"High Beach"

Mundiwindi (Mundi Windi)

Western Australia

At one time the Great Northern Highway used to pass through Mundiwindi.

Mundiwindi is 1149 kilometres (714 miles) from Perth between Meekatharra and Nullagine. It is 124km east of Newman. Nowadays the highway goes near the township of Newman instead. There was a telegraph station there, and it later became known as a "Telecom station". This closed down in March 1977.

In 1913, a number of names were put forward for the site and these were narrowed down. Among the final recommendations (apart from Mundiwindi) were "Nulpeak" and "Mungera". One government official noted that: "For some reason these names [Mundiwindi and Mungera] do not appear on present lithos, but are on an old plan 18G & were named I think by J. H. Rowe." NAA

Samuel Ferguson (1884-) a senior lineman was appointed as officer in charge of Mundiwindi in 1915. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by another lineman, Bernard Rimnicker. Goodbye Mundiwindi, quoting George Hymus. Note: A Bernard Rimnicker was listed at the Palace Hotel, Peak Hill with an occupation of publican on the 1912 Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

"The vital role of Mundiwindi can be further appreciated when it is realised that in those days, the route for the overseas telegraph line passed through Meekatharra, Mundiwindi and Marble Bar, linking the submarine cable which entered the ocean at Broome en route to Banjorwangie, in Java, and from there to other countries throughout the world". Goodbye Mundiwindi, quoting George Hymus.

Mundiwindi provided the communications link between the Woomera Rocket Range and Talgarno, which was established in the target area for testing Blue Streak missiles. Goodbye Mundiwindi, quoting George Hymus.

There was confusion in Perth over the location of Mundiwindi. In 1923 the PMG's Senior Inspector sent a telegram to the Postmaster at Mundiwindi requesting "At what mile post is your telegraph station" and "how far from the stock route". This was important because the PMG was applying to the WA government for a lease for a camel paddock of 500 acres or 1000 acres. The state government did not want the paddock to impede drovers on the stock route. NAA

Originally the communication was by means of a single wire earth return circuit. In 1959 a project was commenced to upgrade the single wire to a 12 channel open wire repeater system. Goodbye Mundiwindi, quoting George Hymus.

The water supply at the original Mundiwindi site was poor. A new site seven miles to the north was selected, buildings erected and handed over to Telecom in February 1962. "However thanks to a bag of lawn seeds, manure, plants and various species, an abundance of good quality water and plenty of hard work by original staff members such as Fred Atkins, Kingsley Cant, and Bill Wright, the PMG village soon became know as the 'Oasis in the Desert'." Fruit trees (bananas, pawpaws, oranges and lemons) and various types of vegetables flourished. Goodbye Mundiwindi, quoting George Hymus.

"At the time [1964] the complete population of Mundiwindi comprised the Guthrie family [Tom, a Senior Technician, and his wife, and their children, Stephen, Sharon, Tommy and David], District Line Officer Fred Atkins and his wife, who was the Postmistress and Lineman Bill Wright and his wife and sixteen month old daughter, Michelle. Mr and Mrs Atkins had been three years at the old Mundiwindi Station which is about seven miles south, and three years at the present site." APO Magazine

In 1964 the only buildings were three Post Office, an engine room, a trunkline equipment building, a pump house (good quality water came from a bore) and a line depot. APO Magazine

My grandmother, Rosaline Braine visited Mundiwindi in June 1939 and acquired a hand written fruit cake recipe.

References:
Anon. (1965) "Learning By Radio At Mundiwindi" found in APO Magazine Page 13 February-March edition.
Anon. (1977) "Goodbye Mundiwindi" found in The Institute Vol 1 No 7 Australia Post
National Archives of Australia: PP212/1, 0/31/373


Do you have any further information or photographs? What about "old Mundiwindi"? Please email  John with any interesting information.