02-Mar-2002 -- I was in the region to drive my daughter to attend a Sea Scout Rowing Regatta on Lake Bonney, in Barmera, SA.
My first attempt was from the South side of the Murray river, with a view to somehow persuading someone to ferry me over the river in a dinghy. The nearest point S34°00.419 E140°58.521 was on private land, and I gave the owner's son the only copy I had of the Confluence letter explaining the purpose of my visit. He took it but offered no advice as to how I might get across the river or what I should do once on the other side!
Disheartened, but not discouraged, I proceeded to the nearest point to the SA/Victorian border known as the Customs House, where a map on a board at the river's edge gave me hope that an attempt from the northern side of the river might be more successful. This involved a 30 km drive back to Renmark, crossing the river at Paringa, then a 35 Km drive NE along the unsealed road towards Wentworth, with a turn off to the SEast just past the Chowilla Game Reserve.
On reaching E141°00.000 (S33°55.700), I found an obelisk (photo) marking the proclamation in 1868, by Charles Todd, of the border between SA and NSW. What he would have given for a GPS! The map (photo) shows the border crossing water a number of times. In hindsight, I should have copied the map.
A 4WD track headed through a nearby gate and I proceeded South with caution for the next 2km. Since no-one in my party back at Barmera knew of my second attempt, I was keen not to become stranded and stopped the car at 1553hrs at S33°56.719 near a pumping station alongside a creek and proceeded on foot for what I expected to be about a 6km walk. Temperature about 26°C, carrying 1.5L water, camera and GPS. Mobile phone left in car; no coverage.
Heading generally due South, I had a small easterly diversion around a bend in the first of the many creeks that cross the border. About 1km further, I needed to cross the same creek. I used a point where the creek was about 10m wide and about 1m deep, and crossed, dressed only in my jocks, with my GPS, camera and clothes in my hat. One more crossing for my socks and boots.
Pleased as punch that I had traversed the creek, and dressed once more, I set off southwards again, accompanied by two red kangaroos who seemed intent on leading me towards the destination. Passing E141°00.000 S33°59.000 and with GPS assurance that I was nearer to my goal than any time earlier that day, I began to celebrate my victory in my mind. The ground passed quickly beneath my feet. S33°59.100, 33°59.200, 33°59.300 sped by. S33°59.400 achieved! Looking up, the horizon began to develop an ominous sign. Tall gum trees to the south, still some distance away though. S33°59.500 and the trees were getting closer. My heart was sinking, but I trekked on.
1746Hrs S33°59.585 Another bloody creek! Bigger than the previous one. Wider, deeper. Not enough time or drinking water left to go round it. Too deep to wade over. I could swim, but I need the GPS and camera, and they are going to get wet. Still at least 500m to go on the other side anyway. Need the boots, too. DAMN! (That's what I called the Waypoint).
Better luck next time.