Great Central Road condition

Hi All: Thinking about travelling along the Great Central Road east to west in August. As there has been a lot of rain this year, which will be great for the wild flowers, does anyone have any recent knowledge of the condition of the road? Thanks in advance. Georgie
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Reply By: Gramps - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 18:38

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 18:38
Travelled Warburton to Laverton in April this year. A four lane gravel highway for the most part. The usual proviso of travelling to conditions.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 19:13

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 19:13
Al, how's the new visitor centre going in Lavo?

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Follow Up By: Gramps - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 20:20

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 20:20
Gees Al, I should have known someone would ask a difficult question :)
I really didn't go looking for it. I was just a blur, off Connie Sue, down to Lavo and on to Anne Beadell next morning LOL

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 20:23

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 20:23
ah fair enough, know the get up and go feeling well :-)

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Reply By: Member - GeorgieM - Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 19:30

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 at 19:30
Thanks for your prompt response, this is helpful. Cheers Georgie
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 08:44

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 08:44
Hi Georgie,

Not meaning to sound like a smart @&$e, but any information on the conditions of the GCR posted now will be incorrect by the time you travel in August. All indications are that there will be a lot of travellers out and about this year, so the road conditions will change from week to week. You would be better asking this question a week out from your intended travel time. Also, what one persons idea of the conditions will be different from another, so you need to take it all “with a grain of salt”. I would humbly suggest you contact the various roadhouses along your intended route closer to your travel time for the latest information on the road conditions.

Macca.
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Follow Up By: Member - GeorgieM - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:10

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:10
Thanks Macca for your advice, will check roadhouses closer to the time. Georgie
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Reply By: lkyphl - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 09:14

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 09:14
I towed a van west-east along the GCR in early June and found it quite good apart from a couple of roughish sections near Docker River, but as Macca says, my "quite good" might be your "dreadful".

The people in the pop-up visitors' centre in Laverton were knowledgeable, and correct about the current road conditions ; perhaps you could contact them just prior to your trip,

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - GeorgieM - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:22

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:22
Thanks Phil, was yours an off-road caravan? Just trying to get a sense of what you towed over, and had it rained much then? Thanks for the tip about the pop-up visitors' centre in Laverton, I'll get in touch with them closer to the time. Georgie
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Reply By: Zippo - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:11

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 12:11
We did it E-W in early June also - just after it reopened - and echo Phil's comments, the worst bit is just after crossing into WA. The amount of new highway seal east of Docker River is a pleasant surprise, but being regulated to 60kph (new surface, no lines, yada-yada) took a lot of the shine off it. Better than the old corros though.

Depending on the state of Covid when you travel, the pop-up checkpoint right at the border may be activated.

The Laverton VC is still under renovation, the pop-up in the pub is working fine and their coffee is as good as always.

The section west of the Mt Shenton mine turnoff was pretty corrugated by mining traffic.

We usually seek road condition reports from the Chooka roadhouse, but this time around it was new operators so their perspective may not be representative yet.
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Follow Up By: Member - GeorgieM - Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 13:17

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 at 13:17
Thanks Zippo, this is very useful. Georgie
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 07:45

Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 07:45
Hopefully they are also renovating the video that was playing on a loop. :)

Here's a snip from it...this is one of Len Beadell's centreline of fire pegs, not a Maralinga GZ!

Otherwise, the VC was well worth a visit, and had a remarkable selection of books for sale.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 16:40

Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 16:40
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Hi Candace,

The photo above was one of a number of "ground markers" established along the Woomera Range centreline to facilitate mapmaking by aerial photography. I have not seen any documentation of them being employed at Emu or Maralinga where accurate mapping was not required as part of that operation.

I believe that the particular marker you posted was the "100 mile" marker from the Woomera launchers. An almost identical photo, but from a slightly different viewpoint, appears facing page 177 in Len Beadell's book End of an Era. Len describes the purpose of these markers on page 176 of that book.

Incidentally, you seem to be following others of more recent time in using the term "centreline of fire" when describing the nominal path over which the Woomera missiles travelled. It was always known as "the centreline" by those of us working at Woomera and in authentic books and records of the operation including those of Len Beadell. If referring remotely I guess it could be described as the "Woomera range centreline". Candace, this is offered in the spirit of friendly advice, not correction.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 at 03:56

Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 at 03:56
Thanks, Allan. Agreed, the pic in "End of an Era" looks to be the same marker viewed from a different angle.

In the same spirit, I'll point out that in "End of an Era", Len says he was given precalculated Lat and Long of "even 100-mile points along its length." Shephard's biography states Len reached and marked the 250, 300, 400, 500, and 550-mile points. The photo caption in Len's book doesn't say which one we're looking at there.

I visited the 300-mile peg. The 250-mile peg is along a track and may see the occasional visitor. Locating the others 70 years later might be a challenge. :)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 at 16:49

Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 at 16:49
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Hi again Candace,
I have been searching and found that the photo above appears facing page 112 of Len's 'Too Long in the Bush'. No doubt from whence the Visitor Centre sourced their copy. The caption is simply "An astronomical station for aerial photographs" so there is no certainty of its location. Text on the adjacent pages says "Also, part of this (survey) exercise would be to delineate the centre-line far as possible by actually fixing on the ground, pre-calculated latitudes and longitudes of .... the even 100 mile points along its length. ..... My plan was to establish these points.... with canvas strips... They would then be used ( by aerial photography) to produce maps for rocket guidance operations." This took place in 1951 which predated Maralinga operations.

I too have visited the 300 mile peg on a trek but I believe that those pegs are merely Len's indication of distance during roadbuilding and not true "stations". Maybe I'm wrong. Dussen' matter!

Enough detective work for today.
Cant find my copy of "Shephard". Hope I haven't done the usual and loaned it, never to see it again!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 01:15

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 01:15
Hopefully your book turns up!

In the meanwhile, here are a couple pages from it. Provided for educational and discussion purposes, no copyright infringement intended. :)

Shephard included info and pics of the original field notebook pages for the five centreline points Len reached. I'll include a pic of the 250-mile point. Len made an illustration for each site showing how he marked it for aerial photography.



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 07:37

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 07:37
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Thanks for that Candace. And I can see where "Centreline of Fire" comes from now.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 08:44

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 08:44
Great fan of Len Beadell and his Gunbarrel Road Construction Party. I have read most of his books, and have travelled on some of his roads. One of my “bucket list” items is to travel on as many of Len’s roads as I can.

Macca.

Sorry to have “high jacked” the OP’s original question. :-)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 08:51

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 08:51
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Hi Macca,
In view of that you may find interest in Westprint's "The Beadell Roads" pack.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 09:50

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 09:50
"Sorry to have “high jacked” the OP’s original question. :-)"

Too late, Allan and I already unapologetically hijacked it! :)
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 10:21

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 10:21
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That's what happens around 'campfires'.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 12:14

Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 12:14
Hi,

Have all the points been identified in the field? Mulga Pole with brass plate at each site. Should be something left unless the souvenir hunters have been through.

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 02:13

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 02:13
equinox,

Good question! Per Len's field book (photos in the Shephard bio), the five sites he actually visited were marked by clearings of various sizes. Plus some combination of mulga posts/pegs, canvas, and nails or brass plates.

The 300-mile site is fairly accessible from Dingo Claypan, though the traditional owners frown on visitors. I've looked on satellite imagery for the other four sites Len marked. Namely, for any sign of the clearings, but no luck. TBH, looking at the 300-mile site on satellite imagery, you'd hardly suspect anything is there.

Perhaps you should have a go, you might spot something I overlooked! :) The coordinates are in the chart shown on the pic I posted earlier. They might be off 50-100 meters or so due to datum changes.

By now fire and/or termites have probably destroyed the wood he used. There is only a stump left of the blaze tree at the 300-mile site. I doubt there'd be much if anything left of the canvas. The metal bits may be lying around if they haven't been buried somehow.

Even if you were confident of the location, reaching anything beyond the 300-mile site would be pure bush-bashing by now! But visiting these sites would be quite fun. I wonder if Connie and Mick have tried?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 08:17

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 08:17
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Connie and Mick is the solution Candace. But I would not wish to trouble them at this time.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 08:46

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 08:46
Hi Allan,

Yes, I already have that set of maps thanks Allan.

Macca.

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Follow Up By: Member - David M (SA) - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 10:14

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 10:14
To wander of the OP's original post even further but seeing Maralinga has been mentioned,
just read an article on the "Atomic tank". Number169041 ( Sweet Fanny )
From England to Australia, Maralinga Totem 1 detonation site. " 350 yards from detonation epicentre"
Recovered and sent to Vietnam 1968 for tour. Hit by RPG, crew wounded.
RAAF base in Edinburgh, South Australia for a rest.
Dave.
Slept next door to her in VN. :)
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Follow Up By: ModSquad - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 19:33

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 19:33
Hello

Can you all please stick to answering the OPs original question. As interesting as this subject may be it is not the information the OP was chasing. If you wish to discuss this subject start a new thread.

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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 21:43

Friday, Jun 25, 2021 at 21:43
Went E to W in Sept 2018. On an innocuous sandy section 50 km into WA a big rock flipped up, hit van and bounced back and smashed the rear door window. Same day a bloke had just punctured his last tyre so left missus and kids with camper to go 140 km back to the Rock for new tyres. Later another with a flat discovered spare was wrong stud pattern. But it's a great drive LOL. Link here: https://www.exploroz.com/places/28113/nt+puta-puta
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Follow Up By: Member - GeorgieM - Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 19:32

Monday, Jun 28, 2021 at 19:32
Thanks Warrie for your response, I suppose these are the nasty things that can happen, and you hope they don't happen to you, but help if it happens to others. Thanks for your response. Georgie
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Reply By: Member - Mal and Naomi G - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2021 at 23:27

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2021 at 23:27
Hi Georgie M, we did GCR, Laverton-Sandy Blight Junction Rd near the NT border, in early June, with rain from Laverton to The Pines camping area and heavy rain overnight the first day out, but we were surprised the next day how good the road surface was despite the rain and some roadtrains.
In fact, the WA section was in the best condition we've seen it in the last 9 years, but the Docker River section just over the NT border is usually the most corrugated - just uncomfortable, not car or caravan-busting if you take it easy.
Cheers and enjoy the trip, Mal and Naomi G
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Follow Up By: Member - GeorgieM - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021 at 12:35

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021 at 12:35
Thanks Mal and Naomi G, this is good to know. Sounds like the Docker River section is the worst bit.
Cheers Georgie
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