Subsequent to his construction of the Gunbarrel Highway (completed
1958), Beadell and his Gunbarrel Road Construction Party were
commissioned to survey and build a road connecting it with a proposed
east-west road some 300 km further north. The requirement was
related to future National Mapping Council surveys for the Woomera
On 31st March 1960, Beadell selected a stand of desert oak trees
30 km south-east of Giles as the commencement point for the road.
From there the road steered north-east past Schwerin Mural Crescent
(named by Ernest Giles in 1874) then veered north towards Walter James
Range. When examining this area Beadell discovered a small rock basin
containing crystal-clear water, Bungabiddy (or Pangkupirri) Rock Hole.
He ensured that his new road passed close by the water hole for the
benefit of future travellers.
A problem confronting Beadell was to find a way around Lake Hopkins,
a huge salt lake consisting of many muddy patches linked by narrow
connections. His preference was to head north-east towards Sir
Frederick Range, but after much trial and error, he was forced to the
west, and it took until mid May to bypass the obstacle. On reaching Sir
Frederick Range, Beadell had his team bulldoze a side track to the
highest point as access to the site for a future Trig station.
Just beyond this point, Beadell discovered a series of Aboriginal
petroglyphs on a smooth rock surface located in a creek bed. Neatly
carved spirals, concentric circles, shapes of animal and bird tracks
were revealed to him, the only ones of this type he had seen.
The track then veered to the east, passed south of further obstacles
(Lake Macdonald and Bonython Range) and headed towards Davenport Hills.
It was on this section that the border between Western Australia and
the Northern Territory was crossed. Beadell determined the latitude and
longitude using his theodolite for astronomical observations, and
marked the border with four desert oak poles and associated aluminium
plates on 10th June.
Construction of the track continued past Davenport Hills (22nd June)
and the Tropic of Capricorn (25th June), which was marked with a pole
and aluminium plate. The team arrived at Mt Leisler on 29th June.
Beadell had spent some time near Mt Leisler looking for a tree which
had been blazed by the explorer William Tietkens in May 1889, and when
he discovered its position, made the road pass nearby, marking the
location with his trademark signpost.
By 4th July the road had passed the northern end of Kintore Range to
the present position of a T-junction with the future east-west Gary
Junction Road, and continued north for another 26 km. Up until
then, the road was simply known as the north road, and on 7 July work
was halted while Beadell was recalled to Adelaide. During his trip to
rejoin the crew he was smitten with a severe eye ailment known as Sandy
blight (Trachoma). Despite concerted efforts by the doctor and padre at
Woomera to persuade him to rest, he continued on.
The condition caused him great difficulty with star observations, so
he decided that the T-junction would be called Sandy Blight Junction.
On 27th August 1960, the precise location of the junction was fixed,
and the name Sandy Blight Junction Road came into general use. The
section to the north was never used. As soon as it was finished,
Beadell and team began work on their next assignment, the Gary Junction