A boyhood dream and a quest for the ultimate adventure has led two English adventurers down under for an expedition to retrace the steps of Captain Charles Sturt’s 1844-45 trek, through the centre of Australia.
Steve Macdonald, a registered blind explorer from Merseyside and Ben Sturt, an adventurer from Salisbury are on the Bathurst Campus of Charles Sturt University, this week, making plans for their Hot Footing Australia Trans Outback Australia Expedition, due to begin in May 1999.
The two will make the 4,000 kilometre trek, from Adelaide to Darwin, through the Simpson, Sturt, Stony, Strelecki and Tanami deserts then on through the tropical region of the Northern Territory. With the aid of a team of camels and a support crew in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, the pair aim to complete the journey in around six months.
In recognition of the importance of the Royal Flying Doctors Service to the survival of the people in the outback, the Service will benefit from the media profile of the expedition and any money raised throughout the project.
Steve is an accomplished explorer having walked extensively through Europe and become the first disabled person to circumnavigate Britain by sea kayak. Most recently he entered the Guiness book of records for being an intrinsic part of the first ever crossing of the English Channel by traditional Chinese dragon boat.
For Steve, the enjoyment of such an expedition is in the journey and in having the experience. The end, he said, is sometimes a big anti-climax.
Ben Sturt, who is also attempting to establish a family link with Charles Sturt, has dreamt of this journey since he was a young boy when he discovered what lengths Captain Sturt had gone to in exploring Australia. Ben is no stranger to adventure, having walked and mountaineered extensively in Canada, America, New Zealand and Europe.
Steve and Ben will be on CSU’s Bathurst campus until Thursday 15 October before heading off to Adelaide to make further plans for their expedition.