Wetter than Usual Tyrrell Trek

Sea Lake Off Road Club’s bi-annual trek around Lake Tyrrell on Saturday, October 6, 2012 was attended by some 81 members and visitors, some of whom had come from as far away as Pomona and Taree for the tour.

Travelling via bus and tag-along four wheel drive vehicles, the group set off in clear conditions but soon found that the overnight rain and some drizzle during the day would take its toll, making it impossible to complete all sections of the 84 km track – the first time this has happened for the tour.

At the white salt stacks of Cheetham Salt, those on the trek learnt that there was in excess of 200,000 tonnes of salt mined in less than two months in 2012, for uses that included industrial, pool salt and some domestic uses.

At times the lake looked serene, being covered by water, a contrast to last year when the salted surface glistened in the sun. The group learnt that water seeps down from the hills and also precipitates into the lake.

Near the Elliott’s farm a kangaroo was spotted in a paddock perhaps having had morning tea. The group was soon having their own delicious morning tea in an undercover shed which the Elliotts had generously provided due to the inclement weather.

Shortly after morning tea the group needed to continue on higher ground through the back of the Barry’s property when 4WDs struggled to maintain traction. One vehicle owned by Darryl Dawes slid down a washway, necessitating a rescue by his daughter’s partner, Ross Allan.

Even the experienced driving of ‘Mac’ McClelland couldn’t combat the slipperiness of the track, with the bus fish-tailing and experiencing occasional bog downs. One passenger told Mac, “As an old rally car driver bet you didn’t think you’d have to do a lap in a bus!”

Those listening to UHF commentary by former race director, George (Gordon) Bailey learnt that in the first Mallee Rally the racers stopped for ten minutes at the box clump for a light luncheon, provided by the Chinkapook Fire Brigade, then hopped back in their cars to resume racing.

Rain meant the group didn’t pull up at the usual lunch stop at Box Clump, but at the Allan’s machinery shed, then it was off to the start-finish line. Finally it was back to the clubrooms at the Sea Lake Recreation Reserve for afternoon tea and to wash the mud off the vehicles.

Congratulations must go to the small band of organisers – Al and Ali McClelland, ‘Sherman’ Allan and Tamara, Jane Stacey and Joe Marshall. Thanks also to the landowners who generously provided access and shelter to those on the journey and to the group themselves for participating in a great day.


Above: Mac at the wheel while George and Cam contemplate pushing the bus backwards.