Who Was Cecil T. Madigan?
Cecil Thomas Madigan was the last of the great Australian explorers. He was also a geologist, academic, aerial surveyor, meteorologist, and an officer of the British army. He was born in Renmark, South Australia.
In 1939 he led the first scientific crossing of the Simpson Desert which was also the last classic Australian exploration adventure.
The scientific results were published in the Adelaide Advertiser and also a popular account, Crossing the Dead Heart (Melbourne, 1946). He saw the ‘Dead Heart’ as a land of everlasting sand-ridges and salt-encrusted clay-pans.
The Simpson is a sand-ridge desert extending 322 km (as the crow flies) west to east, the ridges running parallel from north to south at roughly 0.4 km intervals, some reaching as high as 40 m
The party of nine, including a biologist, a botanist, a photographer and a radio operator, with nineteen camels, made the exhausting crossing from Andado Station in the Northern Territory to Birdsville in twenty-five days.
He died on the 14 January 1947 from heart disease.