To understand the rich history of the Nullarbor, you first need to understand how it earned its name.
Back in 1866, surveyor E. Alfred Delisser was working on the Nullarbor Plain and took note of the significant lack of trees existing in the area. He is credited with creating the name Nullarbor, which is Latin for “no trees”. Do not let this name deceive you though; barring a few baron areas, there are many different species of trees and other local fauna spread across the Plain.
Prior to 1956, the site was home to Nullarbor Station and covered 1.25 million acres (that’s x2.7 larger than Singapore!). There were paddocks of sheep, horses and cattle, along with some wild wombats and dingoes.
In 1956, then station manager Elwyn, or “Scobe”, as he was affectionately known, decided to sell petroleum to generate additional revenue. The petrol would be hand pumped out of the drums into gallon tanks and sold to locals and visitors passing through.
A small shop was also established in an old stone building. Its products were more traditional than what you’re likely to see in stores these days – tea, canned food, biscuits, lollies and cordial drinks made up day to day sales.
Elwyn’s wife Coral would also occasionally cook up homemade scones, cakes and, occasionally, any rabbits they might have caught. Coral would later go on to write about her family life at the Nullarbor station in great detail in her book, ‘Our Life at Nullarbor’. This little red book is well known to those in the area and is proudly on sale at our roadhouse.
The shop’s popularity continued to grow as the number of travellers passing through the area increased over time. By 1976, upon completion of the Eyre Highway, the Nullarbor Roadhouse building was built and the business was formally established. That same building exists on the property today.
The roadhouse has become a popular stopover for most travellers in part due to its isolation. It is approximately 300 km west of Ceduna, and 200 km east of the South Australian / West Australian border. As you could imagine, due to its location, the sun is always smiling over the Nullarbor. During the summer, temperatures consistently rest in the 30’s, however the “Nullarbor Doctor” arrives nightly in the form of a cool southerly breeze, ensuring you rest easily throughout the evening.
Our isolation and unique location means there is nowhere else in the world like the Nullarbor.
In recent times, our owners have looked to celebrate the history of the Nullarbor through murals, by accomplished mural artist Pam Armstrong as well as providing shaded rest areas in our caravan park using materials on site that date back to the early days of the roadhouse. We have also built a scale model of the old “station/garage”. This has all been carefully recreated by our accomplished landscape artist Marty Powell and his team.
Where else can you watch whales up close, explore historic limestone caves, get views of surreal cliff faces, play a hole on the world’s longest golf course or just relax and watch the beautiful sunset over the Nullarbor Plain?
If you are looking to venture off the beaten track and try something different, come visit us! We provide the comfort, fresh food and friendly service you need to fuel your adventure at the Nullarbor.
We are proud to be the owners and caretakers of a part of Australian history and we look forward to sharing it with you as you make your way across the Eyre Highway.
We look forward to having you visit soon!
CEO and Part-Owner