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Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve

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Battery Room - Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historic Reserve.

Located on the northern edge of town, the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve marks the original site of the first European settlement in the region and originally included the area now covered by the township of Alice Springs.
 

The Telegraph Station was one of twelve repeater stations constructed along the ‘Overland Telegraph Line’ in the early 1870s to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide and is the best preserved station along the ‘Overland Telegraph Line’.

The completion of the line herald a new era for fast direct communication between Britain and her then independent Australian colonies.

Operating for 60 years, and then serving as a school for Aboriginal children, visitors today can view many of the restored stone buildings, including internal furnishing from the period 1895-1905. The Post and Telegraph Office continue to operate, but only on occasions of special historical significance.

The reserve includes a shaded lawns area with picnic and free electric barbeque facilities. There are also public amenities. There is a small kiosk with souvenirs and cold drinks.

Access:
Located 4 km north of Alice Springs along Herbert Heritage Drive, off the Stuart Highway, the reserve is accessible to vehicles and coaches.

There is also a walking and cycling track into the Reserve from the Stuart Highway via Schwartz Crescent, and another track along the west bank of the Todd River, known as the ‘Riverside Walk’.

Source: NRETA - Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve

Check out our range of listed Alice Springs accommodation and Central Australia accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Parks & Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory - Alice Springs Region
Ph: 08 8952 3993 (Guided Tours)

Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve

There is an entry fee, whilst access to the remainder of the Reserve is free.
There is a fee for the guided tour. The most popular time to visit is the cooler months April to October.

You can download a NRETA fact sheet (PDF)

Open
7 days a week 8 am - 5 pm
Closed on Christmas Day
Hours may vary, contact visitor centre

Central Australian Visitor Information Centre - Alice Springs

Alice Springs Telegraph Station - Attractions

Walking Tracks
  • Riverside Walk
    — To Park Boundary — 1.8 km — easy
    — To Town (Todd Mall sails) — 3.3 km — easy
    The shaded banks of the Todd River are often an ideal area to see the bird life that make their homes in the hollow branches of the River Red Gums. From the southern end of the picnic area, follow the western bank of the Todd River (usually dry), south towards Alice Springs, passing granite outcrops that are home to Euros and Black-footed Rock-wallabies. You may be lucky enough to see them in the early morning or late afternoon. At the Reserve boundary the track continues along the River into Alice Springs.
     
  • Bradshaw Walk
    — To Riverside Walk Junction — 2.4 km — easy to moderate
    — Return to Information Shelter — 3.8 km — easy to moderate
    You can join the trail at the Riverside Walk junction or start from the Reserve Information Shelter.

    The Residence in the historic precinct was home for Thomas Bradshaw, a Postmaster at the Telegraph Station in 1890s, and his family. This walk crosses the car park and meanders through Acacia shrubland in the foothills between the River (usually dry) and the main ridge to the west. Rocky in patches, the track crosses creeks and ascends low, stony rises before it turns back toward the River, meeting the Riverside Walk junction, and returns to the Information Shelter.
     
  • Stuart Walk
    — To Park Boundary — 2 km — easy to moderate
    — To Town (Todd Mall sails) — 4.4 km — easy to moderate
    John McDouall Stuart led the first European exploration party into central Australia and established a route for the Telegraph Line. From the eastern side of the picnic area this walk crossed the Todd River, traversing ridges and gullies on the way to the southern boundary of the Reserve. The track winds through an Acacia shrubland with Mulga, Witchetty Bush and a variety of Senna species, before cresting a ridge with views of Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges. At the Reserve boundary you can continue along the track to Alice Springs.
     
  • Spencer Hill Walk
    — To Park Boundary — 1.5 km — easy
    — To Town (Todd Mall sails) — 3.5 km — easy
    Baldwin Spencer recorded Dreaming stories of the Eastern Arrernte people from the area around the Telegraph Station site in the late 1890s. From the eastern side of the picnic area this walk crossed the Todd River and follows its eastern bank to Spencer Hill. Along the base of the foothills the walk goes through a magnificent stand of Ghost Gums. At the Reserve boundary you can continue along the track to Alice Springs.
     
  • Larapinta Trail
    — Section 1 to Simpson's Gap — 23 km — moderate
    — Section 2 — 204 km — grade varies
    This trail takes you in sections through the West MacDonnell National Park.
    For your safety, Walkers using the Larapinta Trail are strongly advised to register their details by ringing the Walker Registration Scheme.
     
  • Trig Hill Walk
    — Return by same track — 1.2 km — moderate
    — Return by cemetery — 2 km — moderate
    Once used as a survey point in mapping the area, Trig Hill is a high point in the Reserve that offers 360º views that take in the Telegraph Station, the Todd River and the MacDonnell Ranges. Follow the track to Alice Springs waterhole and continue on beside the fence line. The track traverses alluvial flats and low granite outcrops to the base of Trig Hill, where a short, steep climb leads to the summit. Return the way you came or continue on and return via the Cemetery.
     
  • Cemetery Walk
    — Return by same track — 1.4 km — easy
    — Return by Trig Hill — 2 km — moderate
    This walk takes you to the grave of five early residents of central Australia. Follow the walking track beside the entrance road for 300 metres tot he Larapinta Trail Information Shelter. The track traverses Acacia and Senna shrublands, crosses a dry creek bed and meanders around granite outcrops on the way to the Cemetery. Return the way you came or continue on and return via Trig Hill.
     
  • Alice Springs Waterhole Walk
    — 200 m — easy
    Limited surface water in central Australia has made this waterhole an important resource for both people and wildlife. The Eastern Arrernte name for the waterhole is ‘Thereyurre’. It was named ‘Alice Spring’ after the wife of the South Australian Postmaster General, in the mistaken belief that it was fed from a spring in the hillside behind it. Although during dry times water may not be visible, it is still present under the sand.

Source: Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve Signage


Wigley Waterhole and Wigley Gorge
Nestled within the Old Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, Wigley Waterhole and Wigley Gorge is one of the locals favourite swimming spot during those long hot summers. Wigley’s (as it is more commonly known) is a hilly, rocky area providing a great place not only for swimming and relaxing by the waterhole, but also bike riding, four wheel driving and bush walking. Less than 15 minute drive from Alice Springs, access is from the Stuart Highway about 15 km north of Alice Springs, turn right and follow the dirt track along which you will see signs pointing the direction.

There is also a rain gauge above Wigley’s Waterhole and Weir that provides flood forecasting and information on any flows into Alice Springs, although sometimes forecast alert can be as short a time frame as 30 minutes, as was the case with the big flows in 1988.1
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Alice Springs Telegraph Station Images

This waterhole was named “Alice Springs” - Commemorative Plaque
Commemorative Plaque
Alice Springs Telegraph Station
Picnic/BBQ area

Kangaroo
View from Trig Hill with Mount Gillen in the distance - Alice Springs Telegraph Station Reserve
Trig Hill
View over Telegraph Station with Heavitree Gap in the distance.
Trig Hill
Battery Room - Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve.
Battery Room
   
 

Source:
1 ABC Alice Springs - Reading the rain 18 November, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2011, from http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2008/11/18/2423028.htm
   
 
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