Strange Encounters On The Tanami Track

It was 1988 and my workmate Ben and I were on one of my excursions around Australia. Leaving Alice Springs there is a 1040km `short cut` to the Kimberleys` in Western Australia via the Tanami Track, past the aboriginal settlement of Yuendemu and the lonely road house of Rabbit Flat approximately 600km distant .The present Tilmouth Well road house diidn`t exist in those days.Shortly before reaching Yuendemu we encountered the first strange incident. Up ahead an old Holden car was parked sideways across the road with the bonnet up and surrounded by a few aborigines. We approached slowly in case they needed help but were waved on. Glancing back we noted that the car didn`t have an engine. Perhaps they were waiting for the RAA to bring them a new engine!About 100km east of Rabbit Flat we could see in the distance another car parked on the side of the road again with the bonnet up and from it`s confines stepped a man who walked into the middle of the road and flagged us down. I approached cautiously and as we got closer his presence prompted us both to lock our doors. He was a giant of a man with a mop of bushy unkempt hair and a thick beard just as bad. This wasn`t the only reason that I only wound my window down a short way as he was dressed in army camouflage and shirt and trousers were ripped to pieces and looked like he had been in a fight with a tiger. (for that reason, Ben and I refer to him as the tiger man when reminising) He said he was broken down and could we take him to Alice Springs. We coudn`t have taken him if we wanted to as my short wheelbase Nissan Patrol was packed to the roof with all our gear for a couple of months on the road. We told him he should wait for someone going his way but we would take a message to Rabbit Flat and advise people there of his plight. He said if we know someone, (if we know someone ????) who would take him to Alice Springs he would give them two 44 gallon drums of fuel and pointed a little way up the road , to what we hadn`t yet seen, a trailer in the bush , just off the road with two 44 gallon drums on board.Before departing we enquired as to wether he had food and water and he assured us he did but made one more request. “Did we have any smokes?” Unfortunately for him we didn`t smoke so he wasn`t having much luck. As we departed we were in for one more surprise. Passing by the open door of the car, an early model Range Rover, ( I guess that explained all the fuel) we could see that the drivers seat was slashed to pieces, just like his clothes. A strange encounter indeed.

Strange Encounters On The Tanami Track

Terry Everson

Whalan, Australia

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Artist's Description

A story of a couple of strange encounters on the Tanami Track in the Northern Territory.

Artwork Comments

  • Gary Kelly
  • Terry Everson
  • Bev Woodman
  • Terry Everson
  • Richard  Windeyer
  • Terry Everson
  • Bev Woodman
  • Terry Everson
  • Kutay Photography
  • Terry Everson
  • mspfoto
  • Terry Everson
  • SusanAdey
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