Sunday, 16 September 2012

AUSTRALIA'S SMALLEST TOWN


Border Village:
Australia’s smallest town
South Australia - Western Australia border

Border Village is located 12 kilometers east of Eucla, Western Australia and 187 kilometers west of Nullarbor Roadhouse in South Australia. Situated just 50 meters east of the Western Australian Agricultural checkpoint, Border Village acts very much as a gateway to both South Australia and Western Australia. Nullarbor Plains travelers will appreciate a short stop at Border Village.

It only takes a few minutes to meet the entire population of 12 people and all of them should be in the village to meet travelers since there are very few places for them to go outside the village. It is literally in the middle of nowhere on a featureless landscape.



The traditional Aboriginal owners of the coastal strip of land in this area of the Nullarbor were the Mirning people. Tentative European explorations of the Nullarbor commenced with Edward John Eyre's expedition of 1841. At the time Eyre and his four fellow expeditioners were engaged in a desperate quest for rich grazing lands and an overland passage to King George's Sound in Western Australia. South of Border Village, Eyre's expedition very nearly came to a calamitous end with the party forced to endure a waterless 5 day trek across the Bunda Cliffs. Salvation later came to hand when Eyre discovered native wells in the sandhills at nearby Eucla.

At the time of Eyre's explorations the territory lying between the Head of Bight and Border Village was held to be part of New South Wales. The "Bight Rectangle" as it became known stretched as far north as the Great Victoria Desert and the present day boundary of the Northern Territory. Isolated from the eastern coast of New South Wales it made good political sense to transfer the "Bight Rectangle" to South Australia's colonial government. Transfer of sovereignty finally occurred in December 1861.
Border Village is a relatively new settlement and today its sole purpose for existence is to serve the needs of passing travelers and the freight hauling industry.

Border Village Roadhouse has good modern amenities, EFTPOS facilities, and is open 7 days a week 24 hours a day. If you are heading west a short rest break is recommended given that your vehicle will be required to undergo a compulsory quarantine inspection at the nearby Western Australian Agricultural checkpoint. Within the Border Village Roadhouse travelers will find a Motel with licensed bar and restaurant. Dormitory accommodation is also available for Backpackers. Caravan Park facilities are also available although there are no on-site vans available for hire. Useful facilities for travelers include take away food services, pay public showers, pay telephones and an internet service for those of you needing to email home.

Border Village Attractions

Travelers heading to the east of Border Village should definitely take the time to view the Bunda Cliffs - situated just to the south of the Eyre Highway. Between Border Village and Nullarbor Roadhouse are six or so scenic lookouts, some with perpendicular limestone cliffs dropping 90 meters or so into the Southern Ocean. Occasionally Southern Right Whales can be seen here in their winter nursery grounds - between May and October. Visitors should note that some scenic lookouts are definitely much more spectacular than others, and for those of you who have a fear of heights we recommend you stay in the car until your friends return! Another word of warning: Nullarbor Net urges you to avoid approaching cliff edges too closely as these limestone cliffs are prone to crumbling into the ocean below. Having said that, bring your camera, take some snaps and enjoy some truly stunning cliff top scenery.

Between Border Village and Nullarbor Roadhouse travelers will find numerous rest stops, many of which are suitable for overnight camping. Travelers should be aware that during summer daily maximum temperatures can often exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104°F). Annual rainfall is less than 10 inches.
If you are heading to Western Australia the Agricultural Checkpoint is located on the border - 50 meters west of Border Village. Travelers are advised fresh fruit, seeds, honey, plant material and soil will be confiscated. For those of you with long haired pet dogs be prepared to brush their coats in order to remove any offending stray grass seeds! Travelers heading across the Nullarbor in a westerly direction should note South Australia's checkpoint is located at Ceduna - 500 kilometers east of Border Village.

While Border Village may be Australia’s littlest town it can boast the world’s biggest kangaroo; The Big Kangaroo measuring 5 meters by 2 meters was made from papier-mâché and fiberglass over a steel frame and was completed in 1986.

Other attractions in the region include caves at Warbla, Koomooloobooka (don’t try to say that quickly) and several other places. Visitors to the caves should seek advice from the locals before venturing off the highway.