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Deep in the Australian outback, in a town called Birdsville, Onslo the blue Volkswagen Beetle dreams of adventures in the beautiful Simpson Desert. But, unlike the big four-wheel-drives who pass through Birdsville, he is too small to conquer the big sand dunes. However, with the encouragement of his best friend Geoffrey, the brave beetle embarks on his very own desert adventure.
Onslo’s home, Birdsville, is one of Australia’s most remote and iconic outback towns. Nestled on the edge of the Simpson Desert in southwest Queensland, it attracts thousands of visitors each year, many of whom drive through the Simpson Desert, just like the four-wheel-drives in the book. The Simpson Desert is the world’s largest area of parallel sand dunes and is home to camels, dingoes, goannas, emus, eagles and hawks.
In September 2012, the real-life Onslo was the first Volkswagen Beetle to cross the desert via the QAA line and French line, climbing over 1100 sand dunes along the way. You can meet him at the Birdsville Roadhouse!
Kelly Theobald may have been a Melbourne-bred city-girl by birth, but after moving to the remote town of Birdsville in April 2011 she became passionate about the outback. Kelly was a journalist with a taste for adventure and wrote Onslo while planning her very own Volkswagen Beetle Simpson Desert crossing with Sam Barnes, an extreme Volkswagen enthusiast.
Kelly hoped that the publication of Onslo would encourage families to explore Australian outback destinations and help children learn about outback lifestyles, wildlife and history.
Tragically, Kelly’s life was cut short when her four-wheel-drive rolled on the Birdsville Track on 2nd October 2015. Her family has scattered her ashes on top of “Big Red” so her free spirit is now embraced by the winds and forever-moving red sands of the Simpson Desert. Her memory will live on in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her, and in her published works and blogs about the outback life she loved so dearly.