Connie Sue Highway
Connie Sue Highway (blue and white)
|Length||650 km (404 mi)|
|Permits||1 required for Warburton|
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.
The Warburton-Rawlinna road was pioneered as part of a network of roads for the Weapons Research Establishment at Woomera, South Australia. Surveying began in July 1962, when Len Beadell, with wife Anne and baby Connie Sue, left Adelaide and travelled via the Stuart Highway and the Gunbarrel Highway to Warburton. From there they bushbashed roughly 300 km (190 mi) south in his Land Rover, until reaching the approximate latitude of the Anne Beadell Highway, which was under construction from the east. Turning east, they drove another 150 km (93 mi) through the Great Victoria desert to a point west of Serpentine Lakes to join up with his Gunbarrel Road Construction Party (GRCP). They ran out of fuel and water about 10 km (6.2 mi) short of their destination, but with the aid of radio and flares, were joined by their team.
Beadell and family then began a reconnaissance west towards Neale Junction, followed by the GRCP. After two weeks of intense activity during August, the Anne Beadell Highway reached Neale Junction. From there, Beadell and party then commenced building a new road north towards Warburton. Just north of Neale Junction, Beadell's infant daughter Connie Sue was observed standing up for the first time in her tea-chest bassinet. It was decided there and then that the Warburton-Rawlinna road would be known as the Connie Sue Highway.The 320 kilometre section of new road reached Warburton on 15 September. After obtaining supplies, the construction team turned south and by early October were back at Neale Junction. Beadell then began surveying south towards Rawlinna to make the southern half of the new Connie Sue Highway. The GRCP with bulldozer and grader followed Beadell's tracks, constructing the road as they went. By the end of October the road was completed, and the Beadell family returned to Adelaide via the Eyre Highway.
Approximately halfway along the route is Neale Junction, 172 km (107 mi) west of Ilkurlka, where the highway intersects with another outback road, the Anne Beadell Highway.
The road, like many Len Beadell built, is a "highway" in name only. It is remote and does not carry regular traffic. There is no available ground water and it is one of the longest stretches in Australia between fuel pumps. The only place on the highway that sells fuel is Warburton. There is no fuel for sale at Rawlinna. The closest available is more than 100 km (62 mi) to the south, at Caiguna or Cocklebiddy, on the Eyre Highway.
The track is not considered suitable for unprepared travellers. A free permit is required to travel on track in the Ngaanyatjarrak determination area and to enter Warburton.Obtaining a permit for the track requires a minimum of five working days turnaround.
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.
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".
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). The track was surveyed and built by Len Beadell, Australian surveyor, who named it after his wife. 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. Sand dunes predominate for most of the track.
Rawlinna is a remote locality and railway siding on the Trans-Australian Railway in Western Australia. It is also the site of a small lime mine, in which the lime is extracted from the limestone that is prevalent in the area. The lime is mostly used in the gold production process at Kalgoorlie.
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 is a small community and roadhouse on the Anne Beadell Highway in Western Australia.
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.
Giles Weather Station is located in Western Australia near the Northern Territory border, about 750 kilometres (470 mi) west-south-west of Alice Springs and 330 kilometres (210 mi) west of Uluru. It is the only staffed weather station within an area of about 2,500,000 square kilometres (970,000 sq mi) and is situated mid-continent and near the core of the subtropical jetstream. This means it plays an important role as a weather and climate observatory for the country, particularly eastern and southeastern Australia, and particularly for rainfall predictions. The station is on the Great Central Road and the nearest township is the Warakurna Aboriginal settlement, 5 kilometres (3 mi) North. Giles is within the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and is in the foothills of the Rawlinson Ranges.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.