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Desert Walker: Gulf to Gulf (1985)


Fifty-two year-old adventurer Denis Bartell was the first person to walk across Australia from north to south – from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Gulf of St Vincent. The documentary covers his journey.

Curator’s notes

Remote locations present enormous challenges for filmmakers. Given that a film crew can’t travel by foot like Bartell, careful logistical planning is needed. Many scenes need to be staged for the camera and yet the film can’t interfere with Bartell’s progress.

Adventurer Denis Bartell is walking across Australia north to south. In the desert he radios his position. Interviewed back home, his wife Rotha expresses her confidence that Denis will succeed in his goal. Seeing Rotha in their formal and affluent looking home gives additional insight into Bartell choosing to battle the harsh elements of central Australia.