Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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HomeIssue 10'Lost' man survived on bushfood banquet

'Lost' man survived on bushfood banquet

2606 Harold Morton OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
A member of his home community says Harold Morton (at left) is back at Ampilatwatja, has lost a bit of weight but is generally well, and guarding his privacy.
He had walked out of the small bush town, population 418, north-east of Alice Springs, on February 1 with nothing but the clothes he was wearing.
About half of the 17 days he was considered missing the temperatures were in the mid-fourties, says the community member.
2612 bush passionfruit 2 OKWhen the police air and ground search was called off after five days members of Mr Morton’s family continued to look for his tracks.
Although a strong wind had blown his footprints away the searchers located places with remnants of bush foods, including bush passionfruit (at right), where Mr Morton had eaten, and places where he had slept.
They found places where he had dug for echidnas (below left), using sticks. Mr Morton had no other tools.
Diggings for water were also found where bird tracks would have led Mr Morton to soakages.
It appears he also stopped at bores and cattle watering points created by pastoralists. As reported, he was found near Trew Bore, about 66 kilometres north-east of Ampilatwatja, around midday on Sunday.
2612 echidna OKThe community member says it is possible Mr Morton also found sugarbag.
That is honey produced by small bees, about the size of a fly, and stored in a hive inside a tree.
The only external sign is a small hole which can be found by following the flight of the bees.
Before the “white man” that honey and a little black berry were rare sweet delicacies, says the community member.
After settlement,  the ready supply of fat and refined sugar have caused the tragic prevalence of diabetes among Aboriginal people.
The community member says Mr Morton clearly has an acute sense of direction as the country is flat and almost devoid of obvious landmarks.
NOTE: We have replaced the bush passionfruit photo.


  1. That demonstrates the tracking skills of Aboriginal people that police no longer rely on or bother to engage.

  2. What a story! Aren’t we lucky to be among people of such knowledge? And greetings to the family for their perseverance.
    Police leaders, please note: The Falconio and Chamberlain deaths and the recent loss of the German couple would have all been quickly resolved if the immediate call was: TRACKER.

  3. Was he really lost? Or was it a demonstration of Aboriginal superiority in skill and knowledge of this land?
    No supermarket, no Google, no GPS etc. How many Australians know what is a soakage? And especially make one?
    Soakages were once a dependable and important water source for Australian Aboriginal people and although many are dried or contaminated now, they can still be found across the deserts.
    Those skills should be taught in all our schools as survival is more important than money.
    In case of national disaster, I put my life in Aboriginal hands rather that in our governments’.

  4. That’s the real people of Australia. Anangu. Their knowledge of their country is enlivened by the way how he just walked off, connecting with his country, connecting with his ancestors, living off his country, free from stress, free from racism, free from grog, free from all the bullshit that exists in today’s way of living.


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