The Head of the Bight, 78 kms west of Yalata is a geographical feature of national significance. It is where the cliffs of the Nullarbor meet sand dunes and the beach, and is a Marine Park and one of the premier whale viewing areas in the world.
White Well, at the Head of the Bight, had its own shearing shed and house.The windmill and some early buildings are all that are left to remind one of this once important outstation of the Smith and Swan Run. A stone tank was converted into the Rangers Station there, managed by a team from Yalata.
The beach at Head of the Bight is known as Twin Rocks. Twin Rocks, originally Port Higgins, was first established by J L Higgins. In 1880, he became manager of Penong Station and undertook work for the Government, filing the post of Inspector for Water Conservation for four years. He was the first to land material at the Head of the Bight, having chartered the Grace Darling to land a boring plant of 100 tons weight. This little landing spot proved too dangerous and was soon abandoned. It has been known as Twin Rocks for many years. You might ask why? Originally there were two big rocks in the water. During stormy weather in the late 1950s one rock disintegrated into the water, leaving just the present single rock there.
Nullarbor Roadhouse was originally Nullarbor Station. Today there are motel units, a caravan park, fuel, repairs and roadhouse facilities available.
When pastoral land was at a premium in the 1880s, the SA Government sent a delegation to assess the Nullarbor area. One of the members, Tom Brown, was so impressed that he leased a large tract of land and founded Nullarbor Station.
Mr Elwyn (Scobie) Beattie was manager from 1955 until 1960. In 1956, Mr and Mrs Beattie sold fuel, which was carted in 200 lt (44 gallon) drums on a Chev truck from Fowlers Bay. The petrol was hand-pumped out of the drums into a 4 litre (gallon) measure and sold for 25c (2/6). They also established a shop in an old stone building.In 1976 Marty Ryan bought a section of the property, built the current roadhouse and used the old homestead as staff quarters. In the mid 1980s, transportable buildings replaced the homestead and the old place was demolished.
In 1909, Francis Birtles took 44 days to cycle from Perth to Sydney. In 1912, he and a companion left Perth in an open 10 hp Brush car, piled high with equipment and, contending with stumps, sand patches and mud, followed a bush track along the East-West Telegraph Line. After 28 laborious days they reached Sydney. For many years, the main road across the Nullarbor was this rough track, which followed Eyre's original coastal route.
During World War II, it was necessary to have a road that linked SA and WA. A labour force of 150 men was recruited, and work on this section of the Eyre Highway commenced on 14 July 1941. After a short time, and with the War getting worse, the Government stationed a unit of Militia Army men to help with the construction of the road. Men worked 6 days a week and 10 hours a day for a wage of $14 (£7) a week. A plough and crawler tractor was used to construct the road and then a grader used behind the crawler. That grader was mounted at the highway near the junction to the Cook Road, at Wigunda, for many years but now has been taken away for maintenance. Bulldozers and front end loaders were unknown at that time and enormous amounts of rubble had to be lifted with shovels. The bitumen was sealed to the border on the WA side, by 1969. In 1972, the Federal Government finally agreed to provide funds in conjunction with the SA Government and the final 400 kms to the border was completed and opened on 29 September 1976.
Telstra's microwave towers start at Whyalla and are situated 40 kms apart, finishing just outside of Perth. At a cost of 10 million dollars, the microwave link was completed in 1973 but it is now redundant, due to the advent of the optic fibre cable laid in 1992. Besides linking the Western and Eastern states, the microwave link gave instant communication to the remote areas of the Nullarbor Plain.The tall towers are visible for great distances and vary in height from 25 metres to 76 metres, topped off by large disks measuring approximately four metres in diameter. These circuits carried telephone, telegraph, telex, radio and television simultaneously. Because there is no power across most of the Eyre Highway, special wind generators were installed on the repeater stations with a diesel motor standby.
One of the longest continuous fences in the world, at a length of 5614 kilometres, the Dog Fence starts in Queensland and extends to the Great Australian Bight in SA. The Fence was built to keep the wild dingoes out of pastoral lands and away from livestock.