Tracks and roads
Dreaming tracks
Great Northern Highway
Dalgary Road
Wanarra East Rd
Mt Gibson Goldmine Road
Goodlands Rd
Run-throughs, gates and grids
Air traffic

Wanarra East Road

An all-weather graded dirt road now runs to within a kilometre from Charles Drwin Reserve homestead. This was constructed as a ‘short cut’ from the Great Northern Highway across to Perenjori in 1965 and 1966.

Access to the homestead, previously an outstation of Ninghan, was once gained by a more tortuous route, either the Dalgary Road from Wubin to the south, or from Ninghan, following tracks through the Retaliation hills and the wells to the north of the homestead.

The track from Ninghan was through Bungeye Well to the gate where the grid is now (at Cossie Lou Well on Wanarra East Road). Breakaway was on a bend, I don’t know how many times Mum hit that gate! Ted Lockyer, describing the late 1930s.


'We came across from Ninghan via Bungeye Well. 223.8 mile peg, the vermin proof fence, where that crosses the highway now, at the tea chest turnoff – the mailbox was a tea chest in a tree. Near this creek there was a very, very heavily overgrown piece, the kids used to call it Bungeye Lane because the car we had was an old 34 Ford sedan with a frame on it and it cut its own track through the bush - they touched on both sides so we had a virtual tunnel to go through.' Dennis Mason, 2003, describing the 1950s

The route to Wanarra and Perenjori was via Quandong Well.

'To Perenjori we followed the track to Quandong and Wanarra. That used to be our only access to Perenjori. We used to go up to Quandong and then we’d follow a “drunken horse track’ to Wanarra. That was our boys’ name for it. The person who made the track got a bottle of whisky and a horse and cart, he gave the horse a whop of whisky, and sent the horse on its way to Wanarra. Dennis Mason 2003

Country roads in Western Australia have been the responsibility of elected local government councils since the Local Roads Board Act of 1871. The eastern boundary of the Perenjori Shire ran through Whitewells along the boundary of an earlier lease, west of the homestead. The leases were amalgamated into Whitewells about 1925.

When Les Miller was in charge (of Perenjori Shire), we went to Wanarra (in 1955 to manage the station) we became very friendly with the people there (Perenjori) and the Shire Clerk was very helpful and persuaded us, or we applied to go into, Perenjori Shire, so now Whitewells is Perenjori Shire. Dennis Mason 2003

After Whitewells Station was separated from Ninghan in 1953 and taken over by the Masons, the boundary of the Perenjori Shire moved to the eastern boundary of Whitewells to incorporate the whole of the station. The Shire then sought a direct link to Perenjori from the Great Northern Highway. Arrangements were made with to select a route direct from the Wanarra causeway on Mongers Lake, bypassing Wanarra Homestead, out to the Great Northern Highway at the northern end of the Mt Gibson hills, via Breakaway Well.

The method of aligning the road from the Mongers Lake causeway at Wanarra was the same as that used on the 1927 alignment of the Great Northern Highway:

When we put that road in we piled a heap of tyres at the bottom corner of the cleared block and set fire to them, then aimed for the smoke. They used a Cat RD4 tractor with a rake on the front to clear it. Dennis Mason

In 2005, this alignment was proposed by the Mt Gibson Mining Limited as the route for trucking iron ore from the proposed Mt Gibson mine to the railhead at Perenjori. In the 2006 Public Environmental Review of the project, a buried pipeline was proposed along the route for pumping the magnetite as a slurry, rather than trucking the ore.

Although gazetted the Wanarra East Road, the road sign for the unsealed road from the Great Northern Highway to Whitewells Homestead (Charles Darwin Reserve) and Wanarra Station reads ‘Wanarra Rd’. It becomes Wanarra Road at the Mongers Lake crossing. Main road corners become rendezvous and meeting places, especially when the mailbox is located there. The old refrigerator decorated with camel stencils used by Whitewells Station when it was a tourist ranch is still the Charles Darwin Reserve’s mailbox.

Bush Heritage Australia Logo