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Stuart Highway "The Track"

 
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Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 8:01:16 AM   
Yaab


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Seems the minor road from Alice Spring to Darwin was actually being built during the war.

https://anzacday.org.au/dusty_track

http://guides.naa.gov.au/content/20141219-Guide022_tcm48-58753.pdf

"During the war, the Stuart Highway, running north–south between Darwin and Port
Augusta (South Australia), and Barkly Highway, running east–west through the Barkly
Tableland from Tennant Creek to Cloncurry (Queensland) were upgraded to all-weather
roads. Numerous airstrips were also built; the remains of some still survive"

But here it says it was an all-weather road in 1940, which disintegrated from overuse in 1942.
https://northernterritory.com/gb/en/articles/up-the-track---the-stuart-highway

< Message edited by Yaab -- 2/22/2018 9:20:52 AM >
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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 9:31:08 AM   
Yaab


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Construction overview here
https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/portal/system/files/engineering-heritage-australia/nomination-title/Stuart_Highway.pdf

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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 9:33:42 AM   
jdsrae


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It's all true. I've seen it with my own eyes. I averaged 180km/h on a Darwin-Alice road trip along that thin brown line in 2002ish (hire car).
There's still an awful lot of nothing out there.

To paraphrase the old camel driver in the Western Australian desert from the movie "Gallipoli", if the Japanese wanted that part of the world in 1942 they could have had it. It won't let me post a link, but do your own search for "Brisbane_Line"

There are still some gravel runways visible near the Stuart Highway dotted between Katherine and Darwin (like Fenton and Batchelor airfields).
Current operating RAAF Bases Tindal (near Katherine) and Darwin have been developed from their WW2 origins.

A few more useless facts while you're looking at this part of the world, the Central Australia Railway (CAR) from Adelaide to Alice Springs opened in 1929.
The North Australia Railway (NAR) opened in stages south from Darwin to Birdum, the latter being reached in 1929.
The current 1,420 kilometre Adelaide to Darwin railway line was built from July 2001 to September 2003 and has been running at a loss ever since!

*About 1.6km to the mile for the imperialists

< Message edited by jdsrae -- 2/22/2018 10:33:03 AM >


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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 10:23:43 AM   
JeffroK


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I did Adelaide to Darwin in 1984, it was dirt, pot holes and bull dust for most of the journey between Pt Augusta & the Nthn Territory border. North of Alice Springs it varied from a good road to a narrow strip of bitumen. Now its an excellent road unless you are following a Road Train.

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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 10:44:09 AM   
LargeSlowTarget


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quote:

The North Australia Railway (NAR) opened in stages south from Darwin to Birdum, the latter being reached in 1929.


Some more trivia for you: Being the end-point of the NAR is the reason why the one-horse town of Birdum is present on many 20th century world maps and globes.
Funds for the railway linking Darwin with Alice Springs ran out in 1929 and the line was left ending in no man's land near Birdum Creek, with a small railway station being build as transition point between railway and overland movement, augmented by an airfield for mail runs. The station became the nucleus for Birdum town. The location turned out to be less than ideal, Birdum being at one side of Birdum Creek and the highway and telegraph line on the other side, with only a ford connecting both sides which was impassable in the rainy season. During WWII the railway endpoint was transferred 8km further north to Larrimah where rail and highway connected, and a new military airfield was build nearby at Gorrie. Interestingly, Wikipedia features articles on Birdum in English and German, with the English article barely covering one screen and the German one being much longer and elaborate with lots of details on the rise and fall of that city. There must be some Germans out there who are obsessed with Birdum.

< Message edited by LargeSlowTarget -- 2/22/2018 10:46:12 AM >


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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 12:51:30 PM   
geofflambert


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As the article said they have built a railroad, finally. Here it is running parallel to the highway but for much of the trip they are nowhere near each other. Dirt airstrip in the pic.




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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 1:04:52 PM   
geofflambert


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Germans are meticulous about everything, which is fortunate. We know an incredible amount of detail about the holocaust because of their record keeping. The Brits are nearly as anal retentive. It's an interesting difference between the North and South in the US Civil War. The South barely kept any records at all while the North most certainly did. We have good casualty figures for them but estimates for the South have varied widely. Mostly I favor the high side of those.

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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/22/2018 1:39:08 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JeffroK

I did Adelaide to Darwin in 1984, it was dirt, pot holes and bull dust for most of the journey between Pt Augusta & the Nthn Territory border. North of Alice Springs it varied from a good road to a narrow strip of bitumen. Now its an excellent road unless you are following a Road Train.

Sounds similar to the Alaska Highway, built during the war using mostly US labourers - most of whom were black and had never been in a cold climate before. Nor had the northerners seen a black man, so they were considered exotic.
But the road construction had to deal with extreme cold, bears, black flies, muskeg bogs, numerous creeks and rivers, mountains and permafrost melting because the covering peat had been disturbed. The latter could cause your parked bulldozer to disappear while you were sleeping.

Much of the base of the road was locally quarried rock, which was then covered with gravel. Unfortunately the rock was not soft sedimentary rock, it was slate and the like which form sharp shards when broken up. Erosion of the gravel and frost heaving exposed the sharp edges on the driving surface and tires were routinely shredded.

As late as the 1970s, truckers hauling supplies north routinely carried 4-6 extra tires with them! There were few settlements on the road which meant a tow truck could be hundreds of miles away. Not good if you suffer mechanical problems.

On the up side - during the summer you get daylight or dusk light 24 hours a day so you can cover a good distance before pulling over for a nap in your vehicle.

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RE: Stuart Highway "The Track" - 2/23/2018 4:32:45 PM   
rustysi


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One of my dream list things to do is to ride the Ghan RR through the area. Don't ask why it just is.

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