Nullagine (C) Don Copley
(C) Don Copley

 

 

NULLAGINE

 

GPS 21 54 36 S 120 37 11 E

 

 

 

 

FIND ACCOMMODATION

 

Marble Bar

Nearby Towns

Newman

 

 

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STATISTICS

Distance from Perth

1364 Km

Population

177

Average Rainfall

323.9mm

Mean Max Temp

?C

Mean Min Temp

?C

 

SERVICES

Police

08 9176 3200

Fire and Rescue

Unknown

Medical

08 9176 2010

Visitor Centre

08 9175 2888

 

CARAVAN PARKS

Nullagine

08 9176 2090

 

HOTEL / MOTEL / B AND B

Hotel

08 9176 2000

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

 

DESCRIPTION

 

Nullagine is located 104 kilometres south of Marble Bar and is well off the beaten track.

People were originally attracted to the area by the presence of gold but many other precious and semi-precious minerals can be found in the area and this attracts fossickers and prospectors. Examples of minerals that are found include agate, asbestos, antimony, beryl, chalcedony, copper, gold, jade, jasper, manganese, tiger eye, tungsten and wolfram.

A large iron ore deposit south west of the town may once again see Nullagine undergo a period of development and renewal. BC Iron entered into a joint venture with Fortescue Metals but in late 2016, Fortescue effectively took over the future development of the project and to date the project is in suspension.

Facilities in town include a municipal park, community resource centre, gym, police station, hotel, caravan park, general store, nursing post and a public library.

The area is increasingly popular with those seeking 4 wheel drive adventures but it must be remembered that it is remote and care must be taken when heading off the beaten track.

The rest stop in town, located on the main street, has public toilets, a black water dump point, a shaded playground and free Wi-Fi.

 

HISTORY

 

Gold was discovered in the area in the 1890s (some sources quote 1888 and one says N.W. Cooke discovered gold in 1886.) The townsite was gazetted in 1899 (one source says 1895) and derived its name from a nearby river called Ngullagine by local Aborigines. The meaning of the name is unknown.

Diamonds were found in the area by gold prospectors in 1895 but they were not in commercial quantities. It was the first time diamonds had been discovered in Australia.

The Blue Spec gold mine opened in 1906, its unusual name coming from a race horse. The horse won the Perth cup in 1905 and the Melbourne Cup the following year. The mine was to operate on and off for the next 70 years.

The population peaked at about 3000 during the early gold rush days and at that time the town had three hotels, a number of general stores and 8 gold stamping batteries.

 

TALL TALES AND TRUE

 

Tin Kettling

“Doug had been busy building a new house; a roomy, flat roofed, spinifex verandahed structure with cement floors… Ideal for a honeymoon. Not a living soul within miles of them… We planned a tin kettling for their homecoming – a very secret affair.

Old camel bells were unearthed, kerosene tins gathered, empty drums and saucepans tested for noise… There would be no talking. Sound carried at night, and complete surprise was essential.

For a tin kettling the couple must be newly married or honey-mooning – the wedding night itself is an ideal time… They must be in bed but not asleep. It is always hoped that the sudden nerve-shattering din will catch them in the middle of a passionate embrace. It is a mean business really, but always causes a lot of fun. It is customary for the ladies to ‘take a plate’ and men a ‘couple of bottles’. For when the couple have been got out of bed the merrymaking may go on all night.

We stared at the building, long and squat and seemingly in darkness. We listened. The night was very still, the silence seeming to come in waves against the ear drums.

‘They’re in bed all right’ said Black in a hoarse whisper...

Distinctly there came the sound of bed springs and a woman’s laughter.

We all moved together, crossing the open space without effort or concealment. We heard someone say sharply, ‘Who’s that?’.

And then Peterson pressed the button on his klaxson and it bellowed like a bull for a brief second before being drowned in the shocking din of clanging iron, rattling of tins, shrilling of whistles and bells, and all the unnerving noise-making instruments that we had brought with us.

The tin kettling lasted until lamps were lit and Doug and Thora, partly clothed and in dressing gowns, came to the door and laughingly asked us in.”

From: Gold In The Blood by Jamess Doughty.

Tragedy in a Harsh land

In 1958 John Crowe and his mate Paddy Gear went prospecting in the dry November heat. When their truck caught fire they were left with just a rife and a water bag and were more than 64 kilometres from the nearest help.

After walking 46 kilometres, John Crowe could go no further so Paddy left him the water bag and turned back. (as their maps were lost in the fire they did not know exactly where they were and at the time were only 18 kilometres from the nearest radio.)

Paddy walked the next three days in extreme heat and made it to Balfour Downs. When the rescue truck reached John Crowe he was found dead, most probably from heat exhaustion. John was buried at Nullagine.

 

For such a small town in such a remote location, it has certainly left an impression on some of those who have been there as the following verses indicate.

On the road to Nullagine.

I am with a survey party in a place that God forgot,
And for White Australia it's the daddy of the lot,
There ain't a drop of water anywhere along the line,
And there ain't no shady places on the road to Nullagine.

I've tasted life in no-man's land, I've fed the flies outback,
I've tramped with empty tucker bags on Lawson's lonely track,
I've toiled in Northern Queensland where I thought the sun could shine,
But no mistake, it takes the cake, this road to Nullagine.

With a jogger on my shoulder and a waterbag in hand,
I'm tramping through the spinifex and ploughing up the sand,
I'm sopping wet with honest sweat as salty as the brine,
And I'm baked and boiled and roasted on the road to Nullagine.

When I wake up in the morning a swarm of hungry flies,
Are trying to eat out holes in the corner of my eyes,
Prickly heat from head to foot, this poor old frame of mine,
Has had the Dengue fever on the road to Nullagine.

We tumble out at three o'clock and start to work at four,
It's strip and cut the cadjiput with tomahawk and saw,
And like George Washington this little axe of mine,
Plays havoc with the timber on the road to Nullagine.

With headaches and toothaches and bung eyes in a sling,
With Barcoo rot and God knows what, I can't eat anything,
I'm all wrapped up in bandages, tied up with bits of twine,
I'm travelling like a leper on the road to Nullagine.

One night I went to Marble Bar, a little after dark,
And all the dogs from miles around came at me with a bark,
I had a drop of amber, a shilling at a time,
There ain't no pots for sixpence on the road to Nullagine!

It's public bars and good cigars and let your sugar scoot,
And decorate your wardrobe with a white pearl button suit,
But if you wear old dungarees and hobnails number nine,
They class you as a 'nigger' on the road to Nullagine.

I've seen some queer places what I thought God had quite forgot,
Out in the never-never where we used to call it hot,
But this little bit of country where old Sol comes out to shine,
Is the nearest place to Hell on Earth, this road to Nullagine!

Ted Gregg (Wallabung)
Nullagine road survey party 1890s

There has obviously been some plagiarism involved with this poem as we found a second version in the book 'Meekatharra End of the Earth' by P.R. Heydon. The second version is presented as being written by 'Nulla Nulla' but no date is given so it is hard to work out who pinched who's work. The two poems are much too similar to have been written independently of each other so someone has been cheating. The second version is presented below:

On the road to Nullagine.

I am with the Police Department in a place that God forgot,
And for White Australia it's the daddy of the lot;
There ain't a drop of water anywhere along the line,
And there ain't no shady places on the Road to Nullagine.

I've tasted life in no-man's land, I've fed the flies outback,
I've tramped with empty tucker bags on Lawson's lonely track,
I've toiled in Northern Waters where I thought the sun could shine,
But no mistake, it takes the cake, the Road to Nullagine.

With rifle on my shoulder, and a water bag in hand,
I'm tramping through the spinifex, and ploughing up the sand;
My brow is wet with honest sweat as salty as the brine,
But no mistake this takes the cake, the Road to Nullagine.

When I wake up in the morning a swarm of hungry flies,
Are fighting for their breakfast, in the corner of my eyes;
Prickly heat from head to foot, this poor old frame of mine,
Has had the Dengue fever on the Road to Nullagine.

With headaches and toothaches and bungeyes in a sling,
With Barcoo rot and God knows what, I can't eat anything;
I'm all wrapped up in bandages, tied with bits of twine,
I'm travelling like a leper on the Road to Nullagine.

There's Bardeie Pie and Cocky Bob, Tin Dog and Kangaroo
A change of diet once a month, boiled mutton and a stew
I long for pig and poultry when I'm sitting down to dine
But thank the Lord for all I've got on the Road to Nullagine

One day I drank some water it was from a Scalding Well
And very shortly afterwards I felt inclined to yell;
A burning hot sensation ran up and down my spine
I thought I was a gonner on the Road to Nullagine

One night I went to Marble Bar, a little after dark,
And all the Mongs from miles around came at me with a bark,
I had a drop of amber, a shilling at a time,
There ain't no Pots for sixpence on the Road to Nullagine!

It's Public Bars and Good Cigars and let your -sugar scoot,
And decorate your wardrobe with a White Pearl button suit,
But if you wear old khakis and hob-nails number nine,
They class you as a Nigger on the Road to Nullagine.

I've been in some queer places that I thought God had forgot,
Out in the "never never" where we used to call it hot;
But this little bit of country, where Old Sol comes out to shine,
Is the nearest place on Earth to Hell; It's name is NULLAGINE.

MAP

 

 

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OTHER INFORMATION

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

Rest area, Solar Power Station, Nullagine Dam, Beatons Creek Gorge, Garden Pool, Daylight Pool, Conglomerate Gorge, Elle's Pool, Coppin's Gap, Doolena Gorge, Lynas Hill Lookout, Skull Springs, Carawine Gorge, Beaton's Rockhole.

 

BUILDINGS OF NOTE

 

Unknown.

 

ELECTORAL ZONES

 

State : Pilbara

Federal : Durack

 

OTHER INFO.

 

Postcode : 6758

Local Government : Shire of East Pilbara

 

PHOTOS

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