The CANNING STOCK ROUTE (situated in Western Australia) was created when the shipping of cattle from the Kimberly to the southern markets in the W.A. was banned after it was found that the outbreak of Red Water Fever spread by cattle tick would infest the southern grazing areas of the state in the late 1890s .  However it was discovered that while droving cattle overland the tick died in the dry conditions.  In 1906, The W.A. Mines  Water Supply Department (pressured by the Kimberly pastoralists), appointed Alfred Canning (a surveyor) to explore the country from Wiluna to Halls Creek via Separation Well (discovered during the earlier Calvert expedition),  to see if it was feasible for an overland cattle drive. (Previous expeditions by Carnegie & Calvert in 1896-97 to this area reported that it was not a viable proposition for a cattle stock route due to the lack of water).  He reported that " a stock route with fair feed & good water supplied by digging 54 wells 20 miles apart was possible".  Canning was subsequently appointed to lead a construction party & the task was completed in April 1910.  For the next 48 years, the Canning Stock Route as it became to be known, carried Kimberly cattle down to the southern markets in the goldfields & later to Perth.  It took up to 4 months at a time to drive herds as big as 600 cattle to their southern destinations.  Following the advent of road trains transporting cattle, the last mob was brought down in 1958. 

 Since then The Canning Stock Route has become one of the great challengers for 4WD enthusiasts.  It is 1750 km long from Wiluna to Halls Creek travelling through the remote desert country of the Western Australian Outback. Numerous sand dunes have to be traversed & you require a well maintained 4WD vehicle carrying sufficient fuel & supplies to complete the journey. There is a the fuel dump at Well 23 (some 700km from Wiluna). The distance from well 23 to Halls Creek is is some 1300km so you will will need to order enough fuel (supplied in 44gal.[205 ltr] drums) for this distance, from Capricorn Roadhouse at Newman tel:091 751535.  Fuel orders are required well in advance so delivery to the fuel dump can be carried out in time . Be prepared to pay a high price for this!!  You also have to be self sufficient in all respects, have good vehicle recovery gear, ample essential spare parts, a good long distance communications setup (either H.F. Radio or Satellite Telephone) & carry sufficient food & water for the trip & above all allow plenty of time to do the trip & DON'T (R) DON'T overload your vehicle!!!!!. Permits may be required to pass through Aboriginal lands. Check with  Department Indigenous Affairs - Tel: (08) 92358000 .  A good guide to help with trip preparation is to purchase the latest edition of : 'CANNING STOCK ROUTE - A Traveller's Guide For A Journey Through History' by Ronele & Eric Gard.  The best time to travel is during the cooler drier months of June, July, August.  Good preparation & planning is essential for a successful attempt of the CSR!!.

I did this trip in June1995 from Halls Creek to Wiluna in the company of another vehicle.  We carried 270 litres of fuel per vehicle & 70 litres of water each for the passage Halls Creek to the well 23 fuel dump.  (Fully loaded, my vehicle's gross weight was 3.3  tonnes so I had the suspension upgraded to carry this weight  prior to starting the trek) . This trip included a detour out to Helena Spring some 80km east of well 42 in the Great Sandy Desert.  We had approximately 40 litres of fuel left in our tanks when we arrived at the well 23 fuel dump.  The trip was completed comfortably in 24 days visiting every well site along the way.  Only minor vehicle problems were encountered during the trip.  Good water was found at wells 49,46,41,37,33,26,Georgia Bore (north of well 22 on the Talawana Track), Durba Springs, & wells 12 & 6.  NOTE: If using water from these wells it is advisable to boil the water first as a precaution if used for drinking.

Update since trip (2004):    Fuel is now available at the Kunawariji Aboriginal Community Settlement which is  a short distance from the CSR T-Junction at Well 33 & some 270 km north of Well 23 Fuel dump. You may have to order your fuel beforehand as supplies can be limited.    Telephone: (08) 91769040.  They are open Monday to Saturday. A $20.00 opening fee charged outside normal opening hours. EFPOS available. Fuel is also available at the Billaluna Aboriginal Settlement  160km south of Halls Creek. They are open Monday to Saturday at certain hours. Cash sales only.  Telephone: (08) 91688988.  Note: Diesel fuel may only be available due to petrol restrictions at aboriginal settlements, so check beforehand!!.

       

START BILLILUNA

 

DESERT OAKS (Nth.Well 49)

 

WELL 49

 

JACK (RAJAH) SMITH'S GRAVE-WELL 49

 BREADEN HILLS

 

WELL 47

 

WELL 46 (Kuduarra)

   

 

WELL 45

 

 

 GRAVITY LAKE

 

GRAVITY LAKE CAMPSITE

 

 

HELENA SPRINGS (East of Well42)

 

WELL 41 (TIRU)

 

TOBIN'S GRAVE   

WELL 40

 

   RANDABUNNI 

  ROCKHOLE

(Water 38)

 

WELL 37 (LIBRAL)

PHONEBOX Jctn. CSR-KIDSON Track

       WELL 26         FULLY RESTORED

WELL 23

FUEL DUMP     WELL 23

TROPIC OF CAPRICORN

 

SAVOURY CREEK

LAKE DISAPPOINTMENT

DURBA SPRINGS

WELL 15

WELL 11 GOODWIN SOAK

        WELL 9         WELD SPRING

             

 

                     

        WELL 6         FULLY RESTORED

 

 

WINDICH SPRINGS