Eucla Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Eucla

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    AFGHANS & CAMELS @ BALLADONIA MUSEUM

    by balhannah Updated Oct 17, 2014

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    Another piece of interesting Australian history, is about the Afghans and their Camels who worked around Balladonia and many other areas in Australia

    It was in the 19th century, when pastoralists took up land on the Nullarbor plains and arrived with sheep and cattle. Supplies came in by ship and camels were used for much of the overland transport. The Cameleers were known as Afghans.
    "Afghans" from Afghanistan arrived in the Australian Outback, especially for the operation of camel trains in desert areas. In June 1860, three men arrived with a shipment of 24 camels for the Burke and Wills expedition. The Afghans played an important supportive role in the exploration and economic development of the interior through carting water, food and materials to remote pastoral stations and mining settlements, as well as for the construction of the Overland Telegraph, and the Port Augusta to Alice Springs railway.

    In the area is Afghan Rock, a huge granite outcrop complete with natural pools of water. This was a common watering stop for the Afghan Camel drivers during early pioneer days. It is claimed that the rocks got their name after someone found an Afghan camel driver washing his feet in the dam and shot him?
    Camels can still be found roaming the area.

    The Ghan Train which runs across the Nullarbor plain,is named after the Afghan camel drivers that first opened up the harsh central desert territory by using their camels.

    All the history on the Cameleers can be read in the Balladonia Museum.

    Balladonia Museum
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    HARLEY DAVIDSON RACE @ BALLADONIA MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

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    This Museum had information on many different events.

    Another one was the HARLEY DAVIDSON PERTH TO SYDNEY OVERLAND TOUR between 1926- 1927.

    I think it would of interest to Harley Davidson motorcycle owners.
    The Harley Davidson was the choice of serious motorcycle travellers in the Australian bush. Nothing else had the durability, the grunt, the carrying capacity or comfort of the big Harley twin.

    The Western Australian Harley Club in 1926, held one of the greatest reliability trials of all time. Eight Harleys were ridden from Perth to Sydney and back in terrible conditions that would test modern motorbikes, never mind the rigid rear ends, pneumatic tyres and comparatively primitive equipment of the mid 20's.

    It is believed to be the first long tour on motorcycles, under such arduous conditions and with such a large party.
    The conditions were..........
    Quote "No sealed roads outside of Perth City limits, corrugated roads at best and sandy bush tracks across the Nullarbor with no ready source of fuel, food or repair until Port Augusta was reached. The Harley boys had no doubts about the machine for the trip, only the reliable Harley V-twin was employed."

    Their final destination was Sydney, a pleasure to reach! Photographers by the dozen and a movie man took photos of everyone wearing a huge smile, and no wonder, they had arrived in Sydney at 11 o'clock on the morning of New Year's Eve and - just two minutes later than estimated!

    This is an interesting story and one you can read of in the Museum or on the listed website.

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    REDEX CAR TRIALS @ BALLANDONIA MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

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    This is another piece of interesting Australian history I found on display in the Balladonia Museum.

    On display was part of a car that competed in the 1953 Redex Reliability Car Trial, that at the time was the second longest trial ever staged in the world (the previous longest had been from New York to Paris in 1908). It was an expedition into the unknown.

    It was organised by Dunlop executive Harry James, who was generally regarded as the father of Australian motor sport, was also a great-uncle to the biggest name to ever grace this race track and others, the late Peter Brock.

    In March, 1905, 23 cars were shipped to Sydney to start the first Dunlop trial between Sydney [the start] and Melbourne [finish]. There was quite a mix of competitors including a department store owner, poet- Banjo Patterson and a French driver.
    The winner was pioneer Australian car maker Colonel Harley Tarrant, in a Scottish-made Argyle.

    THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF MOTOR SPORT IN AUSTRALIA

    Another trial was organized starting from Melbourne. A crowd waved goodbye to 28 cars and 10 motorcycles. The line-up was quite impressive - Mercedes, Talbots, Oldsmobiles, Richard Braziers, Wolesleys, Argyles, de Dions and Tarrants.

    In the 1953 Redex field were some names whose fame in motor sport would make them household names for ever - Jack ("Gelignite") Murray and Sir Jack Brabbham
    The route was mainly a collection of faint tracks criss-crossing claypans and saltbush, really tested these cars and drivers endurance.
    Sydney - Bundaberg - Rockhampton - Mackay- Townsville - Mount Isa - Darwin - Tennant Creek - Alice Springs - Kingoonya - Adelaide- Melbourne - Albury -Sydney.

    Paper clippings at the Museum made for quite interesting reading. I have enjoyed reading about it on the website too!
    How different are the cars of today, they would handle this type of race much better!

    If you want to read the full story of this event, please check the website.

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    SKYLAB @ BALLADONIA

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

    One of the main displays in the Museum, is a part of the United States first space station "Skylab."

    Skylab put Balladonia on the map!

    What happened on July 12th 1979?

    It was on this date, that Skylab re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and broke up, scattering debris across the southern Indian Ocean and the south-eastern part of Western Australia. Luckily the heaviest fragments of the station fell into the Indian Ocean, even so, a large amount of Skylab debris fell in an area from Esperance on the coast, to the Nullarbor Plain, beyond the community of Balladonia.
    One of the pieces that landed on the Nullarbor was a large cylindrical oxygen tank that burst on striking the ground, breaking into two fragments which bounced in different directions. The largest fragment, the main body of the tank, is at the Esperance Museum. The smaller piece, the end cap of the oxygen tank, remained undiscovered until the early 1990s when it was found by a stockman.

    Skylab
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    BALLADONIA MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

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    When we were having our coffee in the Café, we happened to notice an entrance to a cultural heritage Museum. Afterwards, we went to see what it was all about, and found that ADMISSION WAS FREE.

    Located in quite a large room was all sorts of interesting pieces and information on the local area.
    This covered the explorers and European settlement, Aboriginal heritage, the history of the Royal Flying Doctor service, construction of the Eyre Highway, info on local flora and fauna and quite a lot more!

    We both thought it was excellent and a MUST SEE

    FREE ADMISSION

    Balladonia museum Balladonia Museum Balladonia Museum
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    BALLADONIA ROADHOUSE

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

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    Balladonia is the last town heading west, or first town heading east along the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia. This Roadhouse is a very popular stop.

    The Roadhouse is open from 5:30am to 9:30pm 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    It sells a range of groceries and supplies including bread, drinks, snacks, take-away food, batteries, maps, confectionery, personal items, motor accessories, souvenirs, newspapers and magazines. The Café serves hot and cold meals and a wide range of drinks, so we opted for a cup of coffee in our break.
    On the walls were different clocks with the different Australian time zones - Time to make sure our watches were correct!

    Souvenirs are EXPENSIVE HERE, better to buy the same thing at NORSEMAN INFO CENTRE, much cheaper.

    There is plenty of room for parking, FREE toilets, public telephones, public showers [pay], they take EFTPOS and major credit cards and sell Unleaded 91, BP Ultimate, Diesel and LPG fuel.
    There is a Hotel/Motel, Backpackers accommodation and a Caravan Park.

    Remember, you can not fill up with water here. Make sure you have brought plenty from home for when you cross the Nullarbor.

    Balladonia Roadhouse Balladonia Roadhouse Balladonia Roadhouse Balladonia Roadhouse
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    THE 90 MILE STRAIGHT

    by balhannah Updated Oct 17, 2014

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    From Caiguna we have another 183 kms to travel to the next Roadhouse at Balladonia.

    It's along this stretch of road that we have to drive along AUSTRALIA'S LONGEST STRAIGHT ROAD

    Despite using metric measurement for quite along time now, this area is still referred to as "The 90 Mile Straight." In metric terms that translates into 146.6 kilometres.

    It's on this stretch of road where a sign says to look out for wild Camels, Emus and Kangaroos! This means slow down at dawn, dusk and during the night, you wouldn't want to hit one of these!

    90 Mile straight Sign - 90 mile straight
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    CAIGUNA

    by balhannah Written Oct 17, 2014

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    Caiguna is located 64 kilometres west of Cocklebiddy.
    Pronounciation is Kiagoona, in Aboriginal word meaning "spear track."

    It was 1841 when Explorer Edward John Eyre and his expedition passed within 20 kilometres of present day Caiguna. It was here, on 29th April 1841, when John Baxter was brutally murdered by 2 fellow members of Edward John Eyre's expedition. Because of the hard limestone karst, all Eyre could do was to wrap his friend's body in a shroud, leaving it exposed to the elements. Nearly 40 years later, Baxter's remains - minus the skull was discovered, plus some other old bits and pieces.

    Caiguna Roadhouse provides a 24 hour seven days a week service, takeaway foods and snacks. EFTPOS, Public Telephone and pay shower facilities are also available.
    HEADING WEST - Fill up with fuel if your tank is near empty, as the next Roadhouse is 182 kms away at Balladonia.
    Adjacent to Caiguna's Roadhouse is the John Eyre Motel which has 10 self contained Motel Units and a caravan park with camping facilities.

    Caiguna Caiguna
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    COCKLEBIDDY

    by balhannah Updated Oct 17, 2014

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    After leaving Madura behind, we come to the unusually named Cocklebiddy at the 83km mark.

    This is the area where several large scale sheep Stations are located, some larger than a number of European countries. One such station is Arubiddy which spans an area over 3200 square kilometres.

    During its pioneering years Cocklebiddy was the site of an aboriginal mission, today, only the foundations remain.

    Cocklebiddy has the Nullarbor’s most famous cave, being the site of the world’s longest cave penetration.
    A recent collapse has rendered the cave unsafe for public entry and is now fenced off.
    Entry by permit only to registered cave expedition groups.
    Cocklebiddy cave is located 12km west of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse and 10km north of Eyre Highway1 and is not signposted.

    Cocklebiddy's Roadhouse provides takeaway foods, a licensed restaurant, and a bar with pool table. Internet, EFTPOS and public pay phone facilities are also available.

    Opening hours for the Roadhouse are 6-30AM to 10 PM seven days a week.
    Regular Bar opening hours are 10 AM to 10 PM.
    Sunday Bar hours are 10 AM to 9 PM.
    24 Motel accommodation units and a caravan Park.
    For further information telephone (08) 9039 3462

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    NEXT ROADHOUSE - MADURA

    by balhannah Written Oct 16, 2014

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    Madura is located 115 kilometres west of Mundrabilla AND is where we made our next stop.

    Originally Madura was settled as a pastoral homestead in about 1876. Not a lot is known about Madura, but well known is about the Polo and Cavalry horses being bred here for the British Imperial Indian Army. The Horses were known as "Walers". They were bred at Madura by an ex-Army Officer who overlanded them to Eucla for shipment to foreign ports. The breed was all but wiped out during World War 1.
    During World War 2, Madura was a site of importance to Australian Army engineers who were intent upon upgrading what is now known as the Eyre Highway.

    Today the Madura area is home to grazing Sheep.

    The Madura Roadhouse is located at the base of the Hampton Tablelands, you have to turn off the Eyre Highway to find it. The Roadhouse only sells fuel, LPG Gas and Super Grade fuel additive, it is the pub which does Restaurant meals and light snacks, Ice-creams, hot and cold drinks and a few souvenirs. All is expensive.
    Accommodation is provided in a Motel and Caravan Park. EFTPOS facilities are also available

    Madura Roadhouse opening hours are 6-30AM to 10-00 PM Monday to Saturday.
    Sunday hours are 6-30 AM to 9-00 PM.

    About 2kms from Madura is a brown tourist sign pointing to a lookout. The views are of the Madura pass and the Roe Plains, these stretched as far as the eye could see.

    Madura roadhouse View from the lookout at Madura
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    THE EUCLA PASS

    by balhannah Written Oct 16, 2014

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    Time to depart Eucla and head further west. Funny thing is, we have been travelling flat road for hundreds of kilometres, so it came as quite a surprise to me that we were 73 metres above sea level and had to sweep down a hill on the Eyre highway to travel along the Roe Plains.

    The view was quite good as we came down the Pass. We could see the Ocean and the road stretching out before us, nothing much than small bluebush and saltbush to look at, another long stretch before our next town which is Mundrabilla

    Eucla Pass Heading down Eucla pass The Roe Plains
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    LEEUWIN WAY WHALE

    by balhannah Updated Oct 16, 2014

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    The Leeuwin way Whale is another of Australias "BIG" things, and another photo opportunity, something to break the monotony of the Nullarbor Plain.
    This whale is approx 10m long, 3m wide and 3m high and weighs almost 4 tonnes. The Whale was made from ferro concrete in Albany as a symbol for the only shore basted whaling station in the Southern Hemisphere (Now a museum)

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    OLD TELEGRAPH STATION

    by balhannah Written Oct 16, 2014

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    We followed a rough dirt road from behind the roadhouse, that took us towards the Bight and the ruins of an old Telegraph station.

    This Telegraph Station successfully sent and received 600 telegrams a day. These travelled along iron, and later copper wire between the two states.

    The wording on the first Telegram sent was....
    "SATURDAY 7 PM (DECEMBER 8TH 1877)
    EUCLA LINE OPENED. HURRAH."

    The Telegraph station operated as two colonial terminal stations and became perhaps Australia's most important telegraphic link. It's funny that the staff from each state could only work on "their side of the border!"
    In the 1890's, Eucla became the busiest telegraph station in Australia outside the capital cities.

    What you get to see of the old Telegraph station depends on the wind and the moving sandhills on the edge of the Eucla National Park. Sometimes it is completely covered with sand, rarely completely uncovered or like we saw it, perhaps half uncovered.
    In the 1950's, the telegraph station was completely buried! Today, all that's left are its 1897 stone walls and only a portion of those are visible above the sand.

    Old Telegraph station
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    EUCLA MEMORIALS

    by balhannah Updated Oct 16, 2014

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    Beside the road down to the old Telegraph station are four Memorials.

    (1) The cross is dedicated to all Christians and to those whose effort made the Eyre Highway and a new Eucla.

    (2) One is a War Memorial which consists of two granite boulders, one on top of the other, on a red marble plinth on a concrete and stone base. It commemorates Australian servicemen and women who have served in all wars and conflicts.

    (3) Another is a memorial to Explorer Edward Eyre and his companion Wylie who camped in this vicinity.

    (4) Is in memory of some fishermen who lost their lives in the Great Australian Bight.

    We stopped for a look and found there were good views over the Nullarbor plain.

    (1) (3) (4) (2)
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