The Hay River Track and Batton Hill

Bookie and Jol

Bookie and Jol

Lake Caroline after rain, on the southern end of the Hay River track.

Lake Caroline after rain, on the southern end of the Hay River track.

Dingo Well

Dingo Well

For ages Jol had been aware that most tourists venture west of Alice Springs and not east.  He knew there was vast areas of interesting country east and east north east of Alice Springs.

In May 1999 Jol tackled that inaccessible country out east of Alice Springs.  With four 4WD’s and a quad bike the party pioneered a track along the Hay River from Jervois to Poeppels Corner in The Simpson Desert. This part of the NT hadn’t been used or visited for years.  Jol’s goal was Camp 15 of Cecil Madigan’s 1939 expedition.  As a result of Jol’s painstaking research of Madigan’s diaries he had worked out a GPS position for Camp 15. After 4 days of bush bashing coveringmore than 200 km they reached the Madigan Line Track.  They then followed it to Camp 16 and then  Poeppels Corner. Seeing other vehicles at Poeppels Corner was a bit of a shock, funny what solitude in the desert can do.

This was the start of an alliance between Lindsay Bookie and his family the Traditional Aboriginal owners of the land at the northern end of what has now become knows as the Hay River Track.  Lindsay and Jol eventually managed to secure all the necessary approvals and funding to establish Batton Hill Bush Camp which provides southerners not only a new access route north from the northern Simpson Desert towards Alice Springs but tours in the vicinity of Batton Hill with the land’s Traditional Owners.  Jol handles the bookings for Batton Hill and helps to keep it viable. 250 vehicles passed through Batton Hill in 2015.  Lindsay Bookie passed away in 2014 but his Family maintain his vision of the remote Batton Hill Camp.

This year with help from Darrell White, Brett Malouf and others Jol and Lindsay Bookie’s family further upgraded the Camp facilities with new ‘state of the art’ long drop toilets. 

Ferguson Tractors on the Hay River Track

Ferguson Tractors on the Hay River Track

The Tack after rain

The Tack after rain

Clare Fleming