Vale Dick & Clayton Lang
Tragically killed in Kangaroo Island on January 3rd 2020 while helping to fight massive bushfires that swept through the island. Dick was 78 and Clayton 43 years old.
Dick first met Len in April 1970 when Dick and a mate visited Len at his home in Salisbury, S.A., to talk over an upcoming trip into the Gibson Desert. In 1976 Dick was a member of a Centenary expedition to retrace Ernest Giles' west to east expedition through the remote Gibson Desert in 1876, their story subsequently told in a book by fellow participants Graham McInerney and Alec Mathieson called "Across the Gibson".
Dick Lang and Len Beadell got on very well, as those of us who travelled with them both on Dick’s “Desert-Trek Australia” safaris would know. Their banter back and forth went on constantly to the point where their joke telling was short-cut to numbers. Between them they would laugh uproariously over joke #9 with no-one having any clue what the joke actually was.
Len participated in 7 of Dick’s tours from 1984 to 1988 before Dick’s battle with Leukaemia later in 1988. His amazing recovery saw the finish of the bush bus safaris. After his recovery, Dick continued with his "Desert-Air Safaris" during which time pilot Dick flew tours to Africa, New Guinea, Tasmania, the Aboriginal Art Centres of Central Australia, the Kimberleys, plus shorter adventures to Lake Eyre and the like.
"Desert Dick" was a larger than life character, one who will be sorely missed not only by his family but by those who knew and travelled with him. Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Helen and his sons as well as the family of Clayton, an Adelaide-trained Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon.
Photos below are taken of Len Beadell and Dick Lang during Desert Trek trips between 1984 and 1988 and are courtesy of Mike Witcher.
Story & photos above by Connie Beadell.