AnswerID: 485121 Submitted: Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 13:07
Doug - A good write-up for Sunday, thanks for the effort. I can recall I went North from Perth
in July 1969 with a mate in my near-new HK Holden ute, for a months tour that encompassed the length of W.A., across to Darwin
, back down to Adelaide
and then back to Perth
When we got to the (now defunct) Barradale Roadhouse, on the banks of the Yannarie River, we were met with two things that would be a sign of things to come, travelling North.
The first, was the end of the sealed road, and the start of the N.W. Coastal Hwy "track" (you couldn't call it a road) - and the second was a fully loaded, tri-axle low-loader, bogged to the makers name in the floodway crossing of the Yannarie River (there were very few bridges then, unlike today).
Once we got past the bogged float, and headed North again, the N.W. Coastal Hwy was just two wheeltracks across the red plains. Every few miles
you'd get a shock as you suddenly came across a massive hole in the "Highway", where a semi had gone down, and been dragged out, leaving a huge, unmarked hole.
I can remember talking to an old Slav prospector in the Goldfields in the late 1970's. Mick had come out here in 1923, and worked mostly between Kalgoorlie
. We were discussing the new, vastly improved, widened Coolgardie
Rd that had been recently built.
Mick said - "You wanna know something? They reckon that highway cost a million dollars a mile! You know what? It's worth every cent of it! When I first drove down from Widgiemooltha in 1923, the road was so bad, with bulldust, bogholes, corrugations, and ruts - you spent more time driving through the bush ALONGSIDE the road, than you did actually ON the road
So, in one succint statement, old Mick summed up what good roads mean to us nowadays. The ability to travel long distances with little damage to vehicles, the ability to have our supplies delivered to us at low cost, and the ability for people to live in remote areas without the many deprivations that our older generations endured.
Cheers - Ron.
Reply 5 of 8
FollowupID: 760415 Submitted:
Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 20:58
Member - Doug T (NT) posted:
A good long reply Ron, and thanks, I went from Perth
in my 1962 EK Holden in 1967, it was ok until I turned of at Roebourne to Marble Bar
, from then on the sealed road was in or near towns , the 80 mile beach was quite a drive back then , nothing for 400 miles
and the road was very close to the ocean with white sand.
No sealed road until within 34 miles
, but I really enjoyed the trip.
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FollowupID: 760450 Submitted:
Monday, May 07, 2012 at 14:19
Member - Dunworkin (WA) posted:
"Mick said - "You wanna know something? They reckon that highway cost a million dollars a mile! You know what? It's worth every cent of it! When I first drove down from Widgiemooltha in 1923, the road was so bad, with bulldust, bogholes, corrugations, and ruts - you spent more time driving through the bush ALONGSIDE the road, than you did actually ON the road
I remember, as a young
kid back in the 50's and 60's, doing that across the Nullabor, over the years we were doing bush detours around detours. LOL
Great History Lesson as usual Doug, I remember doing that Highway towing a caravan (with 4 young
kids) in 1980, towed that van over all the roads up through there, including Wittenoom and Tom Price
, the then Hammersley Range, but the worst patch of road that we travelled was between Fitzroy Crossing
and Halls Creek
, it was horrendous when we traversed it, we were fortunate that the van held together and we got no dust in the van, (mirracle), the only damage was broken eggs in the fridge, I was happy with that. :) :) :)
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