The Kangaroo Island Death March

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The Kangaroo Island Death March

Postby mikethepike » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 2:25 pm

This walk will be the first repeat of the first section of a little known though tragic walk - 'the Kangaroo Island Death March’ - by a party of six from SA’s ‘First Fleet’ in 1836. In that walk, the party set off from Harveys Return at the NW corner of the island intending to take 2 days to walk 80 km along the north coast to Kingscote. They took barely enough food (they intended to shoot game) and definitely insufficient water but plenty of rum. Ten days later, two of the party were picked up from a beach south of Kingscote, a boat headed south to pick up two others while a party set off for Murray Lagoon on the south coast to rescue the remaining two men. No reliable trace of those men was ever found. Some people became suspicious of the survivor’s story and ninety years later, a published review of the walk concluded that there may well have been foul play and probably after a dispute over sharing their limited water.

That party ran into trouble due to misinformation about the countryside - it expected open countryside after pushing though a band coastal scrub but found thick scrub all the way. The aim of this walk is to repeat the first part of the party’s walk from Harveys Return to Vivonne Bay, the only consistently scrubby section remaining, much of the rest being now cleared for farming. I have some familiarity with the island’s scrub and have no doubt that this is SA’s hardest walk.

So!……I am looking to make up a party of four to repeat this walk. People who perhaps want to widen their repertoire of different types of scrub and love a challenge. Not in the same class as Tassie’s worst scrub but likely to be very demanding all the same. You’ll need persistence and above all, a good sense of humour! About 45 km of scrub to deal with and it could be more or less thick than 180 years ago. We do have a N-S track escape route at the halfway mark if things are really bad and we are well behind schedule.
The walk will be 4 days (the same as the historic party’s claimed duration) and like that party, we will need to walk each day between first and last light - they knew that they were in d.s! The walk is timed a week before the historic walk and local transport to and from start and finish will be arranged. If from interstate, you may wish to stay on for more (and much easier!) coastal walking either west to Cape de Couidic or east to Seal Bay or beyond. Or possibly be dropped at CdeC to do both sections. I've done it and it’s really great walking. I could go over earlier for such a walk but have to get back home by 2/11.

If interested, please get in touch and I can email you the two historic documents and map that describe and review that original walk and also provixde more information on the walk. Thanks for your interest.
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mikethepike
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Re: The Kangaroo Island Death March

Postby mikethepike » Wed 04 Jul, 2018 5:33 pm

I hope that I haven't scared people off this site by using the words 'Death March' in the title. It refers to the historic walk and not the planned one and I used it just to try and arouse the curiosity and interest of readers. The term was suggested partly in jest by an older fellow walker and friend who thought the trip was a brilliant idea and said that he'd love to come but thought that it might now be a bit beyond him.

The proposed walk will be a great experience and I hope that any publicity asising from a successful walk will help draw wider attention the original incredible episode that inspired it. As in the earlier post: If interested, please get in touch and I can email you the two historic documents and map that describe and review that original walk and also provixde more information on the walk. Thanks for your interest.
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