Many a project was undertaken across the Australian outback in the mid 20th century, but many of these have been abandoned and subsequently forgotten. 

The sense of optimism felt in 1952 when the former Western Australian Department of Agriculture decided to create a town called Camballin (pictured top) in the Kimberley region on the Liveringa Station near Fitzroy River was unfortunately short lived.

Infrastructure was put in place and crops created to grow the likes of rice, oats and cotton were created, with schools, shops and a cinema also erected. But issues such as wildlife, weeds and finances crippled the town. A levee was created to mitigate the effects on the flood, but it failed in 1983 and destroyed a sorghum operation worth $20 million.

There are a number of abandoned engines, water tanks and broken levees scattered across where the town once stood. Heading south, a military base dubbed Talgarno (pictured below) was created in 1958 to observe Blue Streak rockets launched by the United Kingdom in South Australia.

Talgarno military base 

The base was built for 1,000 occupants and included sleeping quarters, a hospital and cinema. It was in operation for a little over a year due to funding cuts from the British Government. Much of the land was auctioned off, with infrastructure still laying abandoned in the WA coastline.

The failed infrastructure underlines the need to build for the long term and to build sustainably. While luck certainly played a part with many creations in Western Australia, the need to be mindful of these issues is imperative if we’re going to reach net zero on time and without pillaging the earth’s resources.


Images: Alchetron, State Library of Western Australia