the next step up in terms of price and deep cycle performance. Glass mat separator as found in an AGM battery.

GEL Stepping up in price, we have GEL batteries. Rather than containing wet acid, or absorbing it in a fibreglass matt; the space between the plates is filled with a thick sulfuric acid gel. Generally speaking, a GEL battery will tolerate flattening better than any other battery (except lithium), has the highest cycling capacity of all (except lithium), and the lowest self-discharge of all (except…you guessed it…lithium). The major downside to GEL batteries is a slightly lower energy density, meaning less power from the same size battery. Also, they have to be charged

Lithium batteries, how do they work? These are steadily dropping from prohibitively expensive to just plain old expensive. There are a few variations in lithium battery chemistry, but the one you’re most likely looking at is Lithium Iron Phosphate; or LiFePO4.

at a slightly lower rate than wet cell or AGM batteries. Too quick and the gel will become porous, quickly ruining battery performance. The anode is composed of graphitic carbon, the cathode – magical Lithium Iron Phosphate. A form of Lithium salt takes the place of good old sulfuric acid. As the battery is discharged, lithium ions move through the electrolyte and are stored in the cathode. In charging, the ions are shunted the opposite way and stored in the anode. The nature of Lithium batteries means they require a battery management system to ensure safe operation and to protect the life of the battery pack. Some batteries have these internally mounted, others need an externally mounted system which will control both loads and charging sources.

Why lithium?

Well, they are superior in just about every way. There are no liquids to spill, no gases are emitted during charging, they weigh literally half as much as

Just like in a lead acid battery, your 12 volt lithium battery contains a number of cells. Each cell puts out 3.2 volts, so only four cells are needed for a total output of 12.8 volts. Looking deeper into each cell, anodes (negative) and cathodes (positive) are what takes the place of plates in a lead acid battery. 74

Western 4W Driver #108

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any other battery, will discharge to 20% rather than 50%, and can handle massive rates of charge and discharge. Oh yeah, look after them well, and they should give you 8 to 10 years of service life, and possibly more! The downfall? Price. Three to four times more expensive than AGM, and they require AC and DC chargers with lithium charging profiles (which are steadily becoming more available and affordable). Also, and this will only be an issue for very particular installs; a Lithium battery must be installed upright. Fixing them in any other position will cause premature failure of the cells.

Upright and well anchored in its own space is the go for lithium.

So how do I mount my second battery? Well, now you have to find a suitable place to mount it! Keep in mind what you have just read with regard to which batteries are susceptible to heat, spilling, weight, and longevity. Under the bonnet is simple; any reputable four wheel drive accessory brand will have an auxiliary battery tray which you can Companies like Piranha Off Road products make battery trays to suit most makes and models of 4wd.

bolt in and secure a second battery. If you’re looking at the back of a the wagon, or in an open area in your ute canopy or tray; you’ll need a battery box. This will save the battery being damaged by loose cargo or having the terminals shorted out by something like a camp chair. That’s a certain recipe for fire! These boxes can be had cheap as just a sturdy plastic box, or with a few power accessories pre-installed to help you make use of your new found power. At the top end, some of these battery 76

Western 4W Driver #108

Projecta’s latest power hub is more than a battery box featuring 10 power outlets and a 300w pure sine wave inverter.

boxes even contain their own inverter, DC charger, voltage displays and more! Don’t just whack it in the box and toss it in the cargo bay though, 30 kilos of battery is not something you want bouncing around! A couple of tie down points and a sturdy strap will do the job. If you can spare a dedicated compartment for your battery in your canopy or camper trailer, you could get away with just a good solid battery clamp. This compartment should ONLY house the battery and properly mounted electrical accessories.

Final thoughts

Now that you’re armed with the right information; find your battery of choice and sit tight for the next edition where we will turn you into a wiring and charging expert as well! A big thanks to Chris Herbert at Challenge Batteries Osborne Park and Andrew Wilson of Enerdrive for their valuable input.

GOODCHILD ENTERPRISES is a Western Australian family owned and operated business who are the State Distributor for all Bosch Batteries. They can supply a huge range of Starting Batteries (including the latest EFB & AGM for Start-Stop vehicles), Marine batteries, Deep Cycle and High Cycle batteries for Auxiliary power in Recreational vehicles or Mobility applications. Also, ask them about their range of other products such as the

Bosch C3 & C7 Battery Chargers.

6 Pusey Road COCKBURN CENTRAL WA 6164 Ph: 9417 7033 Fax: 9417 7541


1988 was quite a year. The Russians launched their fifth Soyuz TM5 spacecaft, the Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister of Pakistan - and in Western Australia, Goodchild Enterprises raised more than a spark of interest by adding battery wholesaling to its manifold achievements. The family business started life as market gardeners, then became firewood merchants, then petroleum distributors and in ‘88, a lucky number among the Chinese, the fifth generation added batteries to the equation. With 30 years of experience it’s now the sole distributor of Bosch batteries and remains a major importer of a vast range of quality automotive and motorcycle batteries. It has also moved back into the distribution of lubricants. Like Soyuz, one could say Goodchild also took off,

in a big way. Today it’s an independent company with several warehouses, a modern showroom, its own delivery

fleet and is a major product supplier to the automotive, transport, marine, leisure, mining and mobility industries. And unlike Soyuz TM5, which lasted just three months, Goodchild has soared to far greater heights, and fully charged. Goodchild Enterprises is based at 6 Pusey Rd, Cockburn Central.



aving made no particular plans for Easter this year I was pleased to get an invitation from a mate, Terry, to do a little exploring out eastwards of Lake Cowan. This trip was planned and led by Terry so I looked upon it as a kind of holiday from my usual duties of picking routes, leading, and finding campsites. We used part of the Luigi Cappa Tour from our Goldfields book as access and Paul and I just followed wherever Terry led us. He’d made a study of tracks shown on maps and those visible on Google Earth and compiled a series of waypoints to aid our navigation. This region contains a vast network of interesting tracks. The earliest were put in by pastoralists, sandalwooders and prospectors and a few were woodline railway formations. In recent years, mineral exploration has resulted in the addition of many seismic grids and all are in various states of disrepair and revegetation, or impeded by fallen timber from wild wind storms. Several of the later tracks come to unexpected dead ends and on others fencelines cut


Ian Elliot

access in places. It’s a veritable 4WD playground but can be confusing at times. It took the best part of the pre-Easter Thursday to get out past Norseman and camp North of the Eyre Highway. Day Two began with us tackling the picturesque tracks out past the old Buldania Mining Centre. Our first setback came towards the eastern edge of Lake Cowan when we ended up mired in deep and very soft gypsum deposits. This stuff can be dangerous and you may very soon sink to the floorboards in a floury and bottomless mess. Thankfully, we retreated in impressive

Western 4W Driver #108


clouds of white dust before we got to that stage. We visited Yardina Rocks where Terry tried out his drone before heading northwards to Binneringie Road. We camped away out to the


Western 4W Driver #108

east of Gravel Dam. Day Three saw us wheeling southwards again to circle past the Woodline Hills where we spent a bit of time looking around an old woodline camp at Latitude 31º 45’ 48.9”S, Longitude 122º 25’ 13.6”E. Passing by Moochabinna Rock and the turnoff to Yardina Rocks, we turned eastwards from a point just south of Salt Creek eventually following a fabulous track that took us winding NE through dramatic bare and open saltbush plains and lakelands. It was late afternoon and we were headed directly towards a roiling mass of jet black clouds with lightning flickering incessantly in its midst.

Weather-wise, it wasn’t looking good, but we found a pleasant sandy campsite amongst Salmon Gums and Gimlet and had time to erect awnings and cook tea before the storm hit. Having prepared for it, the heavy rain didn’t worry us too much while the flickering and flashing light show, interspersed with deafening thunder rolling across the heavens, made it an absorbing night. Next morning, with the storm over but the dust well and truly allayed and miniature lakes lying in every dip in the track, we moved on to a pretty little painted gorge at Latitude 31º 20’ 26.9”S, Longitude 122º 43’ 2.8”E, where Terry again put his drone up for an extended flight out over

We survived a wild night.

a mirror-surfaced lake. This despite the presence of a pair of agitated Peregrine Falcons, the fastest raptors in the world,

A painted gorge was a highlight after the storm.

Western 4W Driver #108


birds that can dive on their prey at speeds of over 380kph. Fortunately, the drone can’t have looked edible to this fierce pair because they refrained from attacking and Terry wasn’t forced to execute any complicated evasive manoeuvres. Further on we came upon a remarkable freshwater lagoon supporting numerous water birds and an army of invisible frogs all pobble-bonking in a crescendo of musical metallic calls. This was at Latitude 31º 20’ 12.8”S, Longitude 122º 46’ 34.3”E. To the SE of this unnamed lagoon, we reached a series of extraordinary granite towers that invited a close examination made possible by numerous rudimentary tracks to various vantage points. These lonely stone columns are at Latitude 31º 26’ 59.7”S, Longitude 122º 54’ 45.3”E. Exploration kept us occupied for a fair bit of the afternoon before we pushed further south to camp. On Day Five we followed tracks to


Western 4W Driver #108

dead ends out east before exiting via Walogerina Rock to regain the Eyre Highway. Our last bush camp was a damp one not far from our first night’s halt and our trip home on Easter Tuesday was uneventful. Thanks Terry for a great trip. The total distance covered in the six days was 1,865km. Altogether, this was a very pleasant break and I can recommend the region to all 4w-drivers who enjoy exploring bush tracks in an area practically untouched by the trappings of civilisation.

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What’s in a name? Pilmer’s List


s I pointed out in our last edition, accurate positioning is an important aspect of showing named geographic features on maps. Nearly four years ago, in the 93rd edition of this magazine, I related the story of an expedition to the northwards of Laverton tracing the route of Sergeant Richard Pilmer’s 1910 camel patrol in pursuit of armed Aborigines who had shot up the Corktree Hotel and wounded the proprietor. My expedition was successful in locating all the watering places visited by Pilmer for which he’d recorded the Aboriginal names supplied by trackers Barney and Paddy. Many of these have never been shown on maps so I supplied all details to Geographic Names at Landgate. So far, that submission has been completely ignored and I understand that the section is now barely functioning after drastic staff cuts. Since this situation seems unlikely to change in the near future, I’ve decided to publish the positions of all of our 2014 discoveries herein so that 4w drivers can add them to their own maps and records if they so wish. New Names: Luleura Rockholes At the head of Lulu Creek 27° 44’ 33.59”S. 122° 29’ 30.73”E. Patabuka Gnammas Three gnammas; two on the NW side of the old Bandya Lake Wells Road, the third on the SE side 27° 29’ 16.69”S. 122° 29’ 03.96”E. Nungally Soak 27° 29’ 41.27”S.

with Ian Elliot

122° 48’ 58.08”E. Youlgagooda Soak 27° 32’ 09.99”S. 122° 56’ 02.68”E. Buraradada Gnamma 27° 34’ 41.14”S. 122° 55’ 50.52”E. Buraradada Creek Trends south-easterly from Buraradada Gnamma.

Nungally Soak.

Bunnagully Rockhole 27° 43’ 01.46”S. 123° 05’ 19.83”E. Nearby H T Granites are shown on current maps but the name is applied to the highest point. The actual inscription on the rock face is located about 300m SSW of that at: 27° 42’ 55.97”S. 123° 05’ 09.94”E. Other features shown on current maps but requiring slight positional amendments are: Crawford Soak 28° 32’ 24.05”S. 122° 25’ 04.45”E. The Stone Soak 28° 23’ 47.16”S. 122° 26’ 21.12”E. Western 4W Driver #108




Send us a happy snap Simply email us a happy snap* with no more than 50 words telling us where you were and what you were up to and you’re in the running to win one of ten Hema HX-1 Navigators.


Rob Duncan

The latest in outback gadgets. The Gum Tree powered phone charger. Just plug it into any Gum Tree and away you go. or at least miss Jones here thinks it’s magic. We went to the Bonnie Rocks area for 4 days and had a look at some of the rocks in the area. Very cold at night but the campsites had fire rings and they were a welcome sight. Beringbooding Rock even has a flushing toilet.


Western 4W Driver #108


WITH and you could Nail a 1 of 2 Navigator in each edition


or a 2 year subscription:

Explore a new frontier 2 Year


Catherine Simon

The kids loved the old car wreck and Mechanic’s shop covered in number plates at the Historic Gwalia Town site, Leonora WA.

*email your entries to: Western 4W Driver #108



rS 2 Yea

Gary Edwards

We are here with a group of friends on New Year’s Eve, on top of Mt Gibbo in north east Victoria, in the High country, very close to the NSW border. The legendary Tom Grogginess station, on the Murray River is in the valley behind, and Mt Kosciuszko is in the background. There is only enough room for 4 vehicles on top of the Mountain and our 80 series claimed pole position for the night! Lovely to watch the last day of the year slowly disappear.

2 Year



Sub 2 Year

Phil Cooney

My boys and I stopping at a favourite spot southwest of Margaret River on one of our annual EOY boys weekend away. Always a great time. Great tracks, great fishing, great campsites and my boys are always great company.

2 88


Western 4W Driver #108

Gary Cooper

The Lone Ranger, Silver ‘n’ the heart of the Pilbara, having fun off-road and learning all about 4w driving by myself, and having a ball doing so.



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With fresh springs under his back end, the Editor barrels headlong into.....




t’s always an uplifting experience to drive off from the fitters riding high on a new set of springs. The rear leaves on our 79 had long given up the ghost and wallowed, lurched, creaked and groaned under the constant weight of our ever ready canopy. They sat flat-as-a-tack in deflated contrast to the perky progressive coils I’d installed at the front a couple of years ago and which gave the visual effect of imminent take-off. Our new spring of choice was an extra heavy duty 11 leaf pack from the Ironman. After 60 years in the game, these guys know springs like the back of their fourby. Featuring a military wrap around the hanger bolt for extra strength and bolted guide clamps with

liners, the Ironman spring for the 70 Series is rated good for up to 4 tonne total GVM. More than enough to stop my bum dragging on the bitumen. Now lifted over 60mm at the rear I could see more road than sky, cornering was flat and controlled, the creaking and groaning was replaced by

A curve in the right direction unlike the ones on the fuel tank bash plate.

Western 4W Driver #108


rattles I couldn’t hear from the creaking All was well, until I fitted a new set of and groaning and best of all I couldn’t tyres, came home and nudged, then feel half the lumps and bumps the old carefully scraped under one rafter to springs could no longer absorb. fit in. And that’s the status quo. I could This was a whole new vehicle and I lower the barwork but I’m quite happy smiled all the way home, drove up to keep my tanks full, the driveway and maybe drop a into the carport few psi and wait “... I smiled all the - literally. And until the weight the smile its job and way home, drove up the does disappeared. the Ironmen Bugger! settle down to driveway and into the The barwork up a rafter-clearing carport .. literally.” top that protects level. the rooftop tent If it wasn’t for the ended up 25mm rooftop tent I’d fit a higher than the bottom of the rafters. flat platform roof rack for sure. Beats Filling up the tanks and deflating the the hell out of raising the roof. airbags made no discernible difference and the last thing I was going to do was drive around with the tyres at half mast in order to fit into the carport. So I bit the bullet and hired a couple of acrow props, completely unbolted the rafters of our two car carport, raised them, chocked them, re-drilled and bolted them over a weekend and drove the Cruiser in - just.

Top bar’s lost a bit of bark recently.

Might have to take the pillows out of the rooftop.


Western 4W Driver #108

S A ’ Y G A L



Western 4W Driver #108

Off-Road JU





Rob Robson TH








Clay Golledge is not the sort of bloke who does things by halves – in fact some would say that he has a tendency to go a little bit over the top. Kitting out his 4wd’s could be a case in point. Western 4W Driver #108



or as long as I have known Clay, which must be getting on for thirty years, he has had a passion for 4WDs, camping and 4WD touring. To that end he has owned a long list of different 4WDs that he has decked out with the latest and greatest the 4WD accessory market has had on offer. His latest project is no exception. This time Clay has decided to ditch the 200 Series, which I might add, had been set up with no expense spared, in favour of the dual cab ute option that is so, so popular these days. Clay’s ute of choice was the Ford Ranger FX4 and over several months he has researched and installed a mass of accessories and modifications to transform the Ranger into what would ultimately meet his goal as a capable and functional tourer. As the build got close to completion I arranged to pick the Ranger up for a couple of days to have a look over it and to get some pics and video for the Mag. Some last minute electrical work meant I had to pick the vehicle up from Tim and the boys at Autospark Osborne Park late one Friday night which turned out to be worthwhile as they were able


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to give me a rundown of the long list of modifications and upgrades they had completed on the Ranger. Included in this list was a massive lighting upgrade. Tim is the local agent for Stedi Automotive LED auxiliary lighting and had fitted one of their 42” twin row LED light-bars on the roof, they had also dropped in LED high and low beam conversion kits and swapped the fog lights in the ARB Summit Bar for Stedi LED replacement inserts incorporating built in day time running lights. When this upgrade was combined with the ARB Intensity driving lights, the results were extraordinary as we can attest to while filming in the pitch dark the following morning. – Manfred Mann’s song, Blinded by the Light springs to mind. Staying with the lighting theme, the boys also fitted Stedi LED mini floods to each corner of the camper and LED strips on both side wing doors of the canopy. A second battery was installed in the A potent mix of light power should keep Clay on track in the dark.



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tray with a Redarc management system along with all the necessary wiring including an Anderson Plug under the camper to plug in a solar blanket. Also in the tray, a 350 watt inverter is neatly tucked away and secured to the drawer frame. All the wiring has been completed to a very high standard using water proof Deutsch Connectors with the wiring encased in conduit to prevent damage. The next day I picked The Ed up in the Ranger and we headed out to the Wandoo Woodlands off the York Road, east of the Mundaring Weir. The Woodlands are beautiful at this time of year and are a perfect place for a picnic


Western 4W Driver #108

Floodlights could need LED strip assist for a better spread. Touch pad light switches are a great idea.

close to Perth with some lovely spots to be found, not that we were out for a picnic – we needed a spot to get some pics and footage. We decided to head over to an area we both knew,

just off Yarra Road, a little bit north of the Brookton Highway. This area has a lovely little creek flowing through it with some fairly flat areas without too many trees to cast shadows over the vehicle which can make photography and filming a bit tricky. Once set up, our first job was to have a look at all the work that had been done to the Ranger itself before focusing on the camping set in the rear. Starting at the front, the colour coded ARB Summit bar blends in beautifully; it is fitted with the high end Warn Zeon Platinum winch which features synthetic rope and full remote wireless operation including electronic clutch control. A UHF aerial and mobile phone antenna are mounted to the bar. ARB underbody protection plates extend all the way back to the transfer case keeping all those exposed mechanicals safe from damage. One of ARB’s fully engineered, designed and tested recovery points is securely attached to the chassis. Powder coated in bright red it makes a sharp contrast to the zinc coated bash

Catch can picks up oil vapour before it can do any damage.

plates - shouldn’t be a drama finding it when the Ranger is buried to the door handles - hey Clay? A TJM snorkel hugs the driver’s window pillar providing some assurance that the engine won’t take a mouthful when doing a water crossing. Also having the air intake up nice and high will reduce the amount of dust the air filter has to deal with. Under the bonnet a Fuel Manager additional fuel filter and water trap has been plumbed into the fuel lines helping to reduce the likelihood of dirt

Western 4W Driver #108


and/or water damaging the fuel pump, injectors and the engine. The filter is also fitted with a water sensor kit which is linked to a warning light on the dash. A catch can has been mounted on the passenger side upper radiator support which will remove the majority of the engines crank case oil vapour that would otherwise pass into the air inlet pipes, intercooler, turbo, EGR and inlet manifold. Also under the bonnet is a Unichip module, which when combined with the 3” Manta exhaust system has increased power and torque figures to 160KW and 554NM at the flywheel. With a set of black wheel arch flares, the Uneek 4x4 rock sliders and the Cooper STT Pro 285/65 tyres on 18” alloy rims filling the guards, the Ranger certainly looks the part. Although the tyres are pretty aggressive they didn’t seem to be excessively noisy out on the open road but around town it was a different story – they certainly let you know they are there. Suspension is a full complement of Old Man Emu springs and shocks with 600kg leaf packs in the rear and heavy duty coils up the front providing a 2” lift. Ride quality around town was firm but on the corrugated roads and tracks in the Wandoo Woodland the Old Man Emu gear really showed its worth. An ARB polymer Frontier long range fuel tank takes fuel capacity to 140 litres which should make for plenty of distance between refuels. Around the back of the vehicle is an Outback Accessories dual spare wheel carrier. Clay chose this WA made unit in favour of several of the well-known, 100

Western 4W Driver #108

Clay shopped locally for his rear wheel carrier.

high end brands as he found it was far easier to use but had all the strength and design features he required. The piece-de-resistance of this build, however has to be the Alu-Cab roof top tent, canopy and awning. Supplied and fitted by the Australian distributor for Alu-Cab, Quick Pitch Campers in Wangara, it really sets the vehicle apart from the rest. The aluminium canopy supports the roof top tent (called the Expedition Tent) and the 270 degree wrap around awning (called the Shadow Awning).

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The canopy has lift-up doors on all three sides with the two side wing doors providing good access to the tray. It weighs in at 62kgs. Under the canopy two large, full length Alu-Cab drawers are mounted inside the tray. An ARB 60litre fridge and

fridge slide sit on top of the drawers and hiding away under the roof of the canopy a large aluminium table is secured on rails making for easy removal. Once out of the vehicle the legs are deployed by a pair of pressurised gas struts – very flash! The hard shell roof top tent sets up literally in minutes. It is simply a matter of opening the spare wheel carriers, dropping down and then climbing

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Western 4W Driver #108

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up onto the tailgate, undoing the two stainless steel latches on the tent and pushing the hard roof up and letting the gas struts do their thing. Inside, the roof is fully lined to prevent condensation and a set of six canvas

The Expedition Tent weighs in at 80kg. Back on the ground, setting up the Shadow awning, even for one person is an absolute piece of cake, simply unzip the vinyl bag, remove the three Velcro straps then walk the awning around to the back of the vehicle and clip it on to a special bracket, then using the adjusting strap, pull it tight. The frame pivots from the back corner on a substantial stainless steel bracket; in fact the whole awning impresses as being very strong. The frame supports itself and only requires the use of the leg (there is only one leg) and tie down straps if it is particularly windy. The fabric used is called Tencate, a material that has an aluminised acrylic coating, which according to the guys at Alu-Cab makes it completely waterproof and reflects the sun’s rays better than conventional canvas.

pockets provide storage for shoes, wash bags etc. There are a couple of reading lights on stalks that tuck away when not in use and there is even a USB port to charge laptops, tablets and phones. All windows are fitted with midge proof screens plus zip up canvas covers for some privacy or if the weather gets a bit inclement. Western 4W Driver #108


Once the awning is set up you can’t get into the camper via the rear door, access to the camper is then through the tents window/door on the driver’s side and that works fine. The weight of the Shadow Awning is 24kg. Packing up is as easy as the set up and I reckon with a bit of practice Clay could be packed up and gone in under five minutes. The only down side that I could see is that it is quite a substantial piece of gear hanging off the side of the vehicle and may cop some damage on tight and overgrown tracks. One thing that sets the Alu-Cab roof top camper apart from many of its competitors is the ability to carry a load on the roof. Clay has had a lightweight roof rack fitted which at the moment carries his Maxtrax and shovel. I found that the additional weight made it quite difficult to push the roof up the first six inches or so until the struts started to offer assistance. Stronger struts would resolve the problem and allow for a few more items to be loaded onto the rack - having said that, whatever went up there would want to be light weight. I thought the Alu-Cab set-up might make the Ranger feel a bit top heavy but pushing it into a few tight bends on Yarra Road didn’t cause any anxious moments. Inside the cab, Clay has kept it all pretty standard apart from a couple of Redarc dual combo gauges monitoring boost, EGT and voltage of both batteries. A Torqit Pedal Torq unit is mounted on the dash – it improves the throttle pedal response and reduces turbo lag which is quite common in 104

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modern vehicles and the Ranger is no exception. A Tyredog tyre pressure monitor, along with an ARB fridge temperature monitor keeps an eye on both these essential parameters. Catering for the worst case scenario, a GME EPIRB is mounted on the rear pillar.

The Ed and I have decided that if Clay gets bored with his Ranga, we’ll take it off his hands.

Clay is an Infectious disease specialist. Along with his wife Karla and their team they run Infections West, the leading practice for private infection care in WA. Needless to say they are kept very busy, making getting away for any length of time pretty difficult but a trip to the Kimberley this year is on the cards and that will be the litmus test for their new set up. Of course, as with any project of this nature there are going to be things that work-a-treat and others that will need a bit of tweaking but knowing the Doctor as I do, any shortcomings will be addressed and rectified post-haste. From what I can see this is one very well equipped and functional Ranger – just what the Doctor ordered.


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ent pegs, yes the topic is tent pegs. Not a serious topic you reckon, tell that to a person who can’t get pegs into the ground or who, when it’s bucketing down, has a tent dis-erection. Before we go any further let’s get past the, ‘You’re a wuss - use a swag’, ‘You’re a ground hog’ and so on. Its good old solid ground for me, no swaying about in the breeze or bouts of claustrophobia. I’ve tented for over 25 years and love em. Tents pegs, glorious tent pegs, I’ve seen many types ranging from tiny wire-like ones through to shortened star pickets. Sadly many tents and awnings nowadays come with the thin shiny wire type masquerading as a tent peg, these at the first blow from a hammer bend into pretzel shapes. They’re as useful as a yard full of roosters. A celery stick would do a better job. So what’s out there? We’ve talked about the pretzels, then there’s the bent steel rod types, sand pegs, screw in pegs, post

spikes and star pickets. We also have rocks; yes rocks, more about that later. A photo hereabouts shows a range of pegs in my collection. The folded steel rod pegs are longer and thicker than pretzels and can take more

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Phil Bianchi lusty blows, but in rocky ground they too are useless and are no more than large pretzels. Even with the use of a hammer drill to pre-drill the holes you wouldn’t be successful. Sand pegs, the fluted variety, are great for use in beach sand, they bind well

“He ... suffered the indignity of having to walk with the tent above his head, past many watchers who clapped enthusiastically.” and stay in place. When in rocky ground however they can bounce back and be dangerous, especially to men without protection. The use of sand pegs or lack of reminded me of an incident many moons ago. I was lunching with the wife at Big Lagoon near Denham. A school group, using small dome tents, were camped on the beach sand. A sudden gust of wind plucked one tent from its pretzel moorings and rolled it like a giant ball, with shiny pretzels still attached some 50 metres. Even funnier was the frustrated tenant giving chase. He caught it, but suffered the indignity of having to walk, with the tent above his head, past many watchers who clapped enthusiastically. Screw in pegs, usually made of plastic, may work in sand and soft earth. Western 4W Driver #108


They’d be hopeless in rocky ground and if you forget the drill the bride will not be amused. My experience with tent pegs is generally good, but! On one occasion I had the tent spread out ready to be pegged. I go to get the pegs, no pegs. Rather than own up to my mates and be ridiculed I used four large screw drivers instead. Lucky it wasn’t hard ground. On another trip the pegs just wouldn’t go in, subsurface granite sheeting was the problem. I kept moving the tent around seeking better ground, no chance, the pegs were giving off sparks. Determined not to be beaten I gathered four large rocks and put them inside the tent in each corner, problem solved. At Steep Point I’ve used sandbags instead of rocks, the



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Western 4W Driver #108

incessant gale there showing no mercy. After years of frustrations with pretzels and celery I have designed and made my own tent pegs, using 8 mm spring steel rod from Boynes Springs in Ozzie Park and 6mm chain links from the local Green Shed. I cut the chain links in half and welded them to the 250mm long spring steel pegs, making sure the top of the link is below the level of the peg. This ensures all of the energy from the hammer blow strikes the peg. You will need to grind a pointy end so the peg is more enthusiastic about the job at hand. My only complaint about my special pegs is the theft rate, my mates have a fondness for knocking them off. Do yourself a favour and get some real pegs and consign the pretzels and celery versions to the wheelie bin.


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Mike and Amanda make a date with the Duncan, squeezing in a 16 day ....

KIMBERLEY WHIRLWIND TOUR Words - Amanda Burton Images –

We got the best possie at Sawpit Gorge on the Duncan Road. Western 4W Driver #108



here’s always a risk travelling in the shoulder season, especially when you’re heading north. If you jag it right, you’re in for an absolute treat with great weather, no crowds and plenty of water to play in. But if your timing is off, scorching temperatures and roads still closed soon remind you that there is a reason we don’t usually migrate north in the Summer. In their wisdom the Grey Nomads, even with their twelve months holiday a year, don’t usually head northwards until after ANZAC day. However, when you’re stuck with only the school holiday breaks to work with, things get a bit desperate. July is peak season and guaranteed to be packed. But the Kimberley was calling so we bit the bullet and booked some leave for the two-week mid-April school break. Yes, I know you don’t see “the

Kimberley” and “two weeks holiday” in the same sentence very often, and there’s a very good reason for that. Doing over 7,000km in sixteen days isn’t a promising recipe for a relaxing break, but if we wait until we’re on grey-nomad-time we’ll have forgotten what the place looks like. So deciding that a little taste was better than nothing, a whirlwind Kimberley tour was planned with the Duncan Track being the primary objective. Adding to our logistical dilemma was the fact that after the sun sets our beloved glamper-camper Lucy seems to become a Skippy magnet. The very first time we took her out after dark we had a Lucy ‘vs’ Skippy encounter (Skippy waited patiently for the Cruiser to pass before kamikaze-ing straight into the side of Lucy). Makes you wonder why you bother with that big heavy ‘roo bar on the front of the vehicle when

Beautiful 80 Mile Beach at Barn Hill was a welcome rest in our mad rush north.


Western 4W Driver #108

Thirsty resident at Barn Hill.

no one seems to have told the Skippys that’s what they are supposed to aim for. But the moral of the story is that night driving is off the agenda for us. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of daylight hours if you get up early and are happy to drink your morning coffee on the go from a thermos travel mug and three days on the road saw us over the Tropic of Capricorn and camped up at 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park. An evening stroll along the shell-laden beach was just what the Doctor ordered after all that time driving (and the long hot showers were pretty relaxing too). I especially enjoyed the

clouds of enormous dragonflies we encountered around the campsite until I thought a bit harder about food chains and what was sustaining this huge population‌.. The source of abundance became

Western 4W Driver #108


evident the next day when we hit the Roebuck Plains finding them doing a good impersonation of the Kakadu Wetlands. With water still lapping the edges of the bitumen from the flooding caused by Cyclones Joyce and Kelvin, the water-logged plains were alive with an abundance of birdlife and (rather less appealingly) blood sucking mozzies. To say there was a swarm of them doesn’t seem to do it justice, the other collective noun for a group of mosquitoes is a scourge and that definition “a thing that causes great trouble or suffering” does seem a more fitting description. The next couple of days we were plagued by them, they almost seemed to drink the Bushman’s spray rather than being repelled by it. Barn Hill was especially infested, luckily the very photogenic beach provided a refuge and hours of entertainment capturing the changing light on the stunning cliffs. Adding to our misery was the fact that the Wet hadn’t broken yet. Daytime temperatures were up in the mid-forties with evenings not getting much below twenty-five, all round hot, humid and sticky and not conducive to covering up. We headed eastwards along the Great Northern Highway towards the East Kimberley which had escaped the cyclonic rains and had rather a dry wet season overall, meaning conditions were at least not mozzienirvana if still a tad warm. On the plus side there Palm Springs on the Duncan Track was a delightful soaking.


Western 4W Driver #108

The quartz vein ‘China Wall’ out of Halls Creek is a stand out.

weren’t a lot of tourists around. The very disappointing thing we noticed as we stopped here and there along the highway to admire the boabs was the shocking amount of rubbish and toilet paper at each and every roadside stop. It was absolutely disgusting. There were a couple of places where I was reluctant to even step out of the vehicle unsure whether my tetanus shots were up to the challenge. Though I hope I’d be preaching to the choir here, there is obviously a huge audience







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(unfortunately probably female dominated, given roadside pullover bays are generally not the location of choice to settle in for a number two) that could benefit from some basic toileting education. After a suitably brief stop in Halls Creek we arrived at the start of the Duncan Track on the sixth day after leaving home. The first stop on the map was China Wall which is a bit like a “lost city” in that lots of places seem to have one, but it’s still worth a look. After passing through Old Halls Creek we then did a little bit of detouring trying to find a lake that someone had mentioned being worth a look, but when the track got lost in a puzzle of cleared trees and mining rubble we gave that up and instead spent a very enjoyable afternoon soaking in Palm Springs. Though technically you could

camp at Palm Springs, the small cleared “camping” area is literally on the edge of the track and is in no way private. Instead we continued a few kilometres on to Sawpit Gorge. Taking the plunge down to the water’s edge we had the prime camping location all to ourselves. It was quite pleasant after we spent nearly an hour cleaning it up – it was a modern-day midden. I confess that I’m not all that fussed about seeing the old ones but these modern ones enthuse me even less - I wonder what will future generations make of these piles of rib bones, fish heads and empty cans of Emu Export? As the sun set the ambience was further enhanced by the need to be careful where you stepped lest you land on a cane toad. The invaders have well and truly arrived in the Kimberley and they

Crows have got the cane toad sussed - flip’em over for a belly full of belly.. Once cleaned up, Sawpit Gorge was an excellent campsite.


Western 4W Driver #108

A Duncan Track traffic jam.

were represented here in all stages of development. They were admittedly very friendly intruders wanting to join us around our campfire and not at all shy of the strangers in their midst. Sadly, north of the Tropic of Capricorn cane toads are no longer classified as a “pest” and focus is now on mitigation rather than eradication. Predictions are that they will spread down to the Pilbara within a decade - they have already reached northern NSW over East. After the decimation of the first wave across the border the local wildlife does seem to be adapting somewhat and is starting to reappear. Apparently the crows were the first to work out that if you flip the buggers over you can get a good feed by going in belly first leaving the poisonous back

section behind. With scientists trying to help out too, coming up with concepts like cane toad sausages to teach animals to avoid the poisonous taste, hopefully a balance can be found. We spent the next couple of days meandering through gorgeous station country; far horizons, sunburnt sweeping plains and the only traffic to contend with being of the four-legged bovine variety. In that vein we had a memorable traffic-jam experience, being engulfed in the midst of a huge

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mob of cattle being moved along the track by half a dozen stockmen on horseback. Sometimes you’re just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and this encounter was a highlight of the trip. An overnighter on the banks of the Negri River saw us then reach the northern end of the Duncan Track, which hits the Victoria Highway just east of the NT/WA border the next morning. Before heading west we took the time to drop into the Zebra Rock Mine and would recommend it as well worth a look. Owners Kym and Ruth are passionate about their little corner of the world and have done a fabulous job balancing tourism, conservation and hospitality. Their attitude of “What can we give back to the country?” gives this place a special feel. There’s lots on offer but my favourite was being able to fossick and polish your very own piece of zebra rock. With a lot of roads still closed from the Wet, options from here were a bit limited (perils of travelling in the shoulder). We were able to see some of Keep River National Park before crossing back into WA and heading into the Bungle Bungles (or Purnululu National Park to be technically correct). Though the temperatures were still unpleasantly warm, this was far outweighed by the chance to experience locations like Cathedral and Mini Palm Gorges all by ourselves. The heat was taking its toll on our equipment with both fans burning out (what a disaster – how quickly we get used to these glamping accessories and 118

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miss them when they stop working!) and then the air compressor taking its last gasp. Big thank you to Trevor the manager at the Bungle Bungle Caravan Park whose kindly loan of his compressor saved us a long, slow limp with gravel-pressure-tyres on the bitumen to the nearest 4WD shop for a replacement. As we headed southwards home we encountered the beginnings of the exodus northwards for the winter. No doubt which direction we’d have rather been heading in, but at least we’d had a taste of the Kimberley to tide us over. Yes, it was worth it.

Leaving no trace at Sawpit Gorge. For the most part the Duncan is a bit of an amble.


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ow do you write a quick review of a reference book that’s got 300 odd pages? After picking up a copy of Gemstones of Western Australia from Reeds Prospecting I had a quick scan through thinking “how am I going to review this?” Well the first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that most pages had pictures on them and if you weren’t interested in Western Australian gemstones before flipping through the pages I think most people would be afterwards. The book is broken into five sections consisting of 38 chapters and the first section starts with a girl’s best friend “Diamonds”. What better intro to Gemstones of Western Australia. Each section and chapter start off with a brief description of the properties of the gemstone in question, and then gives an overview of where a particular gemstone is found in WA and how it’s mined / recovered. Everyone knows about Kimberley Argyle diamonds,




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but there are so many more locations where diamonds are found in WA that you would never expect, just east of the Kennedy Ranges, and north of Wiluna for example. There is an array of good quality photographs that give the reader a very clear image of what the gemstone looks like, not only in the rough but also in the hands of masters who cut, carve and polish them to make high quality gems and showpieces. The book is well written and is sure to pique the interest of any reader. Published by the Geological Survey of Western Australia for the then Department of Mines and Petroleum, Gemstones of Western Australia covers everything from the gemstones most


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Western 4W Driver #108



With Kurk Brandstater have heard about - agate, diamonds, emeralds, opals, topaz etc, to precious metals like gold and silver as well as decorative stones like Chinese writing


The largest gold nugget found in WA is the Golden Eagle, which was found in 1931 and weighed 35.8Kgs. Imagine finding one that big today. A key point to remember, is that you can’t just go out there and start picking gemstones and gold anywhere you like. Most of the gemfields are covered by mining leases, and you need written permission from the lease holder to fossick or prospect on live leases. You also need a miner’s right which is available from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS). The lease holders pay a lot of money to the government for the right to recover/mine the minerals, gemstones etc and if you are prospecting or fossicking on a live lease without permission then you are stealing, and the fines for illegal prospecting can be up to $150,000 plus a criminal record, so if you are interested in this amazing pastime make sure you do it correctly and abide by the law. DMIRS provide some free software to show you where you are legally allowed, and there are

stones and zebra stones. Apart from all the guff about the various gemstones and where they are located there are lots of well laid out maps showing the areas where the various gemstones or precious metals are found. Chapter 14 covers the precious metals gold and silver with some interesting facts. Western 4W Driver #108


In short, the book systematically organises and discusses the history and quality of almost all known occurrences of gemstones, precious metals and pearls in WA. I never knew there were so many different gemstones found in WA, but it’s now a permanent resident in the 4x4 for when we are out prospecting. Who knows I might find a nice diamond to add to my wife’s collection. commercial apps, like “The Happy Prospector” which use your mobile phone to show you where you are and where the Tenements are, so you know you’re legal. For the rock hounds around Perth a great place to start is The Western Australian Lapidary and Rock Hunting Club Inc. located at 31-35 Gladstone Road Rivervale and monthly meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at 1 pm. For more information visit If you’re interested in gold prospecting, you will need to spend some time in the DMIRS offices to get the information you need to get started. You should also consider joining the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association. This is a volunteer organisation that fights for the rights of prospectors (including hobbyists) and small miners. For more information visit 122

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Get Yours at: Gemstones of Western Australia By J Michael Featherston, Susan M Stocklmayer and Vernon C Stocklmayer is available from Reed’s Prospecting Supplies at 25 Helen St, Bellevue. These guys live and breathe prospecting. Owner Aaron Raddock has a huge depth of knowledge on prospecting stemming from a 25 year career as an exploration geologist working here and overseas. Reeds has everything you need to go treasure hunting and gold prospecting including Australia’s largest detector hire fleet. Hiring’s a great way to try your luck and see if prospecting is for you. Apart from hiring, the team at Reeds can give you heaps of advice on where to go and how to find that not-so-elusive golden metal. Check out their website: or give them a call on 9250 3388.


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In an era of dwindling SUV capability in off-road conditions, Subaru surprised and delighted in Japan when it revealed its next Forester that gains more off road ability thanks to an improved 4WD system and a more powerful engine. Neil Dowling went for a squiz.



he fifth-generation Forester goes on sale here in September - priced from about $34,000 so virtually unchanged - and though it looks a lot like the outgoing model, barely shares a nut and bolt. In Japan, Subaru told us that the styling was similar (actually it looks a dead ringer in the pics though more distinctive when the old and new are side by side) because that’s what the customers wanted. But they wanted better economy, more

power and a smoother transmission. So Subaru started with the heavy blade, chopping off the diesel, the turbo engine and the manual transmissions, and then deleting the economy-minded 2.0-litre petrol. The result is a 2.5-litre flat-four that gets more oomph - 136kW/239Nm and a claimed 7.9 litres/100km (12.6km/litre) - and is mated to a much improved continuously-variable transmission (CVT) and then constantly to all wheels. For its latest generation, the wagon Western 4W Driver #108


has grown up by 15mm (to 4625mm) and sits on a 30mm wheelbase (to 2670mm). That improves cabin room - it comfortably seats three adults on the back seat - and the luggage space is also up, though not to the level of some rivals. The good news is that it still has a decent 220mm ground clearance. Compared with the outgoing Forester, the extra wheelbase length has expanded the boot volume by 76 litres to 498 litres with the rear seats up, 1768 litres when folded down (a huge 287 litre increase). That’s pretty good considering the Forester keeps a full-size spare wheel. The boot opening is much wider - up 135mm to 1300mm - so loading is easier. Also on the list of appreciated features is the new flat sill beneath the rear doors that forms a footstep when

There’s a flat four under there somewhere.

loading the (standard) roof rack. Inside there is a superior dashboard design which is a big step up in usability and quality. It features soft-touch plastics and includes new switchgear and an infotainment system that has Apple CarPlay and Android

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Western 4W Driver #108


Auto as standard. More interesting is the facial recognition tech. The test cars were all Japanese (on Japanese soil) so we’re not yet sure if Australia gets all the goodies, but the highlight is the facial recognition system that, once learnt, will automatically adjust the seats and mirrors to your specifications. It will do this for four other people as well. That’s neat but the system also acts as a Big Brother by watching the driver. It will sound an audible alert or vibrate the steering wheel if it believes the driver is nodding off or distracted by texting or simply daydreaming. The Forester now gets the same high-tech platform design as the Impreza and XV which is more rigid and has optimised points for seat, suspension and engine mounting points. The bigger size and new platform, plus all the good gear including the larger engine, mean that weight goes up but it is marginal at only 25kg. As mentioned, the diesel and

turbo versions have been dropped, as has a manual transmission. Subaru will keep the single 2.5-litre engine until a hybrid (2.0-litre plus electric motor assist) arrives late next year. The latest 2.5 is a major overhaul of the current car’s mill and has 90 per cent new components with 136kW at 5800rpm and 239Nm at 4400rpm. It also borrows a lot of technology from the Subaru BRZ coupe (developed in conjunction with major shareholder Toyota) which includes direct fuel

Updated dash layout with happy face steering wheel. Western 4W Driver #108


surface and on a tiny off-road circuit. The cars tested were also Japanese specification, so there may be some changes to the Australian models. Boot opening is now 135mm wider helping to create an extra 287 litres in the cargo area.

injection and new cylinder heads with better flow and a higher compression ratio (12:1) for more power and efficiency. Despite the higher compression, the engine will happily run on 91RON. Then there is a new CVT that has seven preset gears (previously six) and new components for smoother operation. Drive is to all wheels but this time it goes through an updated X-Mode (Subaru speak for all-

...”The Forester is more sophisticated and refined than the car it replaces.” wheel drive control unit) that controls engine torque delivery. There are now two X-Mode systems - one is for light all-road duties and the other is for more rugged off-road conditions. Like the dial-up systems used by Land Rover, the new X-Mode is a simple twist dial near the gear shifter and offers Normal; Snow-Dirt; and Snow-Mud selections. The test drive out of Tokyo was a bit limiting, both on its ultra-smooth road 128 Western 4W Driver #108

However, clearly the Forester is more sophisticated and refined than the car it replaces. The comparison was done with a current model that Subaru made available for back-to-back tests. The new wagon is far quieter and has a more compliant ride, but the biggest step up is the smoothness of the transmission and the more precise way it moved into the next gear (when used manually). Used as an automatic - and the CVT is not the last word in automatics - it was smoother and silky in its changes. On the soft off-road circuit the new X-mode could be dialled up to negotiate slippery mud slopes with relative ease while the 220mm ground clearance - unchanged from the current car - and a steeper forward and departure angle helped walk over the ramps and dips. It’s certainly a better car but we’ll report back when the Australian vehicle is in our hands.

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In Cook as a kid

It was with great interest that I read the article on Cook in your last edition. As a child I lived there in 1947. In those days the town consisted of two rows of houses, a separate store, hospital, railway station, PMG repeater and large loco sheds. Also an abattoir to kill sheep for the Tea & Sugar Train. Cook was the largest siding on the railway line. It had spare steam engines as they were always breaking down and the engines were serviced there. It also had a policeman who lived in single quarters just in front of the jail cells. I attended the two story school and loved the view from the top storey. A higher view of nothing much! The town had quite a lot of itinerant Aboriginal folk who moved between Cook and Ooldea where Daisy Bates lived. (Anthropologist and one time wife of Breaker Morant) They just climbed on goods wagons and hitched rides up and down the railway as they needed! One old chap called Tommy Windmill had lost his leg by falling under the train. He would offer to chop wood for food. He chopped sitting down. The Aboriginal dogs were a problem, so the policeman decided to cull some of them and was walking round town shooting them with a revolver. One lady with an infant dropped the infant, grabbed her dog and ran off leaving the child howling in the dust!

She knew her child wouldn’t be hurt, but her dog was in danger! When they wanted to contact the tribe at Zanthus, some 400 miles away to the west re; their annual corroboree they would give a message stick to the driver of a train and ask him to throw it out there to any Aborigine. A mix of old and new cultures! My father was a fettler in the repair gang. My elder brother became the Station Master at Cook in later years. My younger brother and I became Train Drivers and we spent quite a bit of time at Cook as it was the end of our section. The SA drivers took the trains eastward from there. The sisters at the hospital did a wonderful job as it was a big distance from any doctor, the nearest being at Ceduna on the Eyre highway. A spare coffin was kept in a store room under the water tower for anyone unfortunate enough to die on the train. If you did die they cancelled your ticket and charged a body cartage rate which was about three times the live rate. All heart! Along with all the little settlements along the Trans Line, Cook was killed by the advent of the concrete sleeper. Once the line was re-laid with them it needed no maintenance for years. The houses were all sold and removed to other places by house removers. It is with some sadness that I look out of the window of the Indian Pacific and see the ghosts of the settlements where hundreds of people lived, worked and in some cases died, to keep the trains Western 4W Driver #108


running across this great country of ours. Sincerely yours Ron Reid. Kaloorup. March of progress Ron. Thank you for this great snapshot of life in the Nullarbor sidings. These insights will add colour for our readers visiting Cook by rail or road and we’d be interested to know what books are available that cover the advent of the East/West line. Cheers, Nick

Congratulations Ron. You’ve won the latest UHF Radio from and a 12 month subscription to

Up there in Singers I thought I would share this pic with you. I was in Singapore early December and my girlfriend and I splashed out

and stayed at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore for the night. The pic was taken at the 57th floor infinity pool, while reading winter 2017 ed. Keep up the awesome work with your magazine, it’s the only 4wd mag I read. All the best to you Cheers Daniel Daniel, this pic takes the cake. Over the years we’ve run into readers enjoying the mag at camp somewhere out in the bush but never next to a pool that far off the ground and in another country altogether. You’ve made our day! Thanks for that. Nick

Kimberley Public Toilet

Having just returned from a trip up to the Kimberley I have come away disappointed and disgusted at the amount of discarded rubbish and toilet paper we encountered. Rather than a remote wilderness the Kimberley is beginning to look like a mis-managed rubbish tip. It was everywhere: empty packets, bottles/ cans, beer carton boxes, take away containers, even dirty nappies. All the pull-over bays and rest areas were clearly marked with signs advising where the next rubbish disposal points were – what happened to the Leave No Trace philosophy of “if you pack it in, then you can pack it out”? By far the most revolting rubbish we encountered was the toilet paper. Every single roadside stop we had the misfortune to pull over in was bordered in it. Unfortunately, I’m going to point a finger at the ladies for this one. Yes, I know we drew the short straw plumbing-design-wise here, but that is no excuse. If you can carry a roll of

No substance in your urine is actively dangerous to you just by touching it – so even if by chance you touched a damp bit of toilet paper, it’s not going to kill you. It’s lazy and disrespectful to others and the environment to just leave your mess (be it rubbish or toilet paper) behind. The blatant disregard shown by these inconsiderate, dirty travellers towards those who will follow them is inexcusable. Don’t like picking up your own mess? Then don’t go travelling / camping. Simple. For more guidelines on how to go to take care of human waste the right way see Nick’s video on Youtube. Amanda Burton

toilet paper, then you can put it in a bag and add in a trowel and maybe even a box of matches, problem generally solved. And yes, sometimes the ground is too hard to dig a hole, but there are other options. Take along a small (biodegradable) plastic ziplock bag, bag and seal your piece of used paper and take it with you to the next rubbish disposal point, or discretely empty the bag into the fire that night.

Well said Amanda. The day may come when cameras at specific roadside stops will show who the culprits are. We might be surprised by the stats. Cheers, Nick

Blindingly Obvious

There have been some comments about the overly reflective nature of road signs in the past two editions. Whilst many may be critical of this, the reasoning is sound. I was involved in the committee for AS1742.3 – the standards which are still current for the application and set out of road works signage. In a previous version of AS1742.3, some of the mandated requirements made the adoption of extreme set ups for the most minor works mandatory and I got myself on the committee to try and get a little common sense into the rewrite. Whilst driving in the bush, I had noted that some new permanent signs were blinding on high beam and that something had changed. It became apparent why during the committee Western 4W Driver #108


meetings for the rewrite of AS1742.3. A sales executive from a major supplier of reflective materials used for road signs was on the committee, and had been on the previous committee for AS1742.2. Despite my arguments that the Class 1 materials now used were excessively bright, and dangerous in country locations; and demonstrating the more than adequate reflectivity of the then existing Class 2 material with photographs of set ups in my works depot, I lost the argument. The same standards were applied to road works signs as well. If a more sensible Class 2 material were still used, the need to angle the signs at 5 degrees to the road would not be necessary, and one could actually read the words, rather than being blinded by excessive reflection. Now if I were that same company, I would be saying to myself, enough time has passed, it’s now time to develop an argument that Class 1 is way too bright, and we should change all signs to Class 2 for safety reasons, and whoop-de-do, another gazillion dollars in the bank. That’s why the reasoning is so sound! Its blindingly obvious! Kind regards, Colin Leek At last Colin! Down to the nitty gritty. And it doesn’t surprise me that it’s dollars and cents. If it comes up again we hope you’re there to refer to the history and ensure practicality prevails over profits. Cheers, Nick

Get your Camera Back

I was given your email from Steve and he said you may know the couple in the photo attached from the 4W Driving scene. I have found their camera and 134

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SD card and hoping to return it to them. Please let me know if you do recognise either of them. Here’s hoping!!! Cheers Mel Hey Mel, Good on you for getting in touch. Bet they’ve given it up as a stack of lost memories. They certainly look familiar but if the people in the pic get in touch we’ll pass them on to you for sure. Could score you a bottle of your favourite drop. Cheers, Nick

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ome time ago on the recommendation of someone who spends long hours on country roads and tracks, we fitted a set of Toyo Open Country A/T11s to the Western 4W Driver Land Cruiser. These tyres lasted really well under the not-inconsiderable weight of the vehicle. Although a fairly tight tread pattern for an all terrain tyre might suggest limited capability off road, these tyres handled everything we threw at them. They’ve had the grip to scrabble us to the top of Mount Meharry and over the tough tracks of the Pilbara. They’ve floated along numerous beaches and sand tracks with minimal sidewall bulge thanks to tough sidewall construction and on the road they behaved exceptionally well in wet or dry conditions with positive, stable cornering and tracking on dirt roads and corrugations. The tighter tread pattern kept the road noise well down over the life

TOYING WITH The AT11 was a stand-out tyre for us.

of the tyre and as a measure of its tough construction when the tyres were brand new I cut a split around 70mm long and quite deep in one of the sidewalls on a Gascoyne road. Through sheer pigheadedness I refused


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to replace the tyre and drove it over the aforementioned terrain, often with the split gaping under pressures as low as 10 psi. As the tyres were nearing the end of their useful life the split finally gave way on a sand track down near Walpole, testimony to Toyo toughness. It was therefore a bit of a no-brainer to drop into our mate Roger at Associated Tyre and Wheel in Osborne Park to fit a set of Toyo’s latest offering, the Open Country R/T. This tyre presents a hybrid tread pattern somewhere between an A/T and a mud tyre with solid shoulder blocks for grip on rutted terrain. So far the R/T has proven even more stable than the A/T11 on gravel while still performing well on wet roads despite

the off road orientation. I’m not usually a fan of an open mud terrain tyre tread pattern as the off road ability is often eclipsed by a growing roar of road noise as the tread wears down. As new, the tyres are fairly quiet but the jury’s out on road noise until they get towards two thirds worn. Meanwhile we’ll continue to enjoy this new entrant to the off road market from Toyo.

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fter my first trip through this legendary landscape I knew I was going to return to it time and again. And that happened. My reaction might seem a little strange given that I was brought up close to the coast and always loved salt water, but there was something about the Central Australian deserts that really caught my imagination and it was more about the vast swathes of red sand than it was the spectacular remnants of sandstone like Uluru and Kata Tjuta that are such iconic markers for most people who visit Central Australia. It’s a pretty involved story about how I became so interested in this arid landscape, but here goes. It is said that in Australia there are about four steps between yourself and someone who you know who is a friend of the stranger who you have just met. That is, you have a friend who has another acquaintance who actually knows the person you are talking to for the first time! I guess that

is a good reason to behave yourself among strangers. Well it was the case in the town where I lived because everyone knew my family and if I was caught sampling fruit without asking, someone would be bound to dob me in. Well, this is a story about connections; connections with landscape and people. In the town mentioned above, there was a Government Medical Doctor named Fred Rodway who was a tireless community worker. His wife and my mother, who was a florist, were great friends and both members of the Red Cross Society. There were lots of meetings of the Society held at the Rodway house and so I was often there, and it was a fascinating place to visit. Fred’s father, Leonard Rodway, was a noted dentist and later a botanist in Hobart and had passed his love of the

Western 4W Driver #108


outdoors, plants and all things natural to his son. The botany passion was clear because several exotic trees sheltered a pigeon loft in Fred’s garden where his white Tumbler Pigeons lived. The free-ranging pigeons had a fountain to drink from in the garden and the pool around it was surrounded by fossils and rock samples stacked up around the edge. Fred had found these and brought them home from his many bushwalking trips, something that you wouldn’t do today – because we leave them there for the next visitor to enjoy, don’t we? He also collected plant specimens on these walks and after his death in the 1950’s, his pressed plant specimens went to the NSW Herbarium – some 15,000 of them I believe. Fred encouraged my interest in the natural sciences and geology, a path that I pursued for some years before “changing horses in mid-stream” as it were. He used to describe the various fossils to me and for one birthday gave me a couple of outstanding fossil shells from his collection that readers would know from the original Shell Petrol bowsers – I passed these on to my former school when I left. They were an ancient kind of scallop that came from the Permian age, a geological period that ran from about 300 million years ago to about 250 million years ago. Rocks of this age surrounded the town and formed the cliffs along the river where I practised my fishing skills. Remarkably, as I was to discover later, Fred Rodway’s only sister Florence, had studied art in Hobart along with another artist, Olive Pink and later they both moved to Sydney and completed their art studies together at Julian Aston’s famous art school. But more about that later. My interest in geology gradually developed into a fascination with the way Aboriginal people used stone and other natural resources in their daily lives. Plenty of evidence for the various uses of plant resources and a number 140

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of kinds of stone artefacts were to be found in the bush, the littoral and the sand dunes and these were regularly visited on bush walks along with other individuals interested in such things. The cliffs that lined the river bank were scattered with numerous sites showing where Aboriginal people had camped, processed foods and lived their daily lives. In the cliffs there were sandstone caves in which they probably sheltered

Base grinders like this one were used to grind seeds or ochre.

in wet weather and many of these caves and overhangs still displayed on their walls drawings of Aboriginal tools and stencils of their hands and fish that they had caught. Being exposed to these kinds of archaeological evidence showing something about the way people had lived for thousands of years was quite an inspiration and eventually I went on to study archaeology and anthropology and finally wound up working for the Western Australian Museum. While I was working there, my interest in Aboriginal plant

use developed along with other studies that I was undertaking on campfires, campsites, stone tool making and various other matters of archaeological interest. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of my plant studies at this time came when there were several opportunities to visit the desert areas of Western Australia far to the south of Halls Creek along with Aboriginal people who had lived there up until the late 1960’s. On trips into this area I was usually accompanied by half a dozen Aboriginal men who were well acquainted with

Small tools chipped from chert presented a reliable cutting edge.

the botany of the region and how the resources with which we were surrounded had been used in traditional times. I was able to study the plants at first hand and could listen to their stories about them. They were still using a lot of these plants in their daily lives and back in the settlement I could talk with the women who generally had a different perspective on the use of the plants than did the men. These were absolutely marvellous experiences and while I was in the field I used every opportunity to discover as much as I could about the lifeways of their amazing culture that had managed to exist for tens of thousands of years in a country that had a landscape so hard, seemingly barren and where finding water was a constant and daily occupation. During one period of annual leave my wife and I decided to visit Alice Springs. At that time there were flights directly from Perth to the ‘Alice’ where you could break your journey for


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a few days before flying on to Cairns. During the break in Alice Springs I was determined to visit the renowned arid lands botanist Peter Latz at the Arid Zone Research Institute who had similar interests to me. Peter’s father had worked at Hermannsburg Mission and Peter had the distinct advantage of being brought up amongst Aboriginal people who had a first-hand understanding of using the natural resources around them in their everyday lives. Not only that, he could speak their language and so he was busy recording this knowledge for posterity. I left him, eagerly anticipating the release of a book he was working on: Bushfires and Bush Tucker, which came out in about 1995. But at the time of my visit, I was unaware of the contribution made to the study of Central Australia desert plants by Olive Pink, the social activist and botanical artist. Most people who had studied Australian anthropology were aware of her courageous attempts to assist Aboriginal people to become fully acknowledged Australian citizens rather than the second-class pastoral labourers and town fringe dwellers that many of them were reduced to being. Miss Pink, as she was mostly known, lived in rather difficult circumstances, almost one might say, in poverty, on a small reserve in Alice Springs where she established a sprawling garden of plants found in the region. She would be delighted to know that more recently, her small plot of carefully tended plants has become a most important arid land botanic garden full of fascinating region plants. During my visit to her garden with a mate who had grown up in Alice Springs and knew Olive’s story, I was astonished to discover that there was a link from Olive Pink to her co-student Florence Rodway, and from Florence to her brother and my youthful mentor Fred Rodway, and my current interest in the lifeways of Aboriginal people and their uses of native plants. The story doesn’t end here. When Fred 142

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Olive Pink (above) lived a tough life in her tent in Alice Springs while tending her native plant garden. Pics courtesy of the Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

Rodway had encouraged my interest in geology, he had suggested to my parents or perhaps he had actually bought for me a copy of a book called “Ancient

Australia” written by Charles F. Laseron. This was a great gift for a young bloke to receive who was interested in the landscapes of Australia. I read it from cover to cover several times and in fact, when I was young it often provided inspiration about the places that I wanted to visit on camping trips which my family used to make each time there was a holiday opportunity. Together we visited lots of the classic geological sites of Australia and I would potter around discovering the rock formations that had allowed professional geologists to interpret the landscape and describe it in the ways that I read about in Laseron’s book. I thought that Laseron was a pretty interesting character. Even back in the early 1960’s and well before the internet, it didn’t take long to find out a few things about him. I discovered that he had studied geology at Sydney Technical College and then worked at the Technological Museum in Sydney (another place that I visited regularly)

where he continued to write papers and articles on geological topics including one on the Permian rocks of the Shoalhaven area of New South Wales. I knew those rock outcrops like the back of my hand. Laseron, an immigrant initially from Michigan in USA was chosen by Douglas Mawson to accompany him on his Antarctic explorations in 1912, but not as a principal geologist; he was with the Cape Denison team and his museum experience had demonstrated his suitability as a taxidermist, biological collector and explorer. Returning to Australia from that challenging polar adventure Laseron had enlisted in the Australian Army and was wounded at Anzac Cove in 1915. After a long convalescence in London he returned to Australia and re-joined the Museum and was appointed in 1926 as Officerin-Charge of the Applied Arts Section. However, he resigned in 1929, becoming an antique dealer, stamp auctioneer and author. He had written about his







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polar adventures in 1947 in a book called “South with Mawson” which I bought with pocket money saved for the purpose and I eagerly devoured it, being excited by the courage and survival instincts shown by the party members on several occasions. In that book I read about another geologist, Dr. Cecil Madigan, who had also been a member of Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition. I began to read more about Madigan because of the link that I had discovered between Mawson and Laseron, both geologists with a mutual interest in Antarctica. It wasn’t long before I discovered that Madigan himself had written a book in 1946 just before he died, called “Crossing the Dead Heart” describing the epic adventures of desert exploration in 1939 when he led a party of nine men and nineteen camels into the trackless and waterless Simpson Desert on an exciting crossing never previously attempted. “Crossing the Dead Heart” could have also been applied to a crossing of Antarctica when you think about it, but no, the subject was the red desert not the white one. This book appeared just a couple of years after his earlier book called “Central Australia” came out. Of course, I sought out these two titles for my ‘landscapes library’ which was feeding my interest in the Australian Pic courtesy of the deserts. Museum of Applied Although it Arts and Sciences. was a case of ‘circles within circles’ you can probably see how a few personal connections 144

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and some reading about them and their acquaintances had fuelled my interest in the plants and landscapes of Australia’s central deserts. To cap it all off Cecil Madigan’s daughter the renowned Australian sculptor, Rosemary Madigan, lives in the town where I now live since returning from the ‘West’ and we sometimes have a lunch with her and a few mutual friends. Rosemary’s daughter, Alice Giles, who is a leading harpist also lives in the same town. Just to close the circle of connectivity a little more, here is a titbit about Alice from Wikipedia: “In February 2011 [Alice] went to Antarctica as the recipient of an Antarctic Arts Division Fellowship, commemorating the centenary of the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition (on which her grandfather served), becoming the first professional musician ever to perform in that continent. She developed a multimedia performance entitled “Alice in Antarctica” that was live-streamed directly from Mawson Station and later performed around Australia and internationally.” I’m just in the middle of the planning another trip across to Broken Hill, up to the ‘Alice’ and out through Hermannsburg to Palm Valley and a few quiet spots that I know in the MacDonnell Ranges to get some good photographs of the MacDonnell Ranges cycad (Macrozamia macdonellii), which was once thought to have been isolated from its relatives in eastern Australia and others in south-west Western Australia for up to 30 million years. Now a new study suggests it has only been isolated for perhaps 10 million years. Well, I’ll be blowed! I don’t think I’ll worry too much about the odd 20 million years, but it does show that they haven’t had too much surf in Central Australia for a while. I wonder who I’ll meet there this trip?


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In the previous edition, we’ve discussed what vehicle emissions were, the EURO Standards, a brief history of emissions control systems, as well as what each system does. In part two of this three part series, we now look at how these systems work in greater depth, to help you better understand what they do and why they are in place.

Catalytic Convertors The Catalytic Convertor, or ‘Cat’, was one of the first emissions control devices fitted to vehicles. We started seeing these fitted to passenger cars in

the 1960’s, predominately in the USA to combat smog and air pollution issues. The main job of the Cat is to reduce the emission of harmful CO (Carbon Monoxide) and NOX (Nitrogen Oxides). The Cat achieves these reductions by utilising rare metals, such as Platinum,

Pic: Glenn Simon.


Western 4W Driver #108

A LOAD Palladium and Rubidium as ‘catalysts’ to start a reaction, breaking the harmful exhaust emissions down to less harmful gasses normally found in the environment. Catalytic convertors are designed to have the maximum internal surface area in contact with

“(Catalytic convertors) reduce harmful emissions from your vehicle more than any single other emission control device.” the exhaust gasses with an absolute minimum of restriction to exhaust flow. The myth that removal of the Catalytic Convertor increases performance is, in most cases, false. Very little to no gain is made from the removal of a fully functioning catalytic convertor. Many reputable, local exhaust manufacturers offer high flow Cats which, as part of an exhaust upgrade package, certainly offer an increase in performance from the factory system. The Catalytic Convertor is an important part of the exhaust system, they reduce harmful


Part 2

Emission Control Systems - How they work With Ben Broeder emissions from your vehicle more than any single other emission control device.

Exhaust Gas Recirculation Systems Along with the introduction of Catalytic Convertors came another system known as Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR. Put simply, EGR systems divert some of the exhaust flow back into the engine intake via the EGR cooler. This is done to further reduce the emission of harmful NOX (Nitrogen Oxides) as well as resulting in cooler combustion temperatures and minimising the need for retarded timing, thus offering increased engine power. In recent years, it’s been popular, by some, to ‘blank’ the EGR system. This is commonly performed by placing a crude plate in line with the EGR system, blocking, or heavily restricting the flow. Blocking, or ‘blanking’ the EGR system is most commonly done when there is excessive oil ingestion and soot build up in the engine intake. Blanking the

EGR will only address the symptom your vehicle’s engine is suffering, not rectify the root cause of the issue. More often than not, the general cause of this excessive oil ingestion is due to infrequent engine servicing and/ or inappropriate oils being used for the operating conditions. Bear in mind the manufacturers service interval information is the MAXIMUM distance to be travelled between services and

under ideal conditions, not crawling around in the bush or high operating temperatures. Another common issue, which we’ve highlighted in previous

Western 4W Driver #108


issues, is from poor engine tuning and poor quality ‘chip’ systems. In engine tunes, EGR settings are commonly adjusted, if done correctly these are great, however, those done by less reputable sources can cause many

for any oil being ingested. Ultimately though, if your vehicle is suffering from excessive ingestion of oil, there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. The root cause of these issues is often related to engine condition or servicing factors, such as oil grade verses ambient operating temperature or not changing the oil frequently enough.

Diesel Particulate Filters One of the latest and perhaps most controversial, yet least understood forms of emission control systems,

Several factors can contribute to excess carbon build-up. A catch can can catch the oil blow-by.

issues. Similarly, if your engine is over-fuelling from a poor tune or chip system, this will of course cause greater amounts of ‘soot’ to be ingested through the EGR and intake system. By ‘blanking’ the EGR system, this results in an increase of NOX (Nitrogen Oxides) emissions, as well as causing potential damage to your engine and its components, particularly the EGR cooler through lack of air flow and increased engine wear from increased peak combustion temperatures. In some vehicles, there will also be a reduction in engine performance and fuel consumption, particularly at lower throttle opening positions. An alternative, that is much better, is the use of a good quality ‘Catch Can’, these can reduce oil and sludge build up in the EGR and intake system, whilst still maintaining full operation of the EGR system as it was intended. Many also have a dipstick that easily allows you to monitor the EGR system and watch 148

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the infamous DPF, or Diesel Particulate Filter. The DPF in your vehicle acts as a self-cleaning filter to remove heavy particulate matter, such as soot, from your exhaust emissions. The particulate matter collects within the DPF and is burnt off through one of three regeneration processes. These being: 1. Spontaneous Regeneration, which occurs whenever the DPF reaches 600°C or greater. 2. Dynamic Regeneration, which is triggered when the ECU (Engine Control Unit) determines a regeneration is necessary. This is quite often when you see a DPF light

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illuminate to indicate a regeneration is being performed. 3. Service Regeneration, which in some models can be manually initiated by your mechanic. Similar to the Catalytic Convertor there are no real losses in vehicle power and performance through most DPF systems. Vehicles fitted with DPF systems do require a special low ash oil to be used, preventing excessive buildup within the DPF. For the most part, DPF systems are trouble free, as long as the correct

enough periods at highway speeds or from the operator not allowing the vehicle to complete a ‘Dynamic Regeneration’ when the ECU has requested one. Often the latter is the case when the vehicle operator doesn’t fully understand the DPF system and its indicator lights. In addition to many user-created issues with DPF systems, it doesn’t help that many mechanics aren’t as experienced with the detection and rectification of DPF issues as you would like to Nissan Pathfinder DPF above and Navara catalytic convertor below.

imagine. I have seen firsthand many mis-diagnosed repairs and several DPF’s replaced that didn’t have to be. Again, it pays to use a reputable mechanical service centre that you trust and have a good relationship with. Inside the DPF it’s all filter.

oil is used and the driver understands the operational requirements and warning systems related to the DPF. It is extremely important that you read your owners’ manual and become familiar with what the various DPF indication lights mean. Just because there is a DPF light illuminated on the dash, it doesn’t mean that there is a fault. This is where many troubles and mis-diagnosed DPF issues start. In the vast majority of issues seen with DPF systems, they often come down to the vehicle not travelling for long 150

Western 4W Driver #108

Also, don’t always assume that the dealer’s service centre is fully versed with the advanced systems fitted to your vehicle. Much can be said about seeking a second opinion if you are not





completely satisfied with the diagnosis and information that you have been given. It really cannot be stressed enough that if your vehicle is fitted with a DPF

system, make sure that you are fully versed in its operation and requirements as per your owners’ manual; it could literally save you thousands.

Make sure you get out every couple of weeks for a minimum hour’s drive over 80 k/hr to give your DPF the chance to regenerate.


Whilst it’s mandatory to have these various emission control systems fitted to our modern vehicles, the reported problems and reduction in performance is often over dramatised. Yes, there are many ‘tuning’ and other options out there that can boost engine performance (which we’ve covered in depth in issue 106). But much of this lack of engine performance is due to manufacturers erring on the side of caution and longevity. Not, in most cases, entirely due to emissions control systems and restrictions. 152

Western 4W Driver #108

Without the implementation of these systems there would be much greater pressure to phase out fossil fuel powered vehicles, especially diesels. So by their use we all get to continue the use of our four wheel drives for many years to come. In the next issue, we will be looking at what risks are involved with bypassing these systems and answer any of your questions regarding emissions control systems. Have a question? Submit your question to the Editor, Western 4W Driver


There is a food trend that has been on the increase for a few years and although it seems large hairy lumberjack-looking men are the only ones who have perfected the process, it is something that has been around in frugal home kitchens forever.

am talking about the resurgence in all things slow cooked. Not just a couple of hours, I mean six to ten and sometimes even longer and of course if there is some smoking and a handcrafted, sensationally spiced, lovingly massaged meat rub applied then all the better. Slow cooking is what those of us who could only afford the cheaper cuts of meat have been doing to make luscious wholesome meals for our families for years and now it’s all the rage with the trendsetters. Along with slow cooking there is the pulled meats craze and the only way you can pull meat apart with two forks is to slowly cook the daylights out of it for hours. The absolute best meats for slow cooking are cuts like beef brisket, chuck steak, beef shin, beef ribs, lamb shank, lamb shoulder, pork shoulder, pork belly, pork belly ribs. I think you can start seeing a trend here, all the stuff that used to cost peanuts and I think my 154

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Nana used to call scrag end. The recipe I will share with you is pulled pork rolls with caramelised apple and gravy, just the perfect winter warmer when you are camped up for a few days and want to try your hand at slow cooking. You will need any of the meats mentioned above or better yet go see your favourite butcher and get the lowdown on what they would recommend. How many people you intend to feed will determine the weight.

Keeping in mind of course that the meat will shrink considerably whilst cooking, start out allocating about 250g raw meat per person. It’s always better to have a bit left over for the next day for maybe a delicious lunch jaffle, than not enough. For the purpose of this exercise I am going to use a 1 kg piece of pork belly. Place the pork belly skin-side-up into a small-medium size cast iron camp oven and pour in enough water to submerge the meat but not cover the skin. There will need to be a constant supply of coals so that you can maintain a consistent cooking temperature of about 150-160 deg C for a minimum of two to three hours, maybe more if you choose a different type of meat. This is where I would recommend employing the services of a bag of heat beads or charcoal as they are far more consistent. With a little bit of shuffling about and removing of excess ash they will maintain their temperature for a minimum of two hours where unfortunately fire coals often won’t. Check on the progress of the cooking about every half hour, replenish the water if needed and make sure it is not cooking too fast or slow, oh it is a fine line. In the last half hour remove the lid and allow the water to reduce but not cook away altogether. Remove the pork belly and flip it skin side down onto a preparation surface then with two forks pull the meat off the skin and set aside in a warm place for later. The skin can now be crackled if you want by placing it on a tray skin side up, sprinkle with salt and cook at a high temperature in the camp oven for about 15 minutes. The water that is left over once the pork belly is cooked should be a lovely dark brown colour and will just need a little bit of cornflour to thicken and seasoning to taste to make a perfect gravy. Finely julienne an apple or two and sear in a hot pan with some butter until there is a bit of colour but still a bit



of crunch to accompany your meat. Finally, it’s time to construct your feast and you can use whatever type of rolls you like. Mine just happened to be home made. There is a recipe for stove top bread rolls in one of the back editions if you want to go the whole hog and make the lot. Serious kudos to you if you do. Place a generous amount of meat on your roll, then apple and finally gravy, season to taste and serve with a bib as it’s sure to get dribbled down the flanno. It might take a while for your feed to happen but I guarantee you will love the result. What I can’t promise however, is that you will become a bearded lumberjack-looking hipster. Enjoy. Western 4W Driver #108



Nick’s editorial last issue made mention of trouble with a catalytic converter on one of my recent desert trips, a trip that seemed plagued with problems. I’ve agreed to record this excruciating trip for him here.


y sixth visit to the Ernest Giles Range leading a convoy of six-vehicles in May this year turned out to be a 2,000km terror. Most of my mob have an extra set of wheels, split rims fitted with heavy cross-ply tyres, that we use for trips involving cross-country desert travel. One participant had problems with these wheels being so much out of balance that he failed to meet us at The Lakes Roadhouse on the morning of departure. Instead, he phoned to tell us he’d be stopping to get his wheels balanced in Midland and would catch


Western 4W Driver #108

us up. As we hoed into morning tea at Merredin, after a broken air con belt on my Troopie had been replaced, he phoned again to tell us that, after getting the wheels balanced, he’d reached Tammin where he’d broken an axle. He was heading back in front wheel drive to meet his mechanic who was bringing a replacement axle out. We heard from him again when we camped at Lake Goongarrie. A new axle had been fitted and he’d reached Coolgardie. He was waiting for us when we went through Menzies next morning. The youngest member of our group was piloting an

TRIBULATIONS by Ian Elliot (Mr. E.)

I now know dead spinifex can indicate boggy ground.

80 Series Landcruiser with tyres he’d borrowed from his stepdad’s shed. Unluckily, he’d picked a set of radials instead of the cross-plies that it had been assumed he’d take. Although they were the heaviest 14 ply radials you can get, I knew they’d be trouble as we’d tried them out previously and they were useless in the mulga. Sure enough, our junior member had his first flat just 2km from the Great Central Road when we headed bush. Immediately after that he found that his alternator had karked it. We had a conference that night on the wisdom of him continuing but, as one of our number was carrying

a spare battery that could be rigged to charge from his electrical system, we decided to carry on. The plan was for our alternatorless member to not use electrical items like his fridge and his aircon fan, and to swap batteries whenever his ran out of power.

Western 4W Driver #108


Although a pain, this worked reasonably well for the remainder of the trip. Next day I went down in a bog. The area looked no different from the surrounding country except for the spinifex being dead. I now know that this is an indication of flood waters lying there for a long time. The area had been a lake and was still very soft and

“You can’t get much of a charge up in low range second, so down I went again...”

wet underneath the dried crust. I was snatched out backwards before, like an idiot, I decided to try charging across the narrowest part. You can’t get up much of a charge in low range second, so down I went again, this time in the middle. Maxtrax were tried without success, so, after some discussion, two of our five remaining vehicles gingerly circumnavigated this area. One got bogged on the way around but the other got onto some firmlooking ground and hooked onto me with a double length of snatch strap. He took off and moved me about 2 metres before he too went down. So a third vehicle drove around, snatching 158

Western 4W Driver #108

his mate out on the way past. Disconnecting the snatch straps from my would-be rescuer and I, our new hope hooked onto said “rescuer” and moved him about 2 metres before going down himself. These “cookie cutter” cross-ply tyres are useless in boggy situations and, with three of us bogged, I didn’t want any more vehicles down. The last two both brought their vehicles around with great care. One of these, the one with a female driver, had wide Cooper Maxxi radials, not really suitable for crosscountry desert travel, but this lady and her hubby have travelled with me often and have had great success with them by bringing up the rear and sticking closely to the wheel tracks of leading vehicles. We noticed that her tyres weren’t breaking the surface at all so someone suggested joining about five


with yet another flat tyre. Two of his snatch straps together and getting her to have a go at snatching one of us out. tyres had the sidewalls torn open and were beyond repair, so he now had She did it easily. Then she snatched the no spares. It was difficult to see him next vehicle out, then me. What a relief. getting much further as we hadn’t even Very late that afternoon, the young reached the tough stuff at this stage. fella got his second stake for that day Another campfire conference was held and the group stopped to help with that night and I made repairs. Two of us went the decision that on ahead to see if the four of us with we could find a “The 80 Series cross ply tyres campsite before limped in with yet should each donate dark. It didn’t look one of our two promising. We were another flat tyre”. spares so that he driving in chest-high could be mounted spinifex hemmed in on cross plies. Due to between a sand dune the 80 Series having six stud wheels and mulga so thick and intertwined that while the rest of ours had five, our tyres it was impenetrable. I finally found a had to be removed from our rims and couple of tiny clearings in this tangle mounted on his rims. It was a solid and my companion did heroic work in morning’s work for our team of tyre clearing away enough spinifex so we fitters next day. could squeeze most of our vehicles in. A couple of days later, one of our The others arrived well after dark, lights number reported that his vehicle was blazing, after a difficult time following blowing smoke and losing power. our tracks. The 80 Series limped in


Western 4W Driver #107

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There was more to come in the thick mulga of the Ernest Giles Range.

This forced an early camp and yet another campfire conference with sat-phone calls to various mechanics of our acquaintance. The consensus appeared to be exhaust blockage so, before we towed the vehicle back to Laverton to be trucked down to Perth, it was threatened to hacksaw through the exhaust pipe if necessary next morning. As it turned out, the hacksaw wasn’t required because the catalytic converter unbolted easily and a somewhat noisier vehicle was miraculously restored to full power. Embroiled in thick mulga and


Western 4W Driver #108

scrub on top of the Ernest Giles Range for a few days brought more damage. Two vehicles ended up with smashed snorkels and I ripped a protective sleeve off my awning, tore out speedo and cruise control wiring underneath and smashed a headlight. Heading for our last camp of the trip, the 80 Series hit a stick that tore out the RH mudguard lining and smashed the rear view mirror. Something of a horror trip, that one.

Looking After Fish


ots of four-wheel driving folk who love going bush also enjoy a fish. Whether that be sitting on the bank of some shady river soaking a bait quietly and enjoying the surrounds right through to the adrenaline rushing, pursuit of sport and big game fishing, it’s all about getting out there, as they say. Over the many years since recreational angling gained in popularity as a pastime there have obviously been many changes and a big part of that in more recent years has been the whole debate about fishing and the so called rights and wrongs of what we’re doing when it comes to the sport. Actually claiming that it’s a sport is in itself controversial but the big issue surrounds whether what we’re doing is cruel or inhumane as an activity. Clearly the debate has strengthened in recent decades as environmentalists and conservation groups of varying intensity have raised the bar in the arguments against sports fishing, or the merits of catch and release and even in some cases against any form of recreational fishing in the wild, itself. That debate then takes in aspects such as the old “do fish feel pain?” and “do fish survive after capture if released?” and all manner of related aspects. It’s not the purpose of this old salt in a forum such as this to score political or debating points, nor even justify why I or any other angler does what we do but none-the-less I have a particular view and I’m fortunate that I can share it here. (If the Ed is not too razor-like with his editorial clipping.) Essentially, whatever the specific style or passion within recreational fishing, its done for fun. It gives pleasure. Enjoyment. It’s a challenge and takes in the appreciation of the outdoors and the natural environment. It involves physical exercise, planning and the pursuit of a

positive outcome and hopefully some success. As fisher folk we certainly enjoy fishing for different reasons but ultimately it also dictates how we go about it. There was a time when pursuing fish as a food source was far more important than the sporting aspect, even

Releasing a fish while floating boat side is good practice.

for recreational anglers. These days it is very much a case of individual preference. I know of some passionate fishos who release every fish they catch, either because they hate eating any type of fish or they simply don’t believe in keeping fish at all. For them, it really is the passion of fishing and the sport involved. I also know at the other end of the spectrum there are anglers nowadays will only go fishing to target Western 4W Driver #108


a specific species that they intend to keep and consume. Certainly, the days of indiscriminate catch anything and everything type fishing without much regard for undue harm to the fish being caught is more than ever a thing of the past. It’s far more typical for all recreational anglers now to have a more cautious and careful approach to catching, handling and releasing fish. In fact, even fishing rules and laws are now in place to support the more humane handling and release of fish to negate the practice of indiscriminate killing of fish. One of the best examples is our Release Weight laws that stipulate that all boats should carry a suitable release weight that enables anglers to send demersal fish such as dhufish back down to the bottom where they can adjust to the pressure conditions before the mechanism releases the fish. This is to This big 170 kilo blue marlin is the only combat the effect on fish that are caught billfish ever kept by the author. It was at the request of the big Tongan deckie Ki in deep water and brought to the surface and fed about 20 families. too quickly, in the process suffering from barotrauma. Often these fish cannot angling experience and everything about adjust their swim bladder and when it at the same time. Sport and game released float around on the surface fishing opportunities when they arise, because they can’t dive back down to I treat differently and their original depths. set up with gear and The alternative is an approach that is “.. Personally I’m specially designed aimed at minimum needles like a comfortable in my impact on the fish syringe that pierce fishing skin with the knowing that it will the swim bladder released. allowing the trapped balance and way in be To start with, ultraair out and the fish to swim back down which I like to pursue light sports fishing normally. And tests using very light lines my passion.” have shown it does for big fish is slowly work effectively. dying out. It tires fish Others may disapprove over long periods of but personally I’m comfortable in my time in battle to the point where often fishing skin with the balance and way they’re not successfully revived. I gave in which I like to pursue my passion. In up fishing with light lines long ago short, it involves a few things that are just unless I’m catching whiting or small fare part of my normal practice these days. from the beach. The point being that To begin with, my fishing these days has the humane way to catch fish but still become more oriented towards targeting enjoy is to get them in quickly, that way fish for the plate, whilst enjoying the they can be released in good shape if 164

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they’re not intended to be kept. Modern one hand and under the stomach with braid line or gelspun lines are finer in the other. Essentially the focus should be diameter than nylon monofilament of the on keeping the handling to a minimum if same breaking strain whilst being much you’re going to release it. Even if it does more sensitive. At the terminal end I use need to be laid down to remove hooks circle hooks when bottom fishing. Long or lures it should be on a wet towel or the domain of professional demersal the like. This helps to retain the layer of fishermen, the tuna circle style hook has protective slime that all fish have over an ingenious and almost flawless way their scales and exterior that protects of hooking the fish in the hinge corner against infection. of the fish’s bony jaw section, the spot For those intended for the plate and that causes the least physical damage, not release, it’s about being humane if any, to the fish. Unhooking is also and dispatching the fish quickly and relatively easy and therefore if small effectively, without letting the fish suffer or unwanted species are an incidental or effectively suffocate out of water. Big catch they can be released with care and fish with nasty teeth (like big mackerel) relatively unaffected. With soft plastic lure should be subdued with one or two single hooks or even trolling lure treble clouts from a club before bleeding. With hooks, a good approach used by many some practice the best method is to these days is to crush the barb Iki Jime (or spike) the fish in on the hook. This is far less the brain. This immediately damaging to the hooked fish paralyses and dispatches and again makes release easy the fish and does not require and straight forward. Provided bleeding because the blood is steady pressure is kept on the retained in the spine and gut line in the retrieve it’s unusual organs of the fish. And it’s the for fish to throw the hook. best method for ensuring the Tackle and tactics aside in best eating quality of the fish. terms of catching the fish, An old Phillips screwdriver there’s a lot to be said for sharpened and honed to a fine handling the fish correctly needle point makes a perfect, too. Fish that are intended cheap Iki Jime spike. for release need to be lifted It also should be said that carefully or netted when professional and recreational brought into the boat. If it’s anglers alike are now subject from shore, using the wash to to far more scrutiny and gently strand the fish on the refinement in their practices Big fish with beach is better than dragging to ensure fish are treated dangerous teeth it for metres across the sand. carefully and humanely as require careful Releasing a fish while it’s part of the catch. Clearly handling and the still floating at the side of there have been significant right tools. the boat with most of its changes to allowable body weight supported by catch rates, protection of the water makes good sense if it’s safe sustainable stocks and generally more to do so. (Thrashing lively fish with lure conservation oriented approaches to hooks flailing about wildly require a lot of fishing. Recreational anglers especially caution, along with those with big teeth) are taking a far more responsible Specialist lip-grip style release tools are approach to looking after our fish and now very popular for lifting fish and hopefully, the ongoing future of this supporting them by the bottom jaw with fantastic pastime. 166

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You will have all heard by now, probably more than once, that I was somewhat of a camping virgin when I met the man of my dreams. As it happened, the vehicle of Nick’s dreams, ie the cruiser, was also just taking shape when I came along so in a way we both started this camping life together as blank canvases (I was the more blank if I’m brutally honest).

By Susie Underwood.


o as I was succumbing to Nick’s charms I was also watching the construction and set up of the canopy. Nick of course had everything mapped out while I just nodded and smiled (blankly). My test of fire was my first camping experience and I spent most of that weekend wandering around the cruiser, asking

Our kitchen where the parties happen. On this trip, home was the mouth of the Pallinup River.

Western 4W Driver #108


Nick where things were kept, where I should put them away and trying to light the gas stove. As I’m not one to enjoy feeling helpless, I slowly but surely carved a role for myself and got a lot more familiar with the set up and my place in it. My fiefdom now stretches from the passenger seat, down the left hand side (fridges and pantry drawer), across the back (kitchen) and halfway up the right hand side (walk in robe), tables and chairs. The Princess Perch. Wool Every bit of space in the insulated drink bottle & holder cab is utilised. Nick’s fiefdom is the keeps drink cold for ages. tool drawer, the tent and all the other bits I can’t reach. space in the cab, there being nowhere We have had many interesting to stash a handbag or other necessities discussions in the cab, lots of laughs of life. For the most part I have my feet and quite a few thrills and spills. I (very propped up on my bag, whatever knitting occasionally) complain about the lack of project I have on hand and, when we’re somewhere scenic, usually about three cameras. Nick has glued a bag to the front dash which is very handy for my camera, but there is now also the gopro, the waterproof camera, the video camera, my phone and Nick’s larger camera which for quick access is usually parked in my lap. Still, it’s better to have too much to do than not enough as my old Granny used to say. A new addition to our set up is my pissoir. As I’ve got older I’ve discovered I have Knees and they don’t like me doing wees on trees any more. Nick has designed a nifty little tent which attaches to the side of the car, contains a toilet and also a vanity mirror (the wing mirror) and is a nice and private place to powder one’s nose and also a much more attractive option when nipping out in the middle of a freezing night for a quick No. 1. My pissoir slash shower tent.


Western 4W Driver #108

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The comfort of home with a wooden seat.

really well, the fridge and freezer are easy to get at and the vegie box keeps the fruit and vegies fresh and crisp(ish). It’s funny how your standards lower when you’re out in the bush, you’re happy to just cut the festy bits off the pumpkin and wash up in 2 cm of murky water

Vegie box above drawer works a treat. Good times roll behind RH fridge is just out of reach (but not for my personal barman).

On the subject of privacy and also Knees, we have now have a couple of side walls attached to the annex which roll down and provide the luxury of getting dressed standing up (much easier on the Knees), but also makes a space big enough for the table so we can retreat and eat in there when the flies are bad. You can also mutter something vague about tidying up the pantry drawer and grab a sneaky afternoon nap in privacy. We are like a well-oiled machine when we get into camp. Once the tent is up (Nick’s job), I get the kitchen out and get set up for the night. What is interesting about our home away from home is that not only is the scenery variable, so is the height of the kitchen. Sometimes the car is just the right height, and sometimes it just isn’t. To that end, I have a height adjuster I can stand on to reach the comestibles, although the Good Times Roll (with its wine-flavoured liquid contents) is always tantalisingly beyond reach. The pantry side of the car works

Just love our bush kitchen.

(well I am anyway). I just love our bush kitchen, even if I have to stand on the height adjuster to turn out a meal and the Travel Buddy oven is just great for roasts and even the odd fruit cake. Around the other side is my walk in robe, although actually it’s a drop out robe, especially Western 4W Driver #108


Sponge keeps cups and glasses in place. There’s even room for my tea pot. Roll down door hides the lot. Travel buddy oven will cook a roast or a cake - while we drive.

if the height adjuster is being used elsewhere. The tool drawer is on this side also, but who’s interested in tools? Also on this side is a space for our chairs and table, very handy to slide out and set up and thankfully low enough for me to always be within easy reach. I have just made us a couple of faux sheepskin chair

covers which are the epitome of fluffy luxury on a cold evening. On the top of course is the tent. I’m not sure if I would have loved this camping life so much if we were camping on the ground. Nick had an epiphany before our recent Red Centre jaunt and has lined the tent with insulating material, you know that silver stuff that space blankets are made out of. It stops that annoying condensation you get when it’s really cold, so no more drops of freezing water on your face and other exposed bits of flesh. It kept us very warm in the freezing desert, but does make you feel a little like a rotisserie chicken. The other bonus about being up high is the view. This last The walk-in robe looks chaotic but we know where most stuff is. Big space is for chairs, smaller space for table. List on LH side reminds us where permanent but littleused stuff is.


Western 4W Driver #108

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Our rooftop is very cosy and no, you can’t see inside. Awning wall behind me keeps the nosey parkers out.

weekend we were down at the mouth of the Pallinup River, and I had exclusive water views, pelicans gliding past on the river and the sound of waves crashing on the dunes. Just heavenly. All in all, our home away from home works really well for both of us. It has everything we need to live comfortably on and off the road for as long as we want. Though I would give my eyeteeth for a back seat for my handbag.


Western 4W Driver #108

remophila means ‘desert lover’ and the plants in this group certainly live up to their name. All 250-odd species only grow naturally in the drier regions of continental Australia – there are no Tasmanian members and a record from New Zealand is believed to be a recent arrival. About 230 of these are found in Western Australia. Of these, 80% only occur in our State, and there are several ‘hotspots’for example, more than 80 species have been recorded in the Shire of Meekatharra alone. Most Eremophilas are shrubs, but there are some trees (e.g. E. bignoniiflora in the Kimberley and E. linearis near Wiluna). Prostrate forms often root from the stem or form suckers. Like many plants of arid regions, their leaves are often small and tough, and covered in a layer of hairs, all of which reduce water loss. Eremophilas, though, have taken the hair-thing to the extreme – up to 13 different kinds of hairs have

LOVER been observed, some of which have little glands on the tip that secrete sticky materials. Many species also produce resin from warty bumps (called ‘tubercles’) on their stems and leaves, which can develop a shiny surface. Coming across a plant in full flower can be a real outback surprise: their bright colours (lilac, red, yellow) and relatively large size seem to be at odds with the surrounding environment. The petals usually form a two-lipped tube, whose shape, length and petal arrangement are closely related to the method of pollination. Bird-pollinated species often have the bottom petal curling downwards and the stamens poking out to bop the avian visitor on the head while it collects nectar. In contrast, insect-pollinated forms have two large petals on the lower side, forming a landing platform, and the stamens are hidden away in the tube formed by the other petals – making sure that foragers have to enter the flower and be coated in the process. Some Eremophilas have spots on the petals. Common names of species include Emu Bush, possibly due to the birds consuming the fruits, and poverty bushes, in reference to the poor conditions in which they grow. Eremophilas have a wide range of applications in traditional medicine, especially species with aromatic resins. Several are known to be toxic if consumed by stock. To confirm the pollination skills of the Eremophila, sniff one with a big bottom

Popular Botanics with Doctor Kris

petal and you should get a stamen bop on the nose - provided your hooter is long and thin. If you’d rather just look, check out DBCA’s website.

Western 4W Driver #108


Call to Action You know what it’s like out there. Communication is everything and UHF is what keeps us connected in the bush. From convoy comms to recovery operations and spotters checking out the best way forward, we can’t do without our UHF. Which brings us to Oricom International’s new flagship handheld UHF CB radio. The Ultra550 is a 5-Watt UHF CB Radio with a diecast chassis and IP67 water and dust resistance. What’s IP67? Good question. Well, the I is for Ingress, the P for Protection, the first number defines what it protects the device from and 6 is dust. The second number (7) is protection against temporary immersion. It also has one of the largest backlit LCD displays, it’s compact and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. The radio uses one of the highest capacity batteries and features switchable RF power (5Watt - 1 Watt), three instant channel buttons, fast charge technology, triple watch, audio scrambler, signal monitoring and a monitor lock function. Oricom says it also has the ‘ultimate in audio clarity,’ (but will it give you more bang than Bang and Olufsen?). All the controls are at your fingertips and you can use it with a range of handheld radio accessories, all with the unique Oricom lock screw connector. 176

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GEAR TO There’s a throat mic, heavy duty speaker mic, earbud speaker and a compact speaker with inline mic, so your Ultra550 can be much more than just a radio. It comes with a three-year warranty and the Oricom Support Centre ensures you will be looked after.

Power Cooking SMART touch, slimline - mmm, sounds like something special. And so it is. But it has nothing to do with the fantasy forming in your mind. Rather, it’s to do with your stomach, which probably is not of the slimline variety. The Smart Touch Induction Cooktop is from Ranger Outdoors, and is akin to the classy glass kitchen cooktops you see on Harvey Norman TV ads. Except that those are built into swanky

GO CAMPING kitchens, while this one is a little portable fella that costs less than $200. It’s a compact, attractive flat device that makes campfires, gas bottles and all that jazz obsolete because it can have you enjoying your meal way before Joe has even got his fire lit. Induction cooking is much faster than gas or any other method and provides safe, energy-efficient heat. The Ranger guys say induction heat comes from magnetic energy, where power is engaged when a field is established between your cooking vessel and the cook top surface. There is no open flame or red hot coil, and it shuts down automatically within 30 seconds of a pot being removed from the glasstop. There are three power levels settings and a boost function and temperature settings range from 60º to 200ºC in its LCD display. Additional settings include a timer and a child-lock function. It weighs just 1.5kg and is the modern and ideal way of having a quick barbecue, a slow cook or you can turn up the heat for a wok dish. All you need is a plug-in power source, which you’ve probably already fitted to your fourbie, or a generator, and within seconds of putting that beef pie on the Smart Touch you’re on your way to expanding your once slim line. Get yours from Ranger Outdoors, Albany Highway Bentley or go to their website for more detail.

Hema now with WA Maps THERE’S something about the big open spaces of Western Australia that awakens the wanderlust in a lot of people, sometimes it goes accompanied by an adventurous streak that may, or not, include the belief that vast riches lay beneath the ancient terrain. On the other hand, maybe you just want to escape the noise of the city and go out to give your mind a chance to slip into neutral. Or to paint a picture of the terrain’s unique colours. Or see what a dingo or a perenti looks like. Where to go, what to do, how to get back?

Relax: The WA Government Topographic map set is now available for the Hema HX-1 Navigator. Covering the vast state at various scales ranging from 1:100,000 to 1:25,000, the WA Topo map has geographic features such as mine sites and some superseded data layers – that are not included in the Hema Explorer Map. Western 4W Driver #108


The disparity in data types can make the WA Topo a useful navigation source for different kinds of recreational travellers. Hema’s mapping covers all of Australia in a seamless multi-scale map that ranges from a scale of 1:18million to an incredibly detailed scale of 1:10,000. It shows not only roads and places, but also Hema’s entire database of 4WD tracks and unsealed roads, plus topographic info to make map-reading immersive and navigation simple: contour lines, relief shading, landforms, hydrographic networks, unique geographical features and more. Combined with Hema’s exclusive collection of pinpointed campsites, rest areas, attractions, historical places and other points of interest, means the HX-1 is exactly what you need for planning, navigating and sharing all your travels as you meander throughout Australia.

Hi Lux or Low LIGHT bars, contrary to what one might hear in selected neighbourhoods, are not places where they serve low carbohydrate ales. The less inebriated, and especially those who do a lot of travelling after sunset, and those who partake of night rally driving, will know the term refers to a strip of light emitting diodes which, when switched on, turn night into day.


Western 4W Driver #108

Whoa! Dimmable light bars.

Well, just about. The vast increase in light, and therefore visibility, allow drivers to avoid kangaroos, farm gates, trees and miscellaneous other stuff that might have an influence on their path of travel. Light bars look a bit like soundbars, and among the best of them are those from Roadvision. Roadvision make a whole range of light bars, with various beam patterns so you can see what’s up front up to half a klick ahead. But they’re not for the urban area, where you’ll attract lights of a different kind (blue ones) if you switch ‘em on while cruising around the city and suburbs. Now Roadvision has come up with an LED dimmer control switch so you can adjust the light output from 50 to 100per cent. That way you can match

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your lights to the prevailing conditions and they also have some software to help protect the human eye from the momentary blinding that comes with extreme lighting changes. The switch will work on all Roadvision next Generation LED light bars, and they’re easy to fit with no complex wiring. They’re ADR-compliant and it’s just a matter of plug and play - and your path ahead will be clear as day. Go to for your nearest retailer.

Power Anywhere THERE you are by the seaside with not a soul in sight and you’re trying to entice a fish to have a bite of the bit of Mars bar on the hook when over the horizon looms a scurvy vessel loaded with invaders, more than 1100 of them, some carrying AK47s and said vessel is making for the shallows just 500m 180

Western 4W Driver #108

from where you are not landing any fish. So as a True Blue Oz you go into action, grab your Samsung/iPhone/ Huwai to call the nearest authorities. But you can’t, because le battery is flat and you’ve naturally forgotten to bring along the charger or a spare battery. Don’t you wish you had a Sirix Solar Power Bank? The green tablet with its 5000mAh liPolymer battery would have charged your Smartphone, iPod or digital camera in a flash. You’d have been a national hero, with your picture on all the TV stations and newspapers, even on the cover of Rolling Stone. With the Sirix you’re assured of power where and whenever you need it. It has an ‘intelligent’ chip, supports an overcharge, discharge, overload and short circuit protection and can be fully charged under sunlight for up to 13 hours. What’s more is that it will work even if you’re the victim of an earthquake. Laugh not! One hit Exmouth in 1906, Kalgoorlie in 1917, Yallingup in 1946 and Meckering in 1968, plus a few others. The Sirix has a water resistant, quakeproof case so you can be sure it will still do the job should the next quake hit just where you are standing. If you’re a hiker, you can hang it off your backpack to suck up the sunshine and charge on the move, and since it has dual built-in USB outputs, you can recharge your mobile phone at the same time. Plus there’s an LED light and it comes with iPhone 4/5/6 and micro USB cables as well as a carabiner. Better get one. You might well save Australia from invasion. Pop on down to Camera Electronic in Stirling or Murray Street or hit their website to get yours.

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Bum Warmers NEW from Helinox, the world leaders in lightweight outdoor adventure equipment, is an item designed to make winter weather bit more bearable. The company makes a range of light, strong and portable chairs - about 10 of them. They’re super comfy, but a chilly wind, like those biting breezes you find on Cradle Mountain in snow weather, can result in chilblains or frostbite on certain part of the anatomy.

of the chair’s four ‘legs’ and are much easier to clean than a groundsheet. All Helinox goods come with a fiveyear warranty and a ‘love or return it’ satisfaction guarantee. Helinox does not have traditional retail outlets – the company sells directly via its website and all orders in Australia are sent free by Express Post.


So now there’s a new device, cannily called a Seat Warmer, which fits neatly over the existing seat on Chair Zero, Ground Chair, Chair One and Swivel Chair. It’s filled with duck feathers, comes with a carry bag, weighs 525 grams and as the name suggests, keeps your back and bum warm on chilly nights around the campfire. The other new item is a set of what look like carpet bowls - but they’re removable ball feet for your Chairs Zero, One or Two. An alternative to a ground sheet in muddy conditions, the balls fit on each 182

Western 4W Driver #108


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Shooting Old Sol


hooting into the sun, oh how I love it! This shot here, sent in by Mark Bailey is an example of how to do it right. I’ve long thought that the ability to take a fairly mundane scene and photograph it such that it is transformed into something magic thanks to creative lighting is the mark of a great image. Let’s break this one down. Firstly when shooting into the sun your biggest headache is of course going to be exposure. You are going to get over exposure, you’re shooting into the sun for goodness’ sake, but the key is to manage what areas are over exposed and those that are under. Here Mark has nailed what I consider to be the important focal point, the waves. It would have been so easy to lose definition in the ocean thanks to over exposure and glare, but he has managed to find just

the right exposure. The clouds are spot on while the cliff line in the background is nicely silhouetted, as I said, perfectly exposed. Then there is the tricky exercise of correct focal point. Not such an issue here for Mark given the depth of the image but a good tip to remember when shooting into the sun is that your camera’s auto focus will struggle, so now is the time to go manual. Auto focus will “hunt”, that is it will have a lot of trouble locking onto something to focus on. By overriding this and focusing yourself, it is a much simpler exercise. Of course, as Mark has done here, you can also raise your aperture right up so you have plenty of leeway (Mark shot at a whopping f20). The composition here also is spot on. I constantly sound like a broken record talking about the importance of composition in photography, but with good reason. It can make or break an image. Here Mark has nailed my old

Smooth move Phone Filming A GIMBAL was first described over 2000 years ago in the third century BC by Philo, of Byzantium. Basically, it’s a pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object about a single axis, such as on a ship, where the gyroscopes, compasses, stoves, and even drink holders use gimbals to keep them upright despite the ship’s pitching and rolling. Which brings us to the black Smooth-4 Smartphone Stabilizer from Zhiyun-Tech. It’s designed to provide creative you with cine-style functions so you can use your mobile phones to make exceptional videos. If you use it with the free ZY Play app, the control panel lets Android and iOS users control both gimbal and smartphone camera functions such as focus, zoom, time-lapse, and still photo settings. It also has a Vertigo function which emulates the perspective-shifting, dolly/zoom effect employed by many of the best filmmakers. The Smooth-4 also has a larger focus/ zoom wheel, a PhoneGo mode for quickly grabbing the action, multiple time-lapse functions, and object tracking. It could help you make a box office hit with nothing more than your mobile phone. Get into Camera Electronic for your smooth move phone filming. 184

Western 4W Driver #108








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friend, the rule of thirds. Look at that horizon line, right down the bottom third where it belongs, then the star of the show, the sun, sits proudly in the top two thirds with those magnificent rays doing their thing. There is no way this would have worked anywhere near as well had the composition been off. Let’s talk about those sun flares for a second. See it’s been my experience that the more expensive your lens, the harder it is to get that long, star-like flare.


Graham Cahill

There are several technical reasons for this, all to do with glass quality and aperture and how many goblins were used to make the lens, but for the most part any old lens will give solid results. Also the wider the lens, often the better the result will be. The real key is time of day! Middle of the day when the sun is high, flare will not only be harder to get but the sun won’t be in a position to place the flare into your image as it will be overhead. Late afternoon is the go. When the sun is down nice and close to the horizon, that’s when you will nail those long streaks of light. Lastly, keep in mind this is not an exact science, results will vary and its often times the surprise shots that will produce the goods. Don’t be afraid to point your camera directly into the light and if all the stars align, there’s a good chance you could take an average scene and by slashing it with sun flares, transform it into something magical, just as Mark has done here.

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Western 4W Driver #108


Fancy a Bit of Variety?


f you’ve always wanted to take your 4WD to some of Australia’s most beautiful places, all in the name of charity, then join the Variety WA 4WD

Adventure and you won’t go alone. From May 26 – June 1 2019, the Variety WA 4WD Adventure will be heading back to the West Kimberley and treating participants to one of the best 4x4 experiences on offer. Rugged ranges, dramatic gorges and isolated coastlines – what better way to see one of Australia’s most spectacular regions than by 4WD, and all for a great cause. The 7-day adventure gives both experienced and non-experienced 4W Drivers the chance to enjoy the great outdoors the Variety way - with great mates, party-filled nights and of course, raising money for kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. The event is supported by a team of staff and officials, boasting over 50 years’ experience on Variety motoring events. Medical, radio communications, mechanical assistance and a scout to check the tracks are all there to ensure 186

Western 4W Driver #108

that you are safe. But most importantly they are there to make sure you have fun! Variety Event Coordinator, Bill says, “We’ve always gone above and beyond to make this event special but I can already tell you, with locations like Broome and Cape Leveque on the list, 2019 is going to be better than ever. The Variety 4WD Adventure is the perfect balance of classic four-wheel-driving, adventure, mouth-watering food and great entertainment. But most importantly for the participants, the greatest reward of all is knowing that their week on remote tracks is making a difference to the lives of WA kids

in need.” You won’t want to miss out on this experience of a lifetime. To find out more information or to register head to

Making a good thing Greater


remier Events, the mob putting the 4WD and Adventure Show together for November have got their heads together and come up with a few changes to content and format that’s bound to get an enthusiastic response from show goers. Chief among them a reconfigured layout that combines the Engel stage with the Aquatank

whole new section will be dedicated to Adventure Moto, (short for Adventure Motorbikes) a form of exploring and camping on two wheels that is fast gaining in popularity. Also on show will be an Earth Cruiser from Queensland

and the Patriot 6WD Megatourer - a $400G dual-cab Land Cruiser with more fruit than Donnybrook. Yep, there’s plenty to see at this years show including the latest crop of vehicles, campers and caravans and of course Jo Clews with her famous camp oven cooking and our Fourby Forum with our usual spread of informative entertainment. Show dates are Friday 9th


Fishing stage so you’ll be hook, line and sinkered as new show ambassador, Mark LeCras swaps his footy boots for reef walkers to regale you with his other passion - fishing. Along with Mark and M.C. Karl Langdon, your favourite 4WD heroes like Graham Cahill, Jase Andrews, Jillaroo Jess, Emma George and Ronny Dahl will all be there armed with anecdotes from their latest adventures. Back on the layout, a

- Sunday 11th November at McCallum Park South Perth. For more go to or follow them on Facebook/Instagram.

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Genie Exhausts....................................149 Pacemaker............................................. 67 4WD ACCESSORIES AFN 4x4............................................... 56 ARB................................................1, 151 Clearview Accessories............................ 98 Goldfields Offroad................................. 28 iDrive Australia.................................... 129 Ironman 4x4..........................21, 33, 47, 63 Jaram roof racks..................................... 93 Line-X Ute Liners................................. 64 Mandurah 4x4....................................... 24 Maxtrax............................................... 159 Medicar............................................... 124 Midland 4WD Centre........................... 38 Modern Motor Trimmers...................... 51

DIRECTORY products and services in Western 4w Driver

MSA 4x4 Accessories............................8-9 Off Road Equipment ........................OBC Piranha Off Road Products.................... 73 Rhino Linings..................................... 173 Solarscreen.......................................... 117 Supafit Seat Covers.............................. 161 Terrain Tamer........................................ 22 TyrePliers............................................ 162 West Coast 4WD Centre..................... 108

Isuzu Ute............................................. 110 Kalamunda Toyota ................................. 90 Mazda................................................. 145 Mitsubishi.............................................. 48 Nuford.................................................. 97 Subaru................................................. 135 Toyota ............................................... IBC


Midland 4WD Centre............................ 38

Hema.................................................... 27

Steinbauer........................................... 153


Polaris................................................... 37

Turbo Tech............................................ 54



Hema.................................................... 27

Camera Electronic................................ 183



Armadale 4WD Service Centre........... 182 Fremantle Fuel Injection ..................... 181 Gearing Dynamics............................... 120 Robson Brothers ................................ 106 Terrain Tamer.......... ...............................22 Toodyay Auto...................................... 126 Turbo Tech............................................ 54 United Fuel Injection.......................... 105 METAL DETECTORS Reeds Prospecting Supplies.................. 123 MOTOR VEHICLES DVG Maddington Isuzu Ute.................. 15 DVG Melville Jeep............................... 165 Hyundai................................................ 89

Redarc.................................................. 75 SUSPENSION

ARB.................................................... 151 Ironman 4x4........................................... 21 Wilkinson Suspension............................. 34 TOOLS & MACHINERY Hare and Forbes Machinery House...... 179 TRAINING & TOURS Campfire Escapes................................. 169 Eureka 4WD Training ......................... 143 TYRES AND WHEELS Associated Tyre & Wheel...................... 136 Cooper Tires.......................................... 42 Western 4W Driver #108


Proudly sponsored by

Bog Ramp While staying at Cape Range national park recently I witnessed numerous” MISHAPS” on the designated boat ramp.....BOG ramp would be a more apt description. The 40 degree incline, loose gravel at the top and wet loose sand at the drop off point all led to the inevitable scenario which attracted lots of attention from onlookers. Maxtrax placed at every wheel would have provided a short “road” to assist in extraction even though it might have taken a few goes .... with a minimum of fuss! But boys will be boys so out came the snatchems, winches, hand shovels and lots of advice....time required appeared unimportant. John Terhoeve

How you get stuck is your business. How you get out is ours. Now you can take the easy way out with Maxtrax. Get your pic in to win this great prize or, if you can’t wait, go to to learn more.

Hey John, we like the futile ‘clearing behind the back wheel against the tide’ effort. At least with a new set of Maxtrax noone will see you sink to similar depths.

KEEP ‘EM COMING FOLKS. All you need is a potentially funny situation, a good sense of humour and,of course, your camera. Send your silly snap to: 192

Western 4W Driver #108

Silly Snaps C/- Western 4.W. Driver P O Box 510 Kalamunda WA 6926 or email:





The latest generation of HiLux models are built to be stronger and more capable than ever. But that’s not what makes them Unbreakable. New HiLux Rogue, Rugged X and Rugged have been developed to awaken something deeper. An inner strength. An Unbreakable spirit. And if that spirit is within you, the strength of the HiLux can empower you to do anything.


Expl-ORE The Great Outdoors! WITH EVERYTHING YOUR 4WD NEEDS! Off Road Equipment (ORE) has the largest range of quality 4WD equipment and accessories in WA, including the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading brands. Our massive product range includes camper trailers, rooftop tents and a comprehensive selection of 4WD accessories (including lights, tanks, racks, fridges and suspension kits).

OFF ROAD EQUIPMENT 61 McCoy St MYAREE WA 6154 Ph: (08) 9317 2344 Fax: (08) 9317 2448



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Profile for Western 4W Driver

Western 4W Driver edition #108  

Toyota's Hilux Rugged X. Red Heart Icons. Len's Legacy. Kimberley Whirlwind Tour. Choosing a battery. The Ed picks an airbox. Ranger with th...

Western 4W Driver edition #108  

Toyota's Hilux Rugged X. Red Heart Icons. Len's Legacy. Kimberley Whirlwind Tour. Choosing a battery. The Ed picks an airbox. Ranger with th...