Len Beadell Plaques & Signs - 33 in 29 years

Wednesday, Feb 18, 2009 at 22:05


It's a testament to Australia's last outback explorer, Len Beadell, that many of his roads have grown more popular as the years have passed. His iconic outback highways are punctuated by his famous marker plates and plaques, often attached to a blaze on a desert oak or a large cut post, painted white and topped with tin. They mark intersections, mileage points, state borders and other boundaries. The Lat Long co-ordinates stamped on each remain amazingly acurate despite being shot by hand with a sextant.

Although many of his original plates have been "souvenired" by the less scrupulous travellers, most, if not all have been replaced with faithfull replicas by members of the Beadell family and others.

Over the past 29 years I have managed to encounter many of the plaques and photograph them. The count is in no way complete but then my travelling days are a long way from over. In no set order, here is my collection to date;

01. Mount Davies Road 20 km south of Great Central Road

02. Emu Atomic test site, Anne Beadell Highway

03 Observation Hill

04 Emu- Maralinga Road half way marker (60 miles)

05. Annes Corner - Anne Beadell Highway, SA (Yes that is rain!)

06. Volkes Hill Corner - Anne Beadell Highway SA

07SA/WA Border - Anne Beadell Highway

08Neale Junction - Anne Beadell Highway, WA

09Windy Corner - Gary Highway (intersection of the Talawana Track), WA

10Everard Junction - Intersection of the Gary and Gunbarrell Highways, WA

11 Gunbarrell Highway near the intersection of the Heather Highway, WA

12 The old Sandy Blight Junction Track - Great Central Road Intersection, WA

13 Giles Mulga Park Road 20km west Amata, NT

14 Giles Mulga Park Road - Kintore Avenue intersection, WA

15 Talawana Track on Balfour Downs Station, WA (near old stockyards)

16 Gary Highway -Gary Junction Road - Callawa Track intersection, WA

17(a) Beadell Family Marker on "New" Gary Junction Road near Jupiter Well, WA

17(b) Original Gary Junction Road near Jupiter Well, WA

18 WA-NT Border on the Gary Junction Road

19 Sandy Blight Junction Track - Gary Junction Road intersection, NT

20 The Explorer Tree Sandy Blight Junction Road, NT

21Tropic of Capricorn marker - Sandy Blight Junction Road, NT

22 NT-WA Border Sandy Blight Junction Road

23 One Hundred & Forty (140) mile marker Sandy Blight Junction Track, WA

24Sir Frederick Range Sign - Sandy Blight Junction Road, WA

25 Half Way Marker - Sandy Blight Junction Road, WA

26 One Hundred (100) mile marker to the Gunbarrell Hwy - Sandy Blight Junction Road, WA

27.Plaque at S 25 10 08 E 128 32 19 Giles Mulga Park Road (Near the now "Great Central Road" taken July 11th 1985.

The same location taken 25 years later on June 4th, 2010

28. Old Gunbarrell Highway east of Mt Forrest (Rawlinson Ranges)

28 (a) Beadell Family Family Plaque Corner of WAPET and Callawa Tracks WA

29 Old Gunbarrell Hwy near lake Farnham (East of VanderLinden Lakes)

30. 300 Mile Marker (north of Maralinga)

31.Waldana Well Marker - 1951

So that's 33 (31 and two family plaques -17a & 28a). In the packing boxes still in storage I have others (at least 3) from my early 80's sojourn along the full length of the Gunbarrel (all east of Million Dollar Corner). Thankfully those plaques uncaptured will motivate me to get out there on a mission in years to come. Cheers Mick

Oh and a bonus - A couple of shots of the original Gunbarrel construction party grader which we found at Giles in 1985 which is now in a protective cage at Giles.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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