Monday, July 21, 2014


I have taken a few days break during which time I did check out these two items.  I don't know if  they are of interest to anyone or not but am posting them anyway, just in case they are.

After I had told the story of our afternoon out at Rockingham I began to wonder more about Highway 1 and also the old Rockingham Hotel so I did some research (mostly for my own sake) and here I will share with you what I found.

AUSTRALIA'S Highway 1 is a network of highways that circumnavigate the Australian continent, joining all mainland state capitals.  At a total length of approximately 14,500 kilometres (9,000 miles) it is the longest national highway in the world, longer even than the Trans-Siberian Highway (over 11,000km or 6,800 miles) and the Trans-Canada Highway (8,030 km or 4,990 miles).  Every day more than a million people travel on some part of it.
 Highway 1 was created a part of the National Route Numbering system, adopted in 1955.  The route was compiled from an existing network of state and local roads and tracks.  Highway 1 was and still is the only route to reach across all Australian states.  Many of the other national routes are tributaries of Highway 1.

Under the original Highway 1 scheme, certain major traffic routes that ran parallel to the main route were designated National Route Alternative 1.  Most of these route designations have been replaced by either a status route designation, or an alpha-numeric route designation, depending on which state the section is in.

With such a vast and incomparable length, road conditions vary greatly, from multi-lane freeways in populous urban and rural areas, to sealed two-laners in remote areas, such as the Nullarbor Plain, to single lane roads as in northern Queensland.

Some stretches are very isolated, such as the Eyre Highway which crosses the Nullarbor Plain, and the Great Northern Highway, which runs close too the north-western vocastline in Western Australia.  Isolated roadhouses serving the small amount of passing traffic are often the only signs of human activity for hundreds of kilometres.

Highway 1 has been described as a 'death trap' particularly two-lane sections in northern Queensland. due to driver fatigue.  The vast distances between destinations and limited rest areas, especially those suitable for trucks, contribute to the problem.

Highway 1 covers practically every major inhabited part of Australia.  Large capital cities. busy holiday resorts, dramatic coastlines, forests ranging from tropical to temperate gum forests, giant karri stand, scrubland, deserts, and huge tropical swamps are some of the variety of landscapes that can be found en route.

Stretches of Highway 1 are very popular with interstate and overseas tourists.  A drive around Highway 1, with a major detour to Uluru and back again, practically covers most of Australia.  The number 1 shield designating Highway 1 has become part of the bush landscape to many travellers, truckers, and country people.

THE ROCKINGHAM HOTEL:  This is an article I found on of 17 June, 2011, when searching for information re the hotel where we sometimes go for a great inexpensive meal.  I knew it was quite old and sometimes wonder why it is still standing when there is so much high rise development going on around it.

Fight to save 130-year-old hotel

A fight is under way to save the Rockingham Hotel from ruin after the State Government rejected a push by heritage groups to heritage-list the 130-year-old building.  The hotel, on Kent Street, was built in the mid-1880s and has been temporarily listed on the State Register of Heritage Places awaiting a permanent entry, but has not been removed from the list altogether.

The Heritage Minister said he had decided not to progress the Rockingham Hotel to permanent entry on the State Register of Heritage Places because he did not consider the hotel to be of sufficient authentic value, as it had been redeveloped not in keeping with its original heritage.

Formerly known as the Port Hotel, the original building was built by James Bell Jnr to service the Rockingham Port.  It always remained popular attraction and was extended in 1923, remodelled in the late 1930s and extended again in 1957.

The Rockingham MLA  Mark McGowan (who now happens to be the leader of the opposition in W.A's State Parliament) raised the matter in Parliament and called on the Heritage Minister to reconsider his decision.  "We don't have much in the way of heritage around Rockingham so what we do have needs to be preserved" Mr McGowan said.  "The hotel has been there for 130 years.  The building was used as accommodation by sailors and soldiers in both world wars.  Underneath it all it is a beautiful building and in light of its history and heritage it deserves a listing."

The Rockingham Museum curator Wendy Durant said the hotel was the oldest commercial building in Rockingham and it had not stopped operating since it was built.  "The hotel has been a part of Rockingham's history all the way through in every facet and it's definitely worthy of being protected" she said.

The Heritage Minister said there were better examples of building from the era already on the State Register.  "The Rockingham Hotel is listed in the City of Rockingham Municipal Inventory" he said.  "The local government will be mindful of heritage considerations relating to any further development of this property".

The hotel owner did not wish to comment on the matter until he had been officially notified of the Minister's decision.

This is a photograph of Wendy Durant outside the Rockingham Hotel with a picture of the hotel as it was in the 19th century.

Having found this article which I realise is now three years old I am going to try and pursue the matter of whether or not the hotel is now heritage listed.  As Mr McGowan said there is not very much of historical value in or around Rockingham.

I can remember many years ago when hotels in Perth and suburbs were not open on a Sunday how people would drive down to the Rockingham Hotel on a Sunday and sit out in the large beer garden  (that beer garden is now a large car park).  

The other place where people would drive to on Sundays was the Yanchep Inn and it was quite a narrow and winding road back then but even after several (or more) beers mishaps rarely happened.  Maybe the cars were less powerful then and the speeds much slower or did drivers perhaps care more about their passengers and others on the road.


  1. Longer than the Trans Canad highway WOW that is fascinating because I know that is very long. Interesting about the hotel. Have a great time researching Mimsie I love doing that. Hug B

    1. Researching can be so rewarding can't it? There is so much to learn about so many things.
      I must find out more about what is likely to happen to the old pub in Rockingham. I fear it's days could be numbered but they've managed to hang on to it for this long so here's hoping it won't be lost.

  2. Hari OM
    Interesting stuff here! Have been on much of Hwy 1, sadly not the part over the top, connecting in Darwin. My parent have done that bit though. So between us we have the whole thing under our wheels - not entirely sure we would have done it had we grasped the enormity; it was three decades ago and we didn't have the internet to put terror in our tyres! YAM xx

    1. I can image there must have been part of that highway that were rather daunting, especially 30 odd years ago. We only ever made it as far as Carnarvon but have flown over some of it but nut sure that counts. xx

  3. Thanks Mimsie. There are so many parts of Oz I have not seen - and looking at Highway 1's route it looks so easy - though I know that is not true.
    I hope that the Hotel is preserved.

    1. We have friends that take off in their caravan at least once a year and stay away for months. They must have travelled so much of that long highway during that time.
      Fingers crossed for the old pub. Hope it is preserved as part of Rockingham's history. It deserves to be.

  4. "Vast distances and limited rest areas"
    After however many years, I don't see why more rest areas haven't been constructed. What excuse is there? No water supply for a rest area toilet?
    Build a pipeline....

    As for there being not many accidents on a winding road after patrons left the Yanchep Inn, I'd venture to say that people those days went out for a beer or two, to enjoy pleasant company, to get out for an afternoon, and they most often had their wives and children along, as I remember similar outings when I was very young. They most certainly didn't go out with the sole purpose of getting drunk, as so many do these days.

    1. I often wonder at why so few comfort stops along many of our highways. There is often underground water one would think could be utilised. We have stops but usually without toilets.
      I think you are right about how people behaved many years ago. They seemed to care a little more about themselves and their fellow man as seldom do people in today's world. Everyone for themselves and damn everyone else seems to be the philosophy of so many today.