Nine 4WD convoys travelling from all corners of the country will converge in Birdsville today, to mark the 50th anniversary of the first vehicle crossing of the Simpson Desert.
Frontier Services is the charity partner for the celebrations hosted by Nissan which will include a momentous re-enactment of the journey across the Simpson with brother and sister Marg and Doug Sprigg, who completed the first crossing in 1962.
The Spriggs, at the time aged 10 and 7, travelled with their father, geologist and explorer Reg Sprigg and his wife Griselda in a Nissan Patrol G60 on the gruelling 12-day trip across the 176,500sq km desert and its 1,000 parallel sand dunes.
This week, Marg and Doug will ride in an identical model of the G60 Patrol in the Anniversary Crossing setting out today at Mt Dare Homestead in far north South Australia, supported by a team of current model Nissan Patrols and outback filmmaker Pat Callinan.
They will arrive in Birdsville on Saturday, 21 July and be met by a welcoming party of Birdsville locals and about 300 Nissan drivers from across the country. The celebrations will culminate in a big outback concert with James Reyne and Daryl Braithwaite to perform.
Money raised from the event will assist Frontier Services to continue to provide care and support to people across remote Australia.
Participants travelling from across the country met up with Frontier Services staff at a number of locations, including Charleville, Cunnumulla and Charters Towers in QLD, Hawker, Maree and Mungerannie in SA and along the Nullarbor in WA.
As the convoy arrived in Charleville on Saturday night to pitch their tents in the mud and rain, Frontier Services staff from Outback Links, RAFS, Charleville Family Day Care and In Home Care and the Charleville Early Learning Centre gathered to meet them.
The group gathered by the fire to enjoy some nibbles and a chat with the Frontier Services staff to hear about the work they do.
Frontier Services Outback Links Coordinator Davida Melksham and Remote Area Families Service (RAFS) Project Officer Felicity Voigt, based out of Charleville, will be there for the celebrations in Birdsville.
“We are very excited Frontier Services is a part of this 50th anniversary event, particularly as we celebrate 100 years of support for remote Australia this year,” said Ms Melksham. “What an opportunity to share the work Frontier Services does with participants from far and wide, as they travel through remote landscapes that our staff and volunteers support. We hope they leave with the hope and spirit of those who make the outback their home.”
“The money raised will help us make a difference to families across remote Australia with a wide range of services, including the pastoral care of our Patrol Ministers, mobile children’s services and volunteer assistance for isolated families.”