Anne Beadell Highway

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Anne Beadell Highway

South Australia
Anne Beadell Highway 2006.jpg
Anne Beadell Highway in South Australia. Heavy rain has washed out corrugations
Anne Beadell Highway
General information
Type Track
Length1,325 km (823 mi)
Major junctions
West endLeonora-Laverton Road, Laverton
East endAustralian national highway A87.svg Stuart Highway (National Highway A87), Coober Pedy
Region Goldfields-Esperance (WA)
Eyre and Western (SA) [1]
Far North (SA) [1]
Permits1 to 4 required
Fuel supply Ilkurlka 28°21′S127°31′E / 28.350°S 127.517°E / -28.350; 127.517

The Anne Beadell Highway is an outback unsealed track linking Coober Pedy, South Australia, and Laverton, Western Australia, a total distance of 1,325 km (823 mi). [2] The track was surveyed and built by Len Beadell, Australian surveyor, who named it after his wife. [3] The track passes through remote arid deserts and scrub territory of South Australia and Western Australia, which often have summer temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Sand dunes predominate for most of the track.


Map and overview

The road was constructed to provide access for a series of surveys adding to the overall geodetic survey of unexplored parts of Australia. The information was required for rocket range projects at Woomera. [4] Construction was completed in five stages, spanning nine years from 1953 to 1962. The first stage from Mabel Creek station near Coober Pedy, west towards Emu Field, was built in February and March 1953 to provide access for British atomic tests at Emu Field. [5] This stage preceded the formation of Beadell's Gunbarrel Road Construction Party, and was the first road built by Beadell. [5]

The second stage was begun in July 1957 in the reverse direction, from Anne's Corner towards Emu Field, after Beadell had completed the Mount Davies Road in the north-west of South Australia. The third stage was commenced in August 1961, running westward from Anne's Corner to Vokes Hill. In April 1962 the fourth stage proceeded west from Vokes Hill, beyond Serpentine Lakes towards the future Neale Junction where the construction party arrived on 16 August. [5] From Neale Junction during August and September 1962 the north-south Connie Sue Highway was constructed between Warburton and Rawlinna. The fifth stage of the Anne Beadell Highway was then commenced, and was completed at Yamarna near Lake Yeo when it joined an existing track to Laverton on 17 November 1962. [6]

Beadell put considerable effort into rediscovering Vokes Hill while surveying the track, as a new device called a Tellurometer was being introduced. It used radio waves for distance measurement, thus requiring high points for operation. [6]

Fuel and supplies

The track is suitable for only well-provisioned and experienced four-wheel drivers. There are no settlements between Coober Pedy and Laverton. A roadhouse named Ilkurlka in Western Australia, opened in 2003, 167 km (104 mi) west of the Western Australia - South Australian state border at the intersection of the Madura Loongana Track (Aboriginal Business Road) and the Anne Beadell Highway. The roadhouse caters mainly for local Aboriginal communities and may be the most isolated roadhouse in Australia. There are still no provisions for the 780 km (480 mi) between Ilkurlka and Coober Pedy.

Places of interest

Neale Junction, where the Anne Beadell Highway intersects with the Connie Sue Highway (another outback track constructed by Len Beadell), is 172 km (107 mi) west of Ilkurlka.

This plane wreck provides a sudden change in scenery on an isolated road (28deg16'24.38''S 126deg58'17.72''E / 28.2734389degS 126.9715889degE / -28.2734389; 126.9715889) Anne Beadell Hwy plane wreck.jpg
This plane wreck provides a sudden change in scenery on an isolated road ( 28°16′24.38″S126°58′17.72″E / 28.2734389°S 126.9715889°E / -28.2734389; 126.9715889 )

The track passes through the former British atomic test site of Emu Field, rabbit and dog fences, restricted nature conservation areas, and Aboriginal lands, all of which require permits to pass through.

Also of interest is the wreck of a light aircraft near the track in Western Australia. The road also passes through Mamungari Conservation Park in South Australia which is one of Australia's fourteen World Biosphere Reserves and the Tallaringa Conservation Park. [7] [8] [9]


Because the track is remote and not signposted, GPS is advisable and HF radio or satellite phone are recommended. In good conditions, it may take 5 days to complete the journey. However, hazards such as flat tyres, breakdowns, and the occasional flash floods must be taken into account.

See also

Related Research Articles

Outback Area in Australia

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Connie Sue Highway

The Connie Sue Highway is an outback unsealed track that runs between the Aboriginal community of Warburton on the Great Central Road and Rawlinna on the Trans-Australian Railway. It lies entirely in the state of Western Australia, crosses the Great Victoria Desert and Nullarbor Plain and is approximately 650 km (400 mi) long.

Gunbarrel Highway

The Gunbarrel Highway is an isolated desert track in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. It consists of about 1,350 km (840 mi) of washaways, heavy corrugations, stone, sand and flood plains. The Gunbarrel Highway connects Victory Downs in the Northern Territory to Carnegie Station in Western Australia. Some sources incorrectly show the highway extending west to Wiluna. The road was built as part of Australia's role in the weapons research establishment called Woomera which included Emu Field and Maralinga, both atomic bomb testing sites. The name comes from Len Beadell's Gunbarrel Road Construction Party so named as his intention was to build roads as straight as a gunbarrel.

Len Beadell

Leonard Beadell OAM BEM FIEMS was a surveyor, road builder, bushman, artist and author, responsible for constructing over 6,000 km (3,700 mi) of roads and opening up isolated desert areas – some 2.5 million square kilometres – of central Australia from 1947 to 1963. Born in West Pennant Hills, New South Wales, Beadell is sometimes called "the last true Australian explorer".

Great Central Road

The Great Central Road is a mostly unsealed Australian outback highway that runs 1,126 km (700 mi) from Laverton, Western Australia to Yulara, Northern Territory. It passes through a number of small communities on the way.

Ilkurlka Community, Western Australia

Ilkurlka Community is a small community and roadhouse on the Anne Beadell Highway in Western Australia.

Gary Highway

The Gary Highway is a remote unsealed track in central Western Australia running through the Gibson Desert and the Great Sandy Desert. It was built by Len Beadell's Gunbarrel Road Construction Party in April and May 1963 and named after Beadell's son who was born in February that year. It connects the Gunbarrel Highway from Everard Junction in the south, to the Gary Junction Road at Gary Junction in the north. It is one of only two north-south tracks in the central deserts of Western Australia, the other being the Sandy Blight Junction Road, also built by Len Beadell.

Neale Junction

Neale Junction is an isolated location in the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia, where the Anne Beadell and Connie Sue Highways intersect. It is 172 km (107 mi) west of Ilkurlka. Neale Junction was named after Commander Frank Neale, who flew a Percival Gull through the area during the Mackay Aerial Reconnaissance Survey Expedition to Western and South Australia in 1935.

Sandy Blight Junction Road

The Sandy Blight Junction Road is a remote outback track in Australia joining the Great Central Road, Western Australia and Gary Junction Road, Northern Territory. It was built under the direction of legendary surveyor Len Beadell as part of a network of roads for the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia. It is located approximately 500 km (310 mi) west of Alice Springs.

Gunbarrel Road Construction Party

The Gunbarrel Road Construction Party (GRCP) was the name bestowed upon a team of road builders by Len Beadell in 1955, after which the well known outback track Gunbarrel Highway was named. Over a period of eight years, Beadell and the GRCP built more than 6,000 kilometres of dirt roads in remote areas of central Australia for the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia. By the time they had completed their work in December 1963, the GRCP had built eleven major roads in twenty-four separate stages across South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Gary Junction Road

The Gary Junction Road is an outback unsealed road in Australia built by Len Beadell in the 1960s as part of a network of roads for the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia. In its original form, the Gary Junction Road ran from Liebig bore in the Northern Territory to Callawa Station in Western Australia. On present day maps, it is depicted as running from the Tanami Road to Gary Junction, just east of the Canning Stock Route, a distance of 852 kilometres. The road was named after Beadell's only son Gary.

Talawana Track

The Talawana Track is a remote unsealed track that runs between Windy Corner on the Gary Highway and the Marble Bar Road in Western Australia, a distance of 596 kilometres. The majority of it was built by Len Beadell and the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party in 1963 as part of a series of connecting roads for the Woomera rocket range in South Australia. It was the final road they built.

Mount Davies Road Track in South Australia

The Mount Davies Road is a remote unsealed outback track which runs from Mount Davies (Pipalyatjara) in the far north-west corner of South Australia to Anne's Corner on the Anne Beadell Highway 397 kilometres to the south-east. It was built during 1956 and 1957 by the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party (GRCP) surveyed and led by Len Beadell for the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia.

Carnegie Station

Carnegie Station, or Carnegie pastoral lease, is located north of Laverton and east of Wiluna in Western Australia and is the most eastern of pastoral leases found on the Gunbarrel Highway.

Tallaringa Conservation Park Protected area in South Australia

Tallaringa Conservation Park is a protected area located in the west of the Australian state of South Australia about 615 kilometres north west of the city of Port Augusta and about 90 kilometres west of the town of Coober Pedy. The conservation park was proclaimed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 in 1991.

Jackie Junction

Jackie Junction is a remote location in Western Australia on the Gunbarrel Highway. It was named by the road builder Len Beadell after his youngest daughter and is at the junction of the original Gunbarrel Highway and the road to Warburton. It is 69 kilometres (43 mi) north of Warburton.

Mount Beadell

Mount Beadell is a mountain located in the Gibson Desert region of Western Australia. It is named after surveyor and explorer Len Beadell, builder of the Gunbarrel Highway. The location is very remote being 155 km (96 mi) west of Jackie Junction and 295 km (183 mi) east of Carnegie Station, the western terminus of the original Gunbarrel Highway.

Maralinga to Emu Road

The Maralinga to Emu Road is a remote unsealed outback track that links Maralinga to Emu in the western region of South Australia. It was built by Len Beadell for the Weapons Research Establishment of Salisbury, South Australia in 1955.

Vokes Hill Corner to Cook Road

The Vokes Hill Corner to Cook Road is a remote unsealed outback track that links Vokes Hill Corner on the Anne Beadell Highway to Cook on the Trans-Australian Railway in the far west of South Australia. It was built by Len Beadell for the Australian Government's Weapons Research Establishment in late 1961.

Mount Clarence Station, South Australia Suburb of Pastoral Unincorporated Area, South Australia

Mount Clarence Station is a locality in the Australian state of South Australia located about 771 kilometres (479 mi) north-west of the state capital of Adelaide and about 37 kilometres (23 mi) west of the town of Coober Pedy.


  1. 1 2 "South Australian Government Regions" (PDF). Government of South Australia. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  2. Hema, Maps (2005). Australia’s Great Desert Tracks SW Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN   1-86500-161-9.
  3. Beadell, Len (1967). Bush Bashers. New Holland Publishers (Australia). ISBN   1-86436-734-2.
  4. Beadell, Len (1971). Bush Bashers. New Holland Publishers (Australia). p. 3. ISBN   1864367342.
  5. 1 2 3 Shephard, Mark (1998). A Lifetime in the Bush:The biography of Len Beadell. Adelaide: Corkwood Press. ISBN   1876247053.
  6. 1 2 Bayly, Ian (2009). Len Beadell's Legacy. Seaford Vic 3198: Bas Publishing. p. 82. ISBN   9781921496028.CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. "South Australia's National Parks Guide (Flinders Ranges and Outback)" (PDF). Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. 2013. p. 41. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  8. "Australia's Biosphere Reserves". Parks Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  9. "Biosphere Reserve Information for ' UNNAMED'". UNESCO . Retrieved 3 November 2014.