Along the Pituri Trail

Research output: Non-traditional research outputOther Creative work


In 1876, explorer WO Hodgkinson led the last government-funded expedition into the Simpson Desert, ostensibly to find land suitable for pastoral expansion. But Hodgkinson's diary from the journey reveals that his main interest in the desert country was to find the source of a valuable native narcotic known to the local Aboriginals as 'Pituri'.

In this feature, a group of latter-day expeditioners follow in Hodgkinson's footsteps in search of the story of Pituri, and found that this, in turn, revealed a larger history of colonisation and environmental change in the Simpson Desert.

The contemporary expeditioners comprise biologist Mike Letnic, writer, filmmaker and historian Tom Murray, and archeologist Hugh Barton. Broadcast by Hindsight, ABC Radio National on Sunday 22 June 2008.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherABC Radio National
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2008


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
  • anthropology of trade
  • Arid ecosystems
  • explorers


Dive into the research topics of 'Along the Pituri Trail'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this