Eucla, Western Australia.

Eucla, Western Australia.

Eucla is a small settlement 12 kilometres west of the South Australian border. It was originally built in 1877 for the telegraph station, which was built too close to the coast and was abandoned. There was a 1 kilometre long tram line between the jetty and the telegraph station, for bringing supplies to the lonely outpost.

Because Eucla is near the border of Western Australia and South Australia the telegraph station was important as a conversion point. South Australia and Victoria used the American Morse Code - known locally as the Victorian Alphabet - and Western Australia used the International Morse Code. So everything had to be translated and re-transmitted!

The township of Eucla was gazetted in 1885 and peaked in in the 1920s. Then the telegraph line was moved north to run alongside the Trans Australian Railway.

In the 1880s a rabbit plague came through the area. They completely stripped the sandhills, known as the Delisser Sandhills, of vegetation. This destabilised them and large sand drifts began moving into the town. This caused the town to be abandoned and a new town built 4 kilometres inland, on higher ground near the Eucla Pass. Eucla is now an important travellers' stop on the Eyre Highway, with good facilities including fuel and accommodation.

The ruins of the original town, with its limestone buildings, together with the remains of the jetty, can still be seen in the sandhills south of the present town.