Existing Member?

Grga Pitic: "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Nambawan!

Perth to Melbourne

Be prepared when crossing the Nullarbor, WA

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 3 October 2014 | Views [98] | Comments [1]

Be prepared when crossing the Nullarbor, WA

Comments

1

Historically, the Nullarbor, considered by Europeans to be almost uninhabitable, was used by the semi-nomadic Aborigines, the Spinifex and Wangai peoples. It was used for thousands of years before that by prehistoric Aborigines.

Despite the hardships created by the nature of the Nullarbor, European settlers were determined to cross the plain. Although Edward John Eyre described the Plain as "a hideous anomaly, a blot on the face of Nature, the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams", he became the first European to successfully make the crossing in 1841. Eyre departed Fowlers Bay, South Australia on 17 November 1840 with John Baxter and a party of three Aboriginal men. When three of his horses died of dehydration, he returned to Fowler's Bay. He departed with a second expedition on 25 February 1841. By 29 April, the party had reached Caiguna. Lack of supplies and water led to a mutiny. Two of the Aborigines killed Baxter and took the party's supplies. Eyre and the third Aborigine, Wylie, continued on their journey, surviving through bushcraft and some fortuitous circumstances, such as receiving some supplies from a French whaling vessel anchored at Rossiter Bay. They completed their crossing in June 1841.

In August 1865, while travelling across the Nullarbor, E.A. Delisser in his journal named both Nullarbor and Eucla for the first time.

On 25 December 1896, after an arduous journey of thirty-one days, Arthur Charles Jeston Richardson became the first cyclist to cross the Nullarbor Plain, pedaling his bicycle from Coolgardie to Adelaide. Carrying only a small kit and a water-bag, he followed the telegraph line as he crossed the Nullarbor. He later described the heat as "1,000 degrees in the share". During their three-year cycling trip around Australia between 1946 and 1949, Wendy Law Suart and Shirley Duncan became the first women to cycle across the Plain.

The first person to walk across Australia, Henri Gilbert, crossed the Nullarbor Plain on foot, with no support team or stock, in the middle of summer. His walk across Australia was achieved between August 1897 and December 1898 (Fremantle to Brisbane).

A proposed new state of Auralia (meaning "land of gold") would have comprised the Goldfields, the western portion of the Nullarbor Plain and the port town of Esperance. Its capital would have been Kalgoorlie.

During the British nuclear tests at Maralinga in the 1950s, the government forced the Wangai to abandon their homeland. Since then they have been awarded compensation, and many have returned to the general area. Others never left. Due to their isolation, the government was not able to reach all of the people to warn about evacuating before the testing.

Some agricultural interests are on the fringe of the plain including the 2.5 million acre Rawlinna Station, the largest sheep station in the world, on the Western Australian side of the plain. The property was established in 1962 by Hugh G. MacLachlan, of the South Australian pastoral family, the station has a comparatively short history compared to other properties of its type around Australia. An older property is Madura Station, situated closer to the coast, it has a size of 1.7 million acres and is also stocked with sheet. Madura was established prior to 1927, the extent of the property at that time was reported as two million acres.

In 2011 South Australian Premier Mike Rann announced that a huge area of the Nullarbor, stretching almost 200 km from the WA border to the Great Australian Bight, would be given formal Wilderness Protection Status. Mr Rann said the move would double the area of land in South Australia under environmental protection, to 1.8 million hectares. The area contains 390 species of plants and a large number of habitats for rare species of animals and birds.



Road sign
"Crossing the Nullarbor", for many Australians, is a quintessential experience of the "Australian Outback". Stickers bought from roadhouses on the highway show "I have crossed the Nullarbor", and can be seen on vehicles of varying quality or capacity for long distance travel. The process of "beating the crowds" on overbooked air services at the time of special sporting events can also see significant numbers of vehicles on the road.

Crossings in the 1950s and earlier were significant, as most of the route then was a dirt track. Round-Australia car trials (the Redex Trials) used the Nullarbor crossing for good photo shoots of cars negotiating poor track.

  No Water Dec 14, 2014 9:09 AM

Add your comments

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image.
Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



< previous
112 of 234
next >

Photo Galleries

Where I've been

My trip journals