Edmund Albert Colson

Archive Collections / Edmund Albert Colson
Born : 03 June, 1881
Died : 27 February, 1950

Edmund Albert (Ted) Colson was born near Quorn in the Flinders Ranges on 3 June 1881. When he was 15 years old he moved with his father to the Western Australian Goldfields. In 1904 he married Alice Jane Horne at Kalgoorlie. In 1917 Ted Colson and his wife moved to Victoria where he worked on construction projects and he later started his own transport business. In 1927 he and his wife moved to Oodnadatta where he worked on the construction of the railway line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs. In the following year he made an exploratory trip westwards into the Musgrave and Mann Ranges. In about 1929 he acquired a motor car and made several more trips westwards from Oodnadatta into the Central Australian Aboriginal Reserves, pioneering a motor track to the Musgrave Range. In 1930 he was employed by the anthropologist, AP Elkin (see AA 86), as driver on Elkin's survey of the social organization and kinship systems of the Aboriginal people west and north-west of Oodnadatta, and drove Elkin through the Musgrave Ranges and then back to Alice Springs via Charlotte Waters. Later that same year he was employed by Michael Terry (see AA 333), a prospector and adventurer, as a cameleer and guide on a prospecting expedition to the Musgrave, Petermann and Tomkinson Ranges.

In 1931 Colson acquired the lease to Bloods Creek Station, north-west of Oodnadatta, where he ran sheep and operated a store, while continuing to make occasional trips westwards into the Central Reserves. In 1936 Colson and an Antakirinya man, Eringa Peter, successfully crossed the Simpson Desert with camels. Colson later established the Colson Trading Company at Finke in the Northern Territory.

Ted Colson was killed in a car accident near Balaklava, north of Adelaide, on 27 February 1950.

The State Library of South Australia has a small collection of Colson's papers, correspondence and maps etc (Acc. No. D5830).

The Fisher Library at the University of Sydney has a collection of correspondence between Elkin and Colson, relating mainly to Elkin's 1930 expedition to north-western South Australia.

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Prepared ByTom Gara