by W. E. Johns



14.         THE END OF THE TRAIL  (Pages 212 – 216)


Raffety reaches Oodnadatta alive but dies later.  Knowing he was dying he makes a full confession.  Moran had realised the value of Aunt Mary’s lucky strike and tried to buy it, but was turned down.  He called in Raffety and Barola to scare her away and when it didn’t work he told his assistants to get rid of the stubborn old woman any-how.  Barola had poisoned the household drinking water with strychnine.  Charlie was not affected as he got his water straight from the soak.  Charlie had refused to show them where the opal was and was shot in the foot when he escaped.  Raffety and Barola then spent months looking for the opal without success.  Charlie returned to the house to watch over Aunt Mary’s grave.  Yoka had hardly come into the picture, “he was little more than a tool of the white men”.  Charlie had been given a plan of where the opal was by Aunt Mary on her death bed.  He had then buried her when she died and put all the opal she had gouged in the upper part of her grave to fend of prowling “debil-debils”.  Aunt Mary’s body was exhumed for medical verification of the story and proper burial.  Charlie had made a dummy grave to outwit the debil-debils rather than Raffety and Barola.  The opal had been found after Aunt Mary had shot and wounded a dingo and it had taken refuge under a rock.  Charlie got a crow bar to prise it up, the animal was shot, and the opal seen in the soil.  Charlie had a superstitious fear of the opal and after Aunt Mary’s death; he was absolutely convinced of its diabolical powers. The opal already gouged out was sold and the money split three ways between Worrals, Frecks and Janet.  Janet sold the property to an important syndicate and Dan Terry asked Janet to marry him, which she did, “for she had got to know the cheery police officer very well while the investigations were proceeding”.  Charlie was well rewarded and departed for his distant tribe.  “Worrals and Frecks stayed on for Janet and Dan’s wedding and then returned to Sydney where, having abandoned the project of starting an air company, they sold the Desoutter, which is now ending its days as an air taxi.  After a few weeks of sight-seeing, they took ship for the United Kingdom, richer in pocket and in experience”.