What today is known as Googs Track was started in 1955 when some station owners set about cutting a track from Malbooma, SA south through the scrub, aiming for Ceduna’s Port Thevenard. They got as far as what is known today as Drum Camp, before they abandoned construction.
John (Goog) and Jenny Denton established a property at Lone Oak (originally 5800 acres of scrub) just north of the dog fence with thick bush and sandhills extending north. While making improvements to the property Goog constantly contemplated what was out there to the north.
In 1973, he started to make Googs Track – north from the farm towards the railway at Tarcoola.
Goog and his wife and children, along with Jenny’s brother Denis Beattie, started clearing a track through the scrub with a Fordson tractor fitted with a blade, backed up by a two-wheel drive Toyota ute. Realising that more power was needed, the tractor was replaced by an Allis Chalmers HD14 bulldozer. They worked on the road every weekend for 18 months, to as far as what is now the turnoff to Googs Lake – a salt lake about 55 kilometres from their Lone Oak property. The Dentons built a shack here to serve as a base for the next leg of the track construction.
A grader was added to the fleet in early 1976. Three years after construction began, Googs Track was cleared as far as the existing track to Drum Camp in August 1976.
The track starts about 30 kilometres north of Ceduna and heads north for 170 kilometres over about 370 sand ridges to near Malbooma on the Trans Australia Railway.
Since the Track was completed it has achieved its own identity among the iconic tracks of Australia. It is often compared to a crossing of the Simpson Desert. In reality, it is not that difficult.
© Kim Epton 2018-2022
360 words, three photographs.
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