Map of the Talawana Track in WA
|Length||596 km (370 mi)|
|Built by||Len Beadell, Gunbarrel Road Construction Party|
|WNW end||Jigalong turn|
|ESE end||Windy Corner|
|Permits||may be required|
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 Gunbarrel Road Construction Party (GRCP) arrived at Callawa Station 22 July 1963, having completed 1350 kilometres of the new Gary Junction Road from Liebig Bore in the Northern Territory. Beadell's Land Rover and most of the other vehicles made their way to Port Hedland for badly needed maintenance, prior to commencing work on the next road. Once the vehicles were serviced, they made their way to Marble Bar, where Beadell parted company with the crew, as they were returning along the Gary Junction Road to regrade it, while Beadell set off in a southerly direction to begin a 600 km reconnaissance for the new track.
Beadell travelled via Nullagine, Ethel Creek Station, Billanooka (sic) and Walgun to the ruins of the abandoned Talawana homestead, where he arrived 2 August 1963. He then drove east into the Gibson Desert spinifex, and crossed the remnants of the Rabbit-proof fence. He discovered a survey marker placed by Alfred Canning who had been there 70 years earlier while building the fence. A major obstacle that lay across the path was the McKay Range, which Beadell struggled to traverse. After he found a way through, he came to a crystal clear water hole, and noticed fresh human footprints near the edge. Further on he saw smoke rising above the spinifex, so he approached the smoke, switched the engine off, and waited for a meeting with an unknown tribe which he knew would come. Soon after, two Aborigines appeared while others kept their distance. Anthropologists were very interested in this discovery, and Beadell was able to take a small study group back to the spot at a later date.
Well 23 on the Canning Stock Route was the next objective, but he was unable to find it though being close. To save time, he continued on to Karara Soak (sic) where he discovered the location of Well 24. This left 200 kilometres to travel through featureless sand and spinifex before he arrived on the cleared path of the Gary Highway. It was 7 August when he settled down to wait for the GRCP to arrive from the north, and for the next five days, the wind was so strong that he was barely able to leave the shelter of his vehicle. This led to his naming of the future corner where he camped, "Windy Corner".
When the GRCP arrived at Windy Corner, the clutch on the grader was inoperative, so it was decided to tow it behind a three ton truck to Giles for repairs. This resulted in a six-week delay to progress. The original mechanic Rex Flatman was flown to Giles from Maralinga to carry out the repairs. Meanwhile, Beadell flew back to Adelaide as his young boy Gary was to be christened. Once the grader was repaired, work on the Talawana road recommenced on 24 September, with Doug Stoneham as the driver.
Progress was good to Well 24, so Beadell went ahead to search for Well 23 once more. He found it almost immediately, but further problems arose with the gearbox on the grader. The point was 160 kilometres from their destination, and another month's delay resulted. Beadell planned to drive to Rawlinna on the Trans-Australian Railway, to pick up the mechanic and parts, but when 120 kilometres from camp, the gearbox in the Land Rover lost several cogs, and he was restricted in gear selection. This caused a change in plan whereby he drove to Warburton to await the mechanic's arrival by air. It was during two weeks here that Beadell started writing his first book Too Long in the Bush. When the Rover's gearbox was repaired, they proceeded to the broken down grader and repaired its gearbox. Road-building restarted on 30 October and Talawana was reached on 6 November 1963. From there Beadell drove to Ethel Creek to meet with anthropologists, who he took back to visit the unknown tribe, and Stoneham with the rest of the crew regraded the Talawana track on their way back to Giles. Thus road-building by Beadell and the GRCP on behalf of the Woomera rocket range had ended following eight years of desert work, isolation, heat, dust, and flies.
The length of track made by the GRCP from Windy Corner to the abandoned Talawana ruins was 451 kilometres, where it joined existing station tracks. km west of Well 24 on the Canning Stock Route. The Talawana Track and Canning Stock Route are coincident between wells 23 and 24. When Beadell first came to the area in 1963, there was no evidence of the stock route's previous existence apart from the old wells and associated wood and metalwork fittings.Access to the southern end of Rudall River National Park is via the Talawana track, at a turn 129
Survey of the Talawana track was unusual in that Beadell began at the opposite end from where work started. His reason was that over the years, he had noticed that parallel sand ridges often came together at the western extremity, resulting in an insurmountable trap. He decided to approach from the western end, which kept him in open ended valleys between the dunes.From the beginning of construction of the Gary Highway in April 1963, the bulldozer had been dispensed with, so all subsequent road construction relied on the grader.
According to Mark Shephard's biography of Beadell, Len preferred to call his last road the Windy Corner Road.
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 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".
Woomera, officially Woomera Village, is a town located in the Far North region of South Australia in Australia, approximately 446 kilometres (277 mi) north of Adelaide. In common usage, "Woomera" also refers to the wider RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC), a large Australian Defence Force aerospace and systems testing range covering an area of approximately 122,000 square kilometres (47,000 sq mi) operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.
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.
RAAF Base Woomera (WMA), was proclaimed by Chief of Air Force Directive in January 2015. RAAF Base Woomera and the RAAF Woomera Test Range (WTR) are the two formations which make up the RAAF Woomera Range Complex (WRC). RAAF Base Woomera consists of two sectors, 'Base Sector North' which is a restricted access area and includes Camp Rapier. the entrance to the Woomera Test Range and the RAAF Woomera Airfield. 'Base Sector South' is accessible by the public and essentially encompasses that part of RAAF Base Woomera long referred to as the Woomera Village. Woomera Village is often quoted as a 'remote town'. It is not a 'town', but rather an 'open base' of the RAAF. The 'village' has previously always functioned as an Australian Government/Defence Force garrison facility until it was fully incorporated into RAAF Base Woomera in 2015.
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.
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.
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 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.
Giles Airport services the Warakurna Community and the Giles Weather Station in eastern Western Australia. The airstrip was built during April and May 1956 by a team led by Len Beadell as part of establishing the weather station for the British nuclear tests at Maralinga and the Woomera Test Range. It is adjacent to the Gunbarrel Highway and the more recently constructed Great Central Road.
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.