Talawana Track

After reading the post about the Canning Stock Route (31st March, 2012), reader Damien raised a question about the Talawana Track, which runs for some 650 kms from Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region through the Little Sandy Desert, intersecting the Canning near Well 24, then continuing east to meet the Gary Highway at Windy Corner.

I read somewhere that it was the last track built by Len Beadell (in about 1963). I’ve put a question about this on the Talk page of the Wikipedia article about Len, so hope to get clarification in due course.

Damien’s question was about the meaning of “Talawana”. I failed to find an answer, but Damien had some success, being told that it was very likely an aboriginal word meaning “across, around or along the sandhills”. Given that the Track runs through a lot of sandhill country (mainly parallel to the sandhills), this seems plausible. Len Beadell usually gave his roads English rather than aboriginal names (often after members of his family), so one wonders why this might have been the exception.

Can any reader throw further light on these matters? [See the author’s additional notes in the comment below.]


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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One Response to Talawana Track

  1. dazzlerplus says:

    Since writing this post, I’ve read Mark Shephard’s biography of Len Beadell, entitled “A Lifetime in the Bush”, and also an article about the Talawana Track has appeared in Wikipedia. Herewith some clarification and correction of matters mentioned above.

    The western end of the Talawana Track is not at Newman, but near the abandoned Old Talawana Homestead, which is a bit to the south-east of the present Balfour Downs Station. An existing track went (and still goes) from there to Newman. So the Track is not 650 kms, but 451 kms.

    According to Shephard, Len Beadell preferred to call the track “Windy Corner Road”. It was built in 1963, and was the last track which Len built.

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