Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Bushie
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Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:08 pm

After watching this months DVD and seeing our plaque at the Geographic centre of the Simpson, I went to write a comment on my trip report - except I couldn't find it. Now I'm not sure if I posted it and it has vanished or I never got round to posting here, either way I'm putting it up now.


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:08 pm

About 12 months ago the idea was conceived to revisit Geosurveys Hill and then continue cross country through the Simpson to the Geographical Centre before following some old shot lines to exit onto the French Line via Mirranponga Pongunna Lake after entering west of Geosurveys hill from the Colson Track.
Obviously a varied route to the Simpson was chosen. Our group of Edjits was to consist of 5 vehicles.
Myself and Amanda in a Defender 110 300Tdi
Chenz and wife in a Defender 130 twin cab Puma
Numpty in a Defender 110 Td5
ShortyNSW in a Perentie 6x6 and
Wash in a Defender 130 single cab Td5.

As bad luck would have it Wash ruled himself out a month before departure, as a result of a medical emergency.

The plan was to follow the following route after meeting on Saturday 5th July at the Ballimore Hotel.

The loosely planned itinerary was as follows:
5th July Elong Elong
6th July Booberoi Weir near Euabalong
7th July Willandra NP
8th July Somewhere south of Mungo NP
9th July Murray River west of Mildura
10th July Chowilla Game Reserve
11th July Dangalli Conservation Park (Morgan Vale)
12th July South Flinders
13th July Blinman
14th July Beltana
15th July Leigh Creek (replenishment)
16th July Marree
17th July Edward Creek
18th July Eringa Waterhole
19th July Christmas Creek
20th July Purnie Bore
21st Colson Track
Cross Country to Geosurveys then Geographic centre to French Line via old shot lines
Poeppel Corner
K1 and Warburton track
Mungeranie
Kalamurina Station
Marree back to Leigh Creek to replenish
Balcanoona and Gammon Ranges NP
Moolawatana to Strzelecki track
Cameron Corner
Depot Glen (Milparinka)
Wanaaring
Nocoleche Nature Reserve
Tilpa
7th Aug Louth for the races.

As can be seen we weren't tying ourselves to any rigid timelines.

Between us there were a total of around 12 punctures, broken roof rack mounts, broken driving light brackets, a punctured airbag, various shock absorber bushes, and a couple of more major events that will be detailed later.

Whilst it was a slow and at time tough trip, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Bushie
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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:09 pm

Day 1 - 5th July.

As we were all coming from various locations it was decided to meet at the Ballimore pub just off the Golden Highway, NE of Dubbo. Our first night was as guests of JDNSW camped on his property at Elong Elong. Our path had taken us via Mudgee where we had a very dry hamburger for lunch that took forever to prepare. Dinner at JDs place was sausages and rissoles supplied by Vince and Jan from Mt Horrible, salads wwere available but not much consumed, and finished off with an apple and apricot crumble made by Amanda.
As we had entered JDs gate Amanda picked up some Christmas tinsel that had fallen off the gate and stuffed it into the Landy, it survived the complete trip.
John showed us some slides from his time in the Simpson with an exploration company in the 60s.
After discussion around the camp fire we retired for our first night in the swag.


Distance travelled ~ 420km

Bushie
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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:10 pm

Day 2 - 6th July

From Johns property at Elonng Elong we headed back out into Goonoo NP and across to the Mendoran road then back towards Dubbo before taking dirt roads from Tomingley across to Trundle where we stopped for lunch at Berryman park. By this stage it was raining on and off with a very cold wind blowing, so we headed off again heading for Booberoi weir on the Lachlan River. By the time we arrived it was heavy overcast, but luckily the rain held off until after we had set up camp.
Rain and wind on and off through the night didn't make for the best swag weather but at least we stayed dry and warm.

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Landys on tour

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Booberoi Weir

Distance travelled - 331km


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:11 pm

Day 3 - 7th July

After waking to a wet and foggy morning, we headed down to the weir and old pumphouse for a look around. Booberoi weir was built to provide a pool of water and levels sufficient to divert the Lachlan into Booberoi creek for stock and domestic requirements.

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Booberoi Weir

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Old Pump house - Booberoi Weir

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Machinery remnants

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Booberoi web

The area around the weir was pretty boggy underfoot,resulting in us all growing a few inches.
Unfortunately the structures around the weir have been vandalised and graffitied fairly extensively.

From Booberoi we made our way to Lake Cargelligo for morning tea and to get the first of many punctures repaired.
Morning tea and a hot pie and then a quick lunch stop on the side of the road and we were heading for Willandra NP for the night.
Arriving around 3pm it gave us a chance to look around the old homestead before setting up camp, and allowing some wet gear to dry out.


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Old Willandra Homestead

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Weir on Willandra Creek

The old weir is becoming undermined by flood waters and it is likely to only see a few more floods before it starts to break up, parts of it are starting to crumble already.

Distance travelled - 244km

Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:12 pm

Day 4 - July 8th

After breaking camp the first stop was the NP tip. Here Vince and Shorty managed to score some old NPWS logo signs for their collections. We then headed out to look at the "Big Willandra" shearing sheds and shearers quarters, followed by a short trip out to the location of the old sheep bridge.

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"Big Willandra" Shearing Shed

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Shearers Quarters

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Willandra Creek

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Sheep Bridge

From Willandra NP we headed towards Mildura via Mossgiel and Clare, south down the Balranald road before heading west again at Hatfield, camping off the road some 15km west of Turlee Stn.
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Camp for the night

Tonight was a very windy night with more rain during the early hours.

Martyn

Bushie
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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:13 pm

Day 5 - 9th July

Heading from camp we made for Mildura and morning tea at one of the coffee shops (we do it tough on these trips ), and then to the local supermarket to top up a few items. From here we made the short trip to Wentworth and out to the confluence of the Murray and Darling Rivers.

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Murray/Darling junction

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Shortys 6x6 attracted an audience at most stops

Once all nice and clean we headed across the river into Victoria and turned west along the southern bank, by now the clouds were lowering and a very cold wind from the south had moved in.
The further west we headed the worse the weather became until we were in driving rain, this made the black soil tracks into the Murray very slippery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it_eD_Ni ... TqZwEsNOkg

Setting up camp the cloud began to clear before a few more showers and a very cold damp night.
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Clearing clouds over the Murray

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Locals down for a drink

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Ready for a rather cool night


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:14 pm

Day 6 - 10th July

After a damp pack up we were on the road again following the southern bank of the Murray westward towards the SA border, road crews were grading the road and with the previous nights rain it made for some quite muddy sections.

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Morning Tea

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Murray River

We headed for lunch at the old customs house on the Vic/SA border on the south bank.
From our lunch stop it was a quick drive into Renmark, where we tried to buy a new self inflating mattress to replace the one that had failed, out of luck we were stuck with two thin hiking foams to provide insulation from the ground.
Camp for the night was made in Chowilla Game Reserve on the northern side of the Murray. Here we were treated to the spectacular sight of a brilliant meteorite, at least that's what we thought after we had banished our initial thoughts of a plane breaking up.
Starting as a brilliant red glow moving slowly from south to north in a very flat trajectory, it increased to a brilliant white/green light before breaking up and going through the red - white process again.
(it turns out it was part of a Russian Soyuz rocket re-entry that launched a satellite two days prior)

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Chowilla Game Reserve


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:16 pm

Day 7 - 11th July

Leaving Chowilla game reserve after a breakfast of baked bean fritters, we headed off to find a way into some ruins we had sighted the afternoon before.

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Breakfast

After a bit of exploring we found our way across to 'Old Coombool' ruins.
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Old Coombool Ruins

From Old Coombool we headed north into Danggali Conservation Park, with the aim to camp near Morgan Vale at the northern end, however as collecting firewood and camp fires were prohibited we made the decision to camp outside the reserve.
It seemed a bit odd after coming this far to realise we were only a couple of km from the NSW border.

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Entry to Danggali Conservation reserve

Danggali is the amalgamation of 3 properties Hypurna, which is now occupied by NP staff, and Canopus and Morgan Vale which are abandoned, and slowly being reclaimed by the elements, most dams on the reserve are identified as abandoned.

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Morgan Vale ruins

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Old Shelter at Morgan Vale

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Old Ford

After departing the reserve we headed towards Pine Valley and made camp near Mount Alice dam amongst some claypans.

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Camp for the night


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:16 pm

Day 8 - 12th July

Exiting the campsite in the morning a call to "Swan Hill" base came over the UHF, realising shorty had grabbed the wrong 'mic' I answered expecting him to pick my voice, however he didn't, so for a laugh I started a conversation with him, asking if he was part of the group that had camped just out of Danggali near the dam, leaving him puzzled as to how Swan Hill knew where we had camped.
From Danggali we headed across to Willow Springs via Yunta, on what was essentially a 'transport' day. We had managed to have the Mt Caernarvon track opened for us ($60 per vehicle) and so needed to be close for the following morning.
Stopping in at Yunta for fuel and lunch, a giant serving of fish and chips, we then headed off via Waukaringa, and back roads towards Hawker turning north past Wilpena to Willow Springs, gathering firewood on the way.

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Ruins of Waukaringa Hotel

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Ruins at Waukaringa

On arrival at Willow Springs one of Vinces batteries was venting badly and quite hot, after waiting for it to cool we topped it up with water, figuring if it was stuffed we couldn't make it worse.
Everyone enjoyed a nice hot shower and meal before hitting the swag/tent/camper, on what was another cold and windy night.


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:19 pm

Day 9 - 13th July

We were up early, and packed up camp as we had to meet the people from Bunkers Conservation reserve that were opening up the gates to allow access to Mt Caernarvon. After we had paid our $60 we were on our way, there was one additional vehicle doing the tour with us, a landcruiser with Peter and Michelle on board.
The track was well worthwhile doing with really good views back over the Flinders Ranges, and some fairly steep climbs.

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Shorty climbing towards Mt Caernarvon

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The track ahead

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Cold and windy on Mt Caernarvon

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View to the west

On the way down we stopped at the 'southern' lookout where there was an aluminium bench seat, given how cold and windy it was there was a sudden call "5 bucks to who ever plonks their bare arse on that seat"

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Challenge duly accepted

Talk about an ice-breaker with Peter and Michelle - they just cracked up!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfUEZAXg ... TqZwEsNOkg
A selection of the track across Mt Caernarvon

After completing the Mt Caernarvon track we headed towards Blinman stopping for a quick beer at the Blinman pub before turning down the road the Parachilna Gorge managing to find a campsite in the gorge and sheltered from the wind.


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:20 pm

Day 10 - 14th July

We decided that as it was too early to visit 'The Prairie' hotel for a beer then a bacon and egg breakfast would suffice. Whilst we were waiting we met up with Oldyella 76 and another Aulro member who were heading through Parachilna to Mungerannie then the Hay River. The postie bike crew were in town as well on a fund raising trip.

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The Prairie - Parachilna

After breakfast we headed back up Parachilna gorge turning north along Oratunga Creek and then out to the ruins at Nuccaleena mine. You have to admire the skill of the builders and the edges they were able to achieve on the rock cut for doorways and lintels etc in the drywall buildings.

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Miners residence at Nucculeena

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Open cut mine

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Chimney for the mine machinery

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Old machinery building and boiler room, the flue to the stack can be seen in the foreground

The company undertaking the operation were obviously not so good "The Great Northern Mining Company had only produced 13000 pounds worth of copper ore from the Nuccaleena mine by 1866 having expended 57000 pounds on the enterprise and shortly after the mine was abandoned having been an enormous failure."

From Nuccaleena the way out to the north towards 'Beltana' has been closed by the owner of the land so it was a backtrack through Parachilna before heading north again before turning off towards 'Beltana' we made camp off the road near a creek line where there was plenty of wood available. There were a couple of light showers while we were setting up but it than cleared to another cold but fine night. With corellas roosting all around us we cooked dinner and then Amanda made the group dessert of Apple, apricot, craisin, coconut crumble served with custard.
It was a contented group that swagged it that night.

Martyn

Bushie
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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:22 pm

Day 11 - 15th July

We headed towards 'Beltana' (on the old Ghan) where the buildings are starting to be restored and some are occupied.

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Restored Mission building

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Ruins at Beltana

The old railway station is now a private residence which in some ways is disappointing but at least means the building is being preserved.

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Restored and private residence - Old Ghan station

From Beltana on what was becoming a dull showery day we headed off in the direction of Sliding Rock copper mine, we met another Aulro member who was heading back from Warraweena ? and was travelling in company with a D3/4?

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Aulro member turn up anywhere

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Sliding Rock Hotel and Shop

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Old shafts dot the area

After a good look around Sliding Rock we headed back to Beltana and then north through Puttapa Gap out onto the main drag sand up to Leigh Creek for resupplies, washing and a shower.
A late lunch was had in Leigh Creek before a trip into Copley to avail ourselves of the cheaper fuel and a beer at the pub.
Enquiring as to a place to camp nearby we were directed to some ruins and a bore a few km out of town, most likely on mine land, but unfenced. We had been informed that there was no night shift on that night so things should be quiet.
As it turned out the information was correct and we got a good night sleep after having a jaffle for dinner due to our late lunch.


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:24 pm

Day 12 - 16th July

Today had us leaving our camp near Copley and Heading to Lydhurst where we stopped at the pub for coffee/tea, before heading off to Marree via Farina. At Farina the underground bakery was operating as it was school holidays, we had a good look around before availing ourselves of a beautiful fresh cream bun made on the spot.

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Ruins of the Transcontinental Hotel

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Bells Store

I had figured that most ruins like these had been deliberately pushed over or materials salvaged for other reasons, but at Farina the main cause of failure is salt, working its way into the cement used and attacking and weakening the bond - learn something every day!

Farina was a major stock terminus set up as part of the Kidman empire to enable his cattle to get to market, in 1909 18000 head moved through Farina. Farina also boasted large sheep handling yards as well, and served properties through to Cordillo Downs.

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Restored Sheep truck at the loading ramp

From Farina it was only a relatively short hop to Marree for lunch and a beer

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Obligatory photo lined up outside the pub

After lunch it was further up the Oodnadatta track passing 'planehenge' which has grown considerably since last time I passed through this way (2000) and addition sculptures have been added.

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Planehenge sculptures

We progressed further north before turning west over the old Ghan easement near Gregory Creek and camping adjacent to one of the old bridges.
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Camp for the night

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOwq7-wt4vA

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Ghan Bridge
It's interesting how much the level of the creek bed has eroded down since the footings for the bridge were poured.


Martyn

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Re: Edjits 2014 Centreing the Simpson

Unread post by Bushie » January 4th, 2015, 2:25 pm

Day 13 - 17th July

Getting away from camp early we pulled into Lake Eyre south as a group of English women were just about to leave. They had camped just up the track and headed out to the lake to get some sunrise shots, they said it was bloody cold around dawn, they were probably right as it was still blowing well from the south and cold when we arrived.

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Much more interpretive signage around now

After a quick look at Lake Eyre south we headed north pulling in at Curdimurka, years ago this used to be the scene for the biennial "Curdimurka Ball" raising money for the Ghan restoration projects. The shower at the base of the water softening tower is long gone, and the tower which I once climbed is in a sorry state. A look around meant a quick trip down to the bridge over Margaret (Kadlongaroo) Creek,

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Still a long way from anywhere

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Curdimurka tank, tower and shower, the bore is now capped

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Margaret Creek Bridge

Heading further up the track, just north of Coward Springs we pulled in at one of the mound springs, it was nearly dry a sign of the lower pressures in the artesian basin, or maybe this one has reached the end of its life.

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Mound Spring

After stopping at Beresford we headed to William Creek for lunch of fish and chips and a beer, before moving to Edward Creek to camp for the night. There a some graves located beside the old railway next to the bridge, but despite searching I haven't been able to find any info on whos graves they are.

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Edward Creek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QoHDtVBqFM

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Edward Creek - Old Ghan

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Camp for the night

The graves are just out of pic to the right near the top of the embankment.


Martyn

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