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Small joy flows from a lake of tears

The Daily Telegraph 24/3/12

Elizabeth Fortescue

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When Paul Lockyer took off on his fateful trip to Lake Eyre last August, the veteran ABC journalist left a manuscript for his family to read while he was away.

Lockyer never returned to his Turramurra home - he was killed along with cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst on August 18 when their helicopter crashed.

The manuscript, however, lived on, with Lockyer's words teamed with photographs by Bean and Ticehurst to create the book: Lake Eyre: A Journey Through the Heart of The Continent.

Published by ABC Books, it was launched yesterday by artist John Olsen - who recalled his sense of disbelief when he learned the three "modern explorers" had died.

Olsen and Lockyer became friends through their mutual love of Lake Eyre.

"What captivated Dad about Lake Eyre was its constant battle with drought and flood and the effects this struggle had on the people of Lake Eyre," Lockyer's son Jamie said yesterday.

"It wasn't until I started reading (the manuscript) that I could understand Dad's passion and fascination for the area. The words leapt off the page."

Nick Lockyer said his father "always wanted to be a published author but he just never found the right subject matter.. so when he fell under the spell of Lake Eyre, he found exactly what he had been looking for."

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