Road trip across Australia – Day 19 (continued) Eucla

So far we’d had a wonderful day visiting the Head of the Bight to watch the whales, and then viewing it all from the air, but we still had more driving to do.
We left Nullarbor Roadhouse at about 3pm. Being winter the days were short, but heading west I knew we would gain an extra 45 minutes when we got to the Western Australia border, so we would have more light for longer today.
My plan was to pull into the Bunda Cliffs lookouts, but some these were closed as they were having work done on them, so we just continued on until we did find a lookout that was still operating.
By now we were getting close to the border, and the road runs very close to the cliffs at this point, so it was not a big diversion to get to the edge of the cliffs. There are signs warning that the edges could be unstable, but if you take reasonable care it is probably quite safe. Of course, if you were to have a mishap here then help is a long way off, and you wouldn’t have much of a chance anyway if you did fall off. Not that you have a lot of time worrying about it as I’m sure the sharks would finish you off pretty quickly.
We finally reached the border at the aptly named Bordertown. Here we had to go through quarantine, and the car was checked to make sure we weren’t carrying any fruit, honey or other foodstuff which may be carrying fruit fly or other nasties.
From Bordertown it is a mere 14 kilometres to Eucla, which is a doddle when you consider that Eucla is 1425kms from Perth.
We had decided to stay at Eucla for the night so filled up and checked into the motel.
Eucla has the biggest community out on the Nullarbor. Here there is a nurse’s station, police and quarantine staff, a meteorological station and other services.
This small community sits at the edge of the Nullarbor Plateau, and from Eucla you descend down to pass to a part of the land that is not actually considered part of the Nullarbor, although it looks similar, because it was once covered by water.
It was just before dusk, so we decided to drive the 4kms down to the sand dunes to see the remains of the Old Telegraph Station.
The telegraph station was opened in 1877 when the first inter-continental telegraph line was established linking Western Australia with South Australia. The line was used to send telegrams, using Morse Code, from East to West and vice versa. Up to 600 telegrams were being sent each day, but two different types of Morse Code were used, so the messages could sometimes be confusing.
At a time when telegrams were the best method of long distance communications the telegraph station at Eucla was said to be the most important in the nation. Today, it is being swallowed by the sand dunes as they encroached further inland, and provide good evidence as to why the modern community of Eucla was built on a high plateau.
It was quite eerie to explore the station on dusk, and to hear the breaking waves of the Southern Ocean a short way off.
Nevertheless, the experience capped off what had been a magnificent day crossing the Nullarbor and discovering that it is one of the most fascinating places on the Australian mainland.

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