|72. DELAYS in SYDNEY.|
|"the party were detained in Sydney a considerable time".|
There's a curious line towards the end of page five of Lasseter's Last Ride that set Sullivan to wondering what did cause the first C.A.G.E. expedition to be, "detained in Sydney a considerable time". It is unusual for Idriess to make a point without elaborating. And then there is that memorable opening line to Chapter two of Dream Millions, "The Party left in dribs and drabs", for Alice Springs, Blakeley too, does not enlighten the reader as to what delayed the expedition in Sydney.
Coote mentions nothing untoward in the arrangements and gives the impression that when he took off in the Golden Quest from Mascot aerodrome on 19/07/30, all was going to plan. For some time the contradiction remained idle speculation, perhaps some of that 'political intrigue' intervened, problems with the plane, maybe clearances to the Aboriginal Reserves, although Arthur Blakeley should be able to fix that. Whatever the delays in Sydney, they certainly effected the Captain, "who was due to return to his duties upon a specified date".
The Three Pens give no clear indication as to when the expedition planned to leave Sydney for Alice springs, but the arrival of the Captains memoirs answered a few questions, firstly the expedition was due to leave on 2/7/30 and the delays were simply due to sheer inability to organise and co-ordinate, "They managed to miss the train from Sydney by half an hour", and while trains may leave Sydney for the west daily, it's the connections to Quorn and Alice Springs, sometimes only fortnightly, that disrupted the Captains furlough, in the end he made his own arrangements and arrived in Alice Springs on 22/7/30.
Given the expeditions incompetence it was probably a cumulation of several things that delayed the start, there may have been problems acquiring a plane as Sullivan's Diary notes the Golden Quest was not purchased until the day the expedition was due to leave .2/7/30 !!. And Lasseter may have contributed, Blakeley notes his objection to having Burlington on the expedition, and no doubt some time was lost until a replacement was found, Philip Taylor.. Lasseter may have marked time and confusion by creating a doubt over the Official and Kendrick's maps. But with Coote as Chairman of the Transport Committee anything was possible.
© R.Ross. 1999-2006