|26. BIG BREAKAWAY the.|
|"about three miles wide and nearly two hundred feet deep".|
A poorly defined geological feature in Central Australia, apparently immediately to the north of the Lake Neale/Amadeus basin and extending for hundreds of kilometres. It is not evident on any current officially issued maps of any type or scale, and at this time the only map showing the location is at page 105 of Stonekings, 'Lasseter, the making of a legend'. Clacherty places the feature just over the border in Western Australia in the vicinity of the Mu Hills, he describes the breakaway as only five kilometres long and running north south through the hills.
According to Blakeley the breakaway country is a very large feature indeed, caused by large tracts of the continent to the south slipping into the sea, "The portion known as the Great Australian Bight slipped away, maybe four hundred miles of the continent slipping into the sea". From where the expedition viewed the Big Breakaway near Lasseter's Lookout on 6/8/30, Blakeley considered the breakaway to be three miles wide and almost 200 feet deep. Blakeley explained to his companions that the break probably included Lake Macdonald to the north west and continued through Lake Amadeus to Lakes Eyre and Torrens in South Australia and continuing out to sea in the vicinity of Eyre Peninsula, "so you see this fault in the Earth's crust is somewhere about 2500 miles in length". Sutherland when he first saw the breakaway was of the opinion, "We can get down there but she ( the Thornycroft ) will never get out again", Taylor heartily agreed.
As far as Blakeley was concerned this was the end of the expedition, he pointed out to Lasseter, "No animal, horse or camel could cross that country". Lasseter admitted that he had never crossed any breakaway country in his 1897 journey and apparently had not sighted the feature during his flight with Hall, perhaps he deemed it unworthy of concern. He and Johns crossed this formidable obstacle three times in their wanderings between Illbilla and the Petermanns.
© R.Ross. 1999-2006
Blakeley Fred. Dream Millions. 135-140. Clacherty Desmond. On Lasseter's Trail 29,30,43,59,60. Idriess Ion L. Lasseter's Last Ride 83-85. Coote E. H. Hell's Airport 175.