Toiling on the road to Big Red in the dust heat and flies did they ever wonder how it got its name? No stranger to the Simpson Desert, I first crossed it by vehicle back in 1975 from W/E. Since then it is now 70+ times by vehicle mainly solo, walked it solo no backup vehicles twice, once W/E and the other N/S as part of a walk across Australia. I have driven across the Simpson through its middle from E/W in 1977. This solo journey cross country was a first and a feat considered impossible at that time and those 7 days on compass crossing 1000+ sand hills, each determined to take me down, was a journey of a lifetime. At Government request I located a series of native wells lost for 80 years which stretched across the Simpson and in so doing was able to give back to the descendants of the Wangkangurru people another link to their past. I have re-enacted all of the early explorers routes and was privileged to take by camel Danny Colson the aboriginal son of Ted (the first white man to cross the land of the rolling dunes) to follow in his father's footsteps. I was backup for my daughter Susan when she and three friends walked the desert tracing my W/E walk and raised $170,000 for breast cancer research. I was backup for my son Richard when he also completed the same walk four years later. In 1980 while sitting atop a magnificent sand hill watching the sun set over a desert much travelled and loved, I wrote a poem and named (dubbed) it Big Red. A subsequent magazine story on my special sand hill soon attracted travellers wishing to visit Big Red. Birdsville identity Taffy said to me "Denis, I have tourists coming in all the time looking for this Big Red and I don't know where to send them". When I explained its location recognition dawned on him instantly "That's Nappanerica stockyard and sand hill" to which I replied "Sorry Taffy, it is now my Big Red sand hill and somehow I think it will remain that way". In two years time I will be 90 and I wish to go back to that fiery dune where I sat so long ago, and with my daughter and son, watch the sun set over the rolling sand hills. Then body willing, I would love to walk maybe with crutches or a wheelie walker or by wheel chair re-enact the last painful stretch of my W/E walk back in 1984 into Birdsville. If I am forced to use wheels thank you GBA for a beautiful bitumen road leading to a desert icon. I still can't believe that from a few words and a poem it is now so famous, but that's my BIG RED.
Please email me at email@example.com if anyone would like a copy of the Poem.