|204. OONAH SPRINGS.|
|"nearly a thousand feet up the side of the range".|
Oonah Springs is not identifiable on any map and even local knowledge gives it a doubtful location, if it exists at all, the spring is located on the northern side of the Heavitree Range, possibly on Redbank Creek at Teapot Yard and a number of interesting events occurred here during the Expeditions camp on the 26th of July 1930.
The camp itself was located several hundred metres north of the Springs which in turn were located several hundred metres up a steep range and all commentators remark on the difficulty of obtaining water, this had to be carried back to the camp in nine gallon buckets and was an exhausting exercise. Because of the difficulties involved, Blakeley decided to forego further replenishment and risk getting through to the Dashwood on available supplies.
Blakeley noted that the water was not much better than that obtained at Archie Giles waterholes, those tasting strongly of 'cow' while the water from Oonah Springs was 'half horse' a subtly that was overlooked later in the evening.
While at this camp Lasseter recognised two Bean trees that he rigged his hammock to in his 1897 trip, this statement caused Blakeley considerable concern, as far as he knew Bean trees had a fairly short life span, perhaps twenty years at the most, Blakeley confronted Lasseter with this observation next morning and received an angry response and an unsatisfactory answer, thus increasing Blakeley's doubts and the tension between the two. Albrecht also mentions the tree incident and the sceptical reaction by other members of the party although he doesn't indicate what type of tree or the location of the incident.
This was the second impossible landmark sighting for the day, earlier Lasseter, had pointed out a cave some six hundred feet up a cliff, Lasseter stated that he had camped there in 1897, Blakeley and Sutherland reckoned this impossible but let the incident pass in case Lasseter was pulling their legs.
Coote relates a slightly different version wherein Lasseter points out to Coote and Colson, while struggling down the brumby pad from Oonah Springs, a Mulga bush that he had hitched his hammock to on the earlier journey, Colson, as an aside to Coote, chuckled that the tree could not be thirty years old yet, both men laughed, but not heartily.
On a lighter note, the men were highly amused over an incident at tea that night, when Houston and either Coote or Lasseter mistook the washing up water for tea and drank two pints each before they realised, Coote does not mention the incident.
Blakeley mentions taking samples of very high value wolfram from this area, although he later told some wolfram miners, he didn't think the five to six foot long seam would be of any value, calling it a bit of a squib.
© R.Ross. 1999-2006