Trials and tribulations — oil search as a family outing
Heli Wopfner and his wife of 65 years Inge Wopfner, who sadly passed away last year, have produced a marvellous piece of Cooper Basin history, published in this March 2017 SA Minerals and Energy Resources Report Book 2017/00010: Trials and tribulations — oil search as a family outing
If you have been involved with the Cooper Basin, or would just like to read how early oil and gas pioneers explored, before all the modern-day tools, equipment and support teams, this is a must read. Many of you will have read Heli's early reports of his exploration efforts across South Australia, published with the support of the SADME, now the Energy Resources Division, Department of Premier and Cabinet, South Australia.
This latest report follows the trials and tribulations of taking the Wopfner family on a lengthy exploration expedition into the South Australian 'outback' in the late 1950s.
All the various members of the 'Circus' that had accompanied Heli on his previous trips had moved on to other ventures and positions, leaving Heli with his wife and family – along with “the use of the prototype caravan, specially built at our Woodville workshops for tough and rough bush conditions.”
As explained by Heli, “It was just a rectangular, steel framed box, covered inside and outside with hardboard and fitted with a double roof for better insulation.”
Not quite up to the modern-day, offroad touring caravan standard – “no fancy amenities like washing facilities, refrigeration or any other mod cons!”
It's a delightful read, often humorous, and will leave you in no doubt of the Wopfner family's steely resolve, and infinite love - of family and the Australian outback.
Click here to read the full report
Postscript by Heli Wopfner
Vale: Inge Wopfner – On 10.07.2016, shortly after we had completed the first draft of this article, Inge died quite unexpectedly. I lost not only a wife and the mother of our three children, but a companion who had stood on my side unwaveringly for 65 years. Together we climbed mountains, explored old cultures and travelled to out of the way places all over the world.
I dedicate this article as a memento to this unforgettable woman.