For about 4 years I worked in mineral exploration as a geological draughts-person.
Working on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert
I was contracting to a company in Perth, Western Australia, who saw the light in sending someone out into the field with the reconnaissance team, who could plot the grids and interpolate the data as it came to hand.
Most projects ran for 3 months, where the accommodation was a tent, with its annex – my office.
My fondest memories are from a job that had us camping on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in WA not far, metaphorically speaking, from Wolfe Creek meteorite crater.
We had a weekly chartered airplane come in with supplies to last for the following week – and for its return trip I would put copies of the latest geological plans on board to head office (3,000km /2000 miles away in Perth to the south west) so they could see what work we had covered.
Sun Printing Plans
To do this, I utilized a sun-printing method to produce prints, that could be rolled up in a tube to be freighted out – No fancy electric printing machines out there!
To create a sun-print, I’d lay the draughting film, with my pen and ink drawing of the project to date, over a light sensitive paper in a darkened tent –
This entailed pulling down all the flaps of the thick khaki canvas, when it was already 40 degrees outside. As I’m sure you can imagine, with no ventilation or free flowing air, the 40 degrees on the outside rose quickly on the inside!
Working as fast as possible, I’d strap the plan to a ply-board backing, tightening it with rope at the back to create an arching position (a bit like drawing a bow) to ensure a good close contact was made between the plan and the ‘printing’ paper.
Once in position, it was up with the canvas khaki flap, and out into the blinding light.
With sweat rippling down my body I’d stand facing the glaring sun with the board held aloft for a timed 2 minutes.
Back into the steaming black of the darkened tent, with all flaps firmly down I’d wipe a solution over the now exposed paper in order to ‘develop’ the image.
Here’s a photo of me, on the left, with Jim, Phil, Verne, Noel and John.
This was at the end of the project as we are about to pull out and hit the road home.
Have you ever had to develop a creative solution to address a situation?