Koonalda was a sheep station situated just off the Old Eyre Highway some 100 kilometres west of the Nullarbor Roadhouse in South Australia.  From the mid 1950's up until the mid 1970's Koonalda Homestead was a fuel & rest stop for those people travelling the Nullarbor during that period.  As the Homestead adjoined the Old Eyre Highway, a large car graveyard developed alongside it from vehicles that did not make it across the Nullarbor Plain. Nearby Koonalda Cave enabled the Gurney family to establish the  sheep station as it provided an underground water supply.  The homestead consists of  a wide surrounding verandah & recently replaced galvanised iron roof.  The interior has seven main rooms, a bathroom & a laundry area on the enclosed rear verandah.  A large concrete water tank adjoins the eastern side of the homestead.  Sleepers from the Trans Australia Railway near Cook were used to build the homestead's outside walls & fences.  The sleepers were transported 20 at a time on a small truck to 'Koonalda'.  The timber windows & some of the doors are re-used material from the old telegraph station at Eucla.  This is a rare example of World War II construction in the outback.

Koonalda Cave is located 7km north of the homestead & is one of the world's most important archaeological sites.  This cave can only be viewed from the top where a large entrance can be seen. Due to the collapse of the cavern near the surface the entrance has been sealed off & is now considered unsafe for entry.  Care is needed when approaching the edge of the cave due to the eroded limestone edge.  The cave itself extends deep underground & measures up to 122 meters wide & 76 meters high.  With the cave's system of tunnels & underground lakes branching out from the main chamber, it extends for more then 300 meters.  More then 20,000 years ago the Aboriginal people, by the glow of firesticks, mined flint in this area for precision stone tools.  Engravings decorate the walls of part of the cave known as the Art Passage.  

Shed tanks were constructed along the Old Eyre Highway at intervals along the route.  Large areas of corrugated iron roofing were used as rainwater catchment, which drained into storage tanks.  These tanks supplied water for stock & travellers across the Nullarbor Plain.  The new realigned & sealed Eyre Highway was officially opened in 1976. 

The Koonalda Homestead complex consists of a homestead, shearer's hut, petrol outlet/generator room, workshop & storage shed, stables & the shearing shed.  The stables & storage shed were damaged in a storm early in 2007 & consequently demolished for safety reasons.   Koonalda is now part of the National Estate Heritage Trust & a permit is required (small fee) to stay at the homestead.   This can be obtained from the South Australia National Parks Office at Ceduna  (Telephone: (08 8625 3141).  It makes an interesting stop over for those travelling the Nullarbor.

 I have stayed at Koonalda many times travelling the Nullarbor & this stop over makes the trips all the more pleasant.

Koonalda Homestead

Koonalda Homestead

 

Koonalda Homestead

Stables & Storage Sheds

(Before Storm)

Stables & Storage Sheds

(After Storm)

Petrol Station

Shearer's Quarters

Used Car Yard

Used Car Yard

Shearing Shed

Sheep Dip Trough

Koonalda Cave

Koonalda Cave

Camels - Old Eyre Highway

Coompana Water Tank

Old Eyre Highway

16 Mile Water Tank

Old Eyre Highway