I thought you might be interested in this follow up to an article you ran in OBA49, written by regular contributor Peter Whitaker, and covering the exploits of one of our earliest motorcycling pioneers, Ellis Matthewman Bankin.
Following this wonderful article I was able to locate Mr Duckworth’s daughter Carmel, who still has some copies of her dad’s book: (cm[email protected]hoo.com), and gain through her and her brother extra information. This was to assist a recent trip by my brother Jon and I to Curtin Springs Roadhouse, the home of Peter Severin who owns the Mount Conner area where Bankin’s grave is. In essence, our visit was an integral part of a six week 8,500km sojourn in my restored original 1963 Land Rover through SA, Vic, NSW, Qld, and NT.
Rather than go into too much detail of our trip, it was important to us to at least follow some of Bankins route including Tibooburra and Milparinka, (we’ve been to Innamincka numerous times and followed Bankin on the Strzelecki track from Lyndhurst, so left that section out this time). However, the decision to follow the Tibooburra and Milparinka section was twofold: 1,neither of us had been there before, and 2, we wanted to see the tracks Bankin used and gain some idea of just how he navigated seldom-used mail tracks.
But to focus on Curtin Springs. We departed Alice Springs on 21st August 2018, and headed for Kulgera where we would turn off to Curtin Springs and then to Uluru. We always try to do some “exploring” on our travels and followed numerous tracks just to see if there was anything out of the ordinary. We saw a few Dingo’s that stood watching us for a few minutes before casually walking off, and two Wedge Tailed Eagles flying lazily in thermal air currents for what seemed like hours, without moving their wings much at all. Absolutely wonderful; it amazes us that our sister and her husband have been to Bali forty times because “there’s nothing to see in Australia”. People need to wake up, spend money in Australia and keep it here! Anyway, we found a nice camp spot for the night and in the morning headed to Curtin Springs, arriving mid morning, unfortunately at the same time as a bus load of tourists, so we found some shade and waited until the bus departed, then made our way into the store to ask about visiting Bankin’s grave at Mount Conner. Blank looks, so I explained who Bankin was and how the Severin family were custodians of the grave, it being on their land. The girl in attendance had no idea so went and asked someone else, however neither were any help. I then asked if Peter Severin or someone in authority was around but was told no, they’re all away. Reluctantly, we decided to head to Uluru and try our luck on the return journey.
After two days of visiting Yulara, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), we journeyed back to Curtin Springs, unfortunately arriving as a bus pulled up! After the bus departed we ventured into the store and, unfortunately, struck the same girl as our first visit. As luck would have it, a young fellow entered from the store room and asked what we wanted, and although he had no knowledge of Bankin or
Ellis Bankin’s Triumph. Does anyone have a spare gear lever knob?