Day 198 – Thursday, 8 December 2022 

Happy birthday to my dad who would have been 107 years old if he was still with us today. 

We left Eucla at 8:12am and the temperature was sitting on 15 degrees. The day was overcast, and it was spitting rain with a chill breeze. 

The Eyre Highway now runs on top of the escarpment, and we can see the sea from the cliff tops of the Great Australia Bight. 

We entered Border Village where we did not have to stop at all going into SA, but there were cars waiting to go through into WA. Apparently the SA government finds it very difficult to get staff at the Border Village as it is so far away from everything on the SA side, and so then we had to stop and be inspected just before Ceduna by the biosecurity staff.  

I thought that having par-boiled the potatoes was a bust at the border but was glad that I had done so as they passed inspection at Ceduna. A lovely young girl did the inspection and wished us a Happy Christmas as we were leaving. 

Much to Russ’ disappointment (again) the policeman waved us through the Breathalyser Station just past the inspection gates. We promptly lost another one hour and forty-five minutes, so we jumped from 8:18am to 10:03 am. Weird on the body clock. 

From Ceduna we climber slowly but steadily to reach 148 metres above sea level at Minippa, and the odometer clocked over the 109,000-kilometre mark along the way. 

At Wudinna we had climber down again to just 89 metres, but then continued to climb once more on the way to Kimba. 

Along the way we stopped off at one of the viewing platforms to take photos of the cliffs of the Great Australia Bight from the top of the escarpment. 

We travelled about 160 kilometres with the vegetation on the treeless plain being salt and blue bushes, before we entered grasslands dotted with the occasional small tree. The Nullarbor Plain is a tribute to the tenacity of Mother Nature. 

Once in the grasslands it stopped spitting with rain. 

We refuelled at Yalata where diesel was $2.21 per litre. The township of Nullarbor is ninety-eight kilometres before Yalata when travelling from WA and, if we had joined the queue there, we would have been paying $2.98 per litre. 

At 11:59 am (new SA time) at Yalata the temperature had reached 24 degrees and it was still overcast. 

We stopped for lunch at Nullarbor in the carpark area, and I took over driving for the next hour. So far, the Eyre Highway is in excellent condition. 

We drove past many bores, wells and windmills. At Nardoo the surrounding vegetation changed again, and we were back in grain country, so fairly flat with an occasional hill here and there. 

About thirty kilometres south of Penong we reached 230 metres above sea level and then climbed higher to 272 metres around the town of Balumbah. 

Today we travelled 384 kilometres which takes our total travel for the last four days up to 1,715 kilometres. No wonder we are feeling a bit tired. 

The caravan park at Kimba is very nice and well set out. The staff were friendly and very welcoming. Penong is home to the largest windmill in Australia. 

The Penong Windmill Museum opened in September 2016 and has featured in several publications including Australian Geographic, Weekly Times and RM Williams Outback Magazine. 

It had over 40,000 visitors in its first year and now attracts up to one hundred people on a good day. It is a tribute to the farmer’s whirling workhorse that nowadays had mostly been replaced by solar panels. 

The museum is outdoors at the side of the Eyre Highway and features a unique collection of around twenty donated and restored windmills from as far away as Marla, the Riverland and Alice Springs. 

Restoration work is performed by community volunteers. It had won the KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful) Best Community Project Award in its first year of operation. 

The small community of Penong has a regular population of around 75 people. It is a popular stopover on the iconic Nullarbor Crossing. 

‘Bruce’ is the biggest windmill in Australia. It was built in 1932 and first used by the Commonwealth Railways at the McKinnon Dam to provide water for the railways at Kultanaby Railway Siding. It was later purchased by Coondamo station in 1977 and used until 2003 when the fan of the windmill was destroyed by high winds. 

It was resurrected and restored in 2016 and called ‘Big Bruce’ after Bruce Nutt, the owner, who has loaned it to the Museum. 

Bruce was one of fifteen 35-foot Comet windmills made and one of only two erected outside of Queensland. It is capable of drawing water from 150 metres and pumping over one million litres a day, or 250,000 gallons. 

The Museum is preserving an important part of farming history. A swing sits among the windmills which, at first, seems out of place. However, a closer look reveals that taking a swing activates the water pump and water begins to flow (I didn’t get to have a swing this trip as we had a long way to travel in the day). 

I put all the washing into the machine and got it done, and then used the dryer for everything except the socks. I was afraid I might run out of jeggings before I got home, and Russ was out of singlets (not that we are expecting to need that from here on, but you just never can tell.) 

Chatted to several ladies in the laundry while waiting for the loads to finish.