Mention the name “Barrow Creek ” and I bet the first thing that pop’s into your head is the disappearance and murder of British tourist Peter Falconio along this lonely stretch of hwy back in 2001.
But there’s more to this place than his disappearance,it has a history and some of it a dark history with a massacre occurring near the area ,as recently as 1928. But on a brighter note it also played a big part in connecting the rest of the world with inland Australia.
Driving along the Stuart Hwy ,you’ll find Barrow Creek about 290klms North of Alice Springs.
The Barrow Creek area is the traditional home of the Kaytetye people
It got the name “Barrow Creek” from the explorer “Stuart” when he passed through the area in 1860 ,he named the nearby creek near the town “Barrow Creek”after a English preacher,journalist and politician called John Henry Barrow ,a migrant to Australia and Treasurer of South Australia at the time.But no doubt,John Barrow most likely never even visited the place.
Back September 1871 Barrow Creek was chosen as a site for the Overland Telegraph Repeater Station,this area was chosen because they found surface water ,which meant there was a good chance of water after sinking a well.It became one of 15 repeater stations once completed in August 1872 by Charles Todd…. ,but now-days only four remain.
Though at one stage and about 20 years after its completion,water became so unreliable that there was talk of moving the Station 40 k’s North to an area around Taylor Creek.
The Barrow Creek Station was part of a single strand of wire 3000klm long that went from Port Augusta to Darwin,connecting Central Australia with the rest of the world.
In 1980 microwave telecommunications link replaced the telephone wave carrier system ,making the Barrow Creek Station redundant.
Now days you get the chance to take a step back in time and check out what remains of the Telegraph Station,which is pretty much most of it! though it has had some repairs and changes over the years to keep it up to scratch. On the grounds you can wander around and look at the wagon shed,blacksmiths shed,cemetery and don’t forget to grab the key from the publican at the Barrow Creek Hotel next door to look through the main building.
The graves of two men,a Stationmaster and a Linesman still remain on the grounds of the station surrounded by an elaborate stone wall.
They were attacked and killed by natives back in 1874 just as the Telegraph Station was being officially opened,no one is really certain what prompted the attack ,possibly the treatment of the Kaytetye woman and some say that the white men had fenced off a major waterhole and refused the Kaytetye people access to water rations during time of drought.
The Barrow Creek Hotel was built-in 1926,it still has and uses an underground cellar ,step inside and you are faced with wall after wall of memorabilia,signatures and messages.If you stop in for a look make sure you talk to the publican,the many occasions that we have stopped in for a visit ,we’ve always heard a new story about the goings on in this place,and it’s usually been a different manager each visit.
We have never stayed here over night………always on the move to get to our next destination, spent some time here over the years and they have always been interesting visits.
Camping is around 10 dollars a night with power and water,dogs are welcome and we have always had phone and internet reception.
The resident dog,who made best friends with Beaudine.