Balladonia to Esperance Road, deception and lies from Shire of Dundas

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 20:27
ThreadID: 135769 Views:13275 Replies:8 FollowUps:14
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Posting what I posted to the Shire of Dundas FB page unchanged below:


Shire of Dundas, Turning off the Nullabor west-bound to take a shortcut from Balladonia to Esperance on Balladonia Road, travellers are greeted by this ominous (and clearly wrong) sign of yours below.

Beyond this sign, the next 61km (your responsibility) are unadulterated goat track which would shake a regular car to pieces. However unlike the sign, which forebodes of even worse road beyond your piece of it, at the precise point at which your sign indicates the road will get worse, I am greeted by the Shire of Esperance border and the whole 200km rest of the way promptly goes from goat track to virtually highway standard!

Conversely the 61km Shire of Dundas stretch is a legitimate barrier for travellers to get to Esperance. It's not even signposted as a route at Balladonia along Eyre Hwy. This road can remain unsealed as far as I'm concerned, but are you trying to prevent visitors from going to Esperance here or is there another explanation for your incorrect signage, and your 61km stretch not being graded at least once every few years?
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:01

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:01
I wouldn't get your shorts in knots too much.

These are standard signs used by MANY local shires, majority of these roads are LUCKY to have grader put over them every year more likely 2-3 years.

Why because unlike mine haul roads shires don't have sufficient funds to send a contractor out to grade them constantly, if a minesite does operate in area and does use the road then for own interests they may maintain it but no obligation to do so.

Rain will change these conditions within a instant with roads closed (to protect roads) earlier this year (February) unprecedented rainfall across whole state had this area closed for 3-4 months due to inundation one area east of hopetown they expect road to eb "closed for few years" same event filled lake dumbleyung expect that to dry up 2-3 years time

Furthermore the only reason why they don't endorse the "shortcut " is because balladonia r/house and Norseman road houses are operated by same family/company and has been like this for many years.

Obviously they want your trade so they won't encourage you to use the "short cut" as most vehicles won't have the range to get from balladonia down to esperance on one fill it takes two via bitumen.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:11

Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 11:11
And therein is probably why a grader wont be seen out there...vested interests wouldn't want it!! Gotta love greed!!
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Reply By: Sven S - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:18

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:18
you validated exactly what i was saying.. it’s more on the side of wrong than right. when i asked at the roadhouse (where i, incidentally dropped $140 on the counter for fuel) specifically about the balladonia/parmango road the manager looked at me like i came from another planet and no such road existed.
that’s not country courtesy its bs.
balladonia r/house and Norseman road houses are operated by same family/company and has been like this for many years. Obviously they want your trade so they won't encourage you to use the "short cut" as most vehicles won't have the range to get from balladonia down to esperance on one fill it takes two via bitumen.”
= just not right
edit: it all makes sense now..
https://thewest.com.au/news/regional/lib-bags-premier-on-tourist-drive-ng-b88403265z
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Follow Up By: tazbaz - Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 07:56

Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 07:56
There were two fuel outlets at Norseman when we went through two years ago. The fuel at roadhouse was the more expensive, so another reason to avoid it
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:21

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:21
On fuel, yes Tazbaz, the Caltex in the main street used to be cheaper than the BP Roadhouse, but last couple of years, BP has been the more favourable price. It pays to check on Fuel Watch.

Balladonia is one to be cautious about (and it is not on Fuel Watch). We purchased fuel there in July at $1.622. On our return in September, we found the price was $1.73, an increase of almost 11 cents a litre.Norseman BP had risen 6 cents in the same time period. Eucla and Mundrabilla remained constant.

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Follow Up By: Sven S - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:49

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:49
Balladonia was $1.79. Their "friends" at Cocklebiddy and Madura (owned by the same ppl) were the same.. price fixing?? Mundrabilla and Eucla "not friends"?? were both cheaper. These guys are price fixers, no country courtesy. I've lived and travelled all over country. I've come across a lot of great human beings. The owners here in my opinion are not so great.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 08:26

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 08:26
Another 'App' for fuel prices is Fuel Map. It is from the same people who produced Wikicamps. Although it is 'updated' by users, I find it a fairly accurate guide.
For instance yesterday Balladonia was 176.4. Norseman BP 144.0 and Caltex 145.9
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Reply By: rocco2010 - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:36

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:36
Local councils look after their ratepayers.

Much of Parmango Road between the Esperance Shire boundary and Condingup passes through farmland.

Those farmers want a good road to cart stock and grain.

I don't think there are any working properties at the Dundas Shire end so I guess the council chooses to allocate its time and money elsewhere.

Sad you had such a bad experience. It's interesting country out there (well i think so anyway) and a rough road is just part of it.

Cheers



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Reply By: wholehog - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:56

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 21:56
Thanks for that, I'll take that road next time..and screw Norseman roadhouse...
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:44

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:44
Fuel is still a lot cheaper there than at Balladonia Wholehog.
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Reply By: Sven S - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 22:41

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 22:41
Yes on a positive note it was stunning. I've lived and travelled all over the country, 15K km in the past 2 months alone from Perth to Cape Leveque, across to Cairns via Warakurna, back through Birdsville, and now en route back home to Perth. I must say, that piece of the woodlands was a revelation. Beautiful.

I stumbled on some abandoned 100+ yo homesteads that were restored by kind generous people and just sitting there as free accomodation. I thought I'd seen it all, and that that sort of thing just didn't exist anymore. Deralinya Homestead the one I stopped at was called. There were another 3 or 4 within 50km that I didn't have a chance to see. I think all of these can be accessed from Esperance-side along Parmango Road, which is easier going.

Having thought previously there wasn't much between Balladonia and Esperance, this trip was a revelation. Will definitely return!

Cheers
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 22:48

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 22:48
Glad you liked it. If you want more adventure head down to Israelite Bay.

Camped just up the road from Deralinya but had a good wander about the homestead.

Not hard to imagine what life was like out there for the pioneers. Tough.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - brucek - Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 23:32

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 at 23:32
Dean & Sven, Absolutely right.
We went through there about 18 months ago and asked at Balladonia, and it was almost as if they didn't know of the road. More asking from others proffered the "fact" that the first 20 klms was the worst, even terrible. We were not satisfied, so as tour leaders so we took the C5 down there as a recce for the next day. It was a good road so off we went the next day. it was quite OK apart from some 150mm rocks in the road on some places, which were a bit hard to avoid at 70klm.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:29

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:29
Balladonia Roadhouse is staffed by internationals (backpackers), who know nothing about the area.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 15:52

Thursday, Oct 19, 2017 at 15:52
Where I live, the shire is 53,935 sq km in area.

Probably to cover most legalities, they have erected the signs, as pictured below:



With many kilometres of roads within the Shire, it's difficult to ensure all are in good order, all the time. By coincidence, some of the sections of roads near the Shire boundaries are a little "neglected."

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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:43

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 00:43
The Shire of Esperance is not good about maintenance on lesser used roads either. A preferred route for us is the Norseman-Lake King Road and we have found it a reasonable road. Having missed this road on our previous trip as it was closed due to rain, our plan was to head east this year on the Hyden-Norseman Road and return via the Norseman-Lake King Road in part to visit Peak Charles.

This year it was a very different story on the Shire of Esperance side. Looks like it has had NO maintenance in years. After a very slow drive for first 14 kilometres, dodging holes and branches, we met another couple who had come the other way. Bush travellers, they had also never seen it so bad. They described washouts ‘this deep’ that they said we would not be able to tow our caravan through. This only applied to the Shire of Esperance side. They said the Shire of Lake Grace side was in top condition and you could travel on it at 100 kph. We went as far as Peak Charles then returned to the highway to go via Esperance. Cost cutting by councils with tight budgets is something we met in New South Wales as well.

In this age of litigation, signs are used to cover themselves; roads say "not suitable for - - -", taps say "Untreated water - boil before use". This and budget economies on in this instance a road that we have been told is a closed road (not maintained at all) for over ten years. It was poorly maintained (probably hadn't seen a grader for many years) when we went from Condingup to Balladonia in 2005. The rural Parmango Road was well maintained; the next two section were not.
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Follow Up By: noggins - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 08:50

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 08:50
I have been wondering about that road for years and would like to know the real condition of it at present.
Could you get a caravan down it as we're eventually heading out to Israelite Bay coming from the border and it would cut heaps of travel off from the trip.

xxz
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 09:57

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 09:57
We came up it a couple of years ago with our small van and it wasn't too bad as we'd done the usual like tyre pressures and kept the speed down. Stayed over night off the road somewhere...... nothing else came past all night.
Early this year we came up from Mt Ragged with just the Landie and that top part from where the tracks join was very corrugated but we managed by driving slow and trying to pick our route.
It was definitely rough but still manageable.
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 10:30

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 10:30
I was talking to a traveller at Norseman at Easter who had come from Lake King and he said the road had been badly damaged in the summer rains that caused floods and general havoc in that region.

I guess it takes time to get out and do repairs on these roads in the more distant parts.


Cheers
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 11:33

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 11:33
You can take a caravan through to Condingup (or vice versa) Noggins, if travelling slowly, eyes on the road at all times, and with reduced tyre pressure - normal unmaintained road routine. It will save distance but maybe not time. However it as something different if you have been on the main roads a few times. In dry weather there is nothing that needs four wheel drive engaged or high clearance. There have been more recent travellers than us replying.

We did not choose the Mount Ragged Road due to possible width issues.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 11:40

Friday, Oct 20, 2017 at 11:40
Regarding the side track about the Norseman-Lake King Road Rocco, it is rather more than recent storm damage. With the vegetation, I doubt it has seen a grader for some years. In fairness, the southern section back to the highway was in better condition that the northern route we had come, perhaps maintained more recently than the rest to allow access to Peak Charles National Park. The middle section through the Frank Hann NP has always been potholed but passable.
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Monday, Oct 23, 2017 at 20:45

Monday, Oct 23, 2017 at 20:45
I drove down the first 35-odd km from Balladonia to Nanambinia last Friday and it was ROUGH. I certainly wouldn't want to pull a caravan over it or the next 30-odd km until the Esperance shire boundary, from where it is a fully sheeted and maintained gravel road.

On the general point about shire roads though, shires do not have unlimited budgets and they will generally only maintain roads that provide an economic return to their ratepayers. Why on earth the Esperance shire, with a massive network of over 4,000 km of roads, would maintain the Lake King to Peak Charles Road is a complete mystery to me. Certainly if I were the Esperance Shire engineer, I wouldn't be expending scarce resources on such a low priority for them.
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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