So you bought a brand new four wheel drive and you are eager to test its abilities somewhere? If you happen to live in Australia, we might just have a real treat for you. Touring Australian outback spells great adventure right from the start, but how about spicing things up by revisiting some long gone parts of the history of this great nation?
Australia have always seemed like a paradise for fortune seekers from all around the world, who came in thousands to “the promised land” in order to start a new, better life. Unfortunately, the promises were often broken, especially in the past, while the country was still new and sometimes very hostile towards the newcomers. Entire settlements were abandoned all across the outback as their inhabitants moved on to search for a better place to live. Those settlements exist to this day as ghost towns, attracting tourists in search for a taste of history and adventure. In this article, we will list four Australian ghost towns which are among the most popular ones for 4×4 drivers. So, prepare your car, equip it with necessary 4×4 accessories for outback rides, and let’s go!
Mary Kathleen (Mary K)
The location of Mary Kathleen (or Mary K, as it is known by some) has been discovered in the second part of the 19th century by Burke and Wills who travelled through the area on their way to Gulf of Carpentaria. The settlement did not develop until the middle of the 20th century when some significant deposits of Uranium were discovered in the area. The town was bustling with activity for a while, then after the need for Uranium decreased had a decade long hiatus in activity. It reopened in 1974 and had been functioning for around 8 years before it finally closed in 1982.
Today, you are able to visit the Mary Kathleen Memorial Park and Museum in Cloncurry, which is a nearby living settlement and see the old police station which serviced Mary K during its time as well as many other buildings. The ghost town itself consists solely of streets and house remains, but while you are there be sure to check the mine pit which is still accessible.
Duchess is an early 20th century mining settlement which has been long abandoned. Due to the fact that the ore supplies in the region are still being mined, the town still has a working hotel and a train station. Do not hope to reach Duchess by train, though – the train traffic in the area is cargo only. You will need your 4×4 after all.
Near Marble Bar you can find one more abandoned mining town, Shay Gap. Its short, 30 years long history during the second part of the 20th century is not particularly exciting, however the site and surroundings of the town are still awe-inspiring. Nested between two ranges, the remainings of the town’s layout are still visible, however, that is pretty much everything you can expect to see as far as traces of civilization go.
If you head east of Port Hedland and drive for around 100km, you are going to find the site of Goldsworthy, which used to be a town for miners of the first iron ore mine in the region of Pilbara in the west of the country. Goldsworthy, like Shay Gap, lasted for three decades during the second part of the 20 century, but it is in a slightly better condition now. As a matter of fact, your GPS device might still show its streets. When in Goldsworthy, don’t forget to check the mining pit. It’s flooded now, but still a sight to behold.