Cocklebiddy, Western Australia
Cocklebiddy is a small roadhouse community located on the Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It is the third stop after Norseman on the journey east across the Nullarbor Plain. The area is noted for its caves and lakes.
|Population||19 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Dundas|
Cocklebiddy started as an Aboriginal mission station, of which only the stone foundations remain today. The area was thought to be a potential water source and, during World War II, Army engineers attempted to tap fresh water from the lakes, but it was found that a thin skin of fresh water overlay a vast volume of saline water.
The Eyre Telegraph Station, located 49 kilometres (30 mi) south of the settlement, operated from 1897 until 1929. Unlike most others, it remained in a relatively well-preserved state due to its isolation and protection from the Southern Ocean, and in 1976, when the State Government created the Nuytsland Nature Reserve, the facility was converted into a wildlife observatory, known as Eyre Bird Observatory, which opened in 1978. The observatory offers basic camping facilities. Over 230 species of birds have been spotted there.
Like other locations in the Nullarbor Plain area, the area consists of little more than a roadhouse. The current business name of the roadhouse is the Wedgetail Inn and like most other Nullarbor establishments has access to satellite television, as well as providing caravan park, and hotel motel facilities.
The Cocklebiddy area is noted for its caves, the most notable of which is Cocklebiddy cave – a single passage more than 6 km long, of which around 90% is underwater and only accessible via cave diving. In August 1983, a French team set a world record here for the longest cave dive in the world. In October that year, the French record was beaten by an Australian team when Hugh Morrison of Western Australia pushed another 280 metres beyond where the French had tied off. In 1995 South Australian cave diver Christopher Brown went another 20 metres further again, and in late 2008 much of the cave's more distant regions were explored, mapped (using radio-location "pingers" designed and operated by Ken Smith) and videotaped by Craig Challen and Richard Harris et al. using rebreather technologies. (Challen and Harris would later be better known for their involvement in the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue.)
A number of five unique species of Restionaceae (a tussock-like plant) named Harperia, Loxocarya, Onychosepalum, Platychorda and Tremulinawere exist 15–20 kilometres in a somewhat south westerly direction of Cocklebiddy.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Cocklebiddy (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- Murray, Ian; Hercock, Marion; Murray, Ian; Hercock, Marion (2008), Where on the coast is that?, Hesperian Press, ISBN 978-0-85905-452-2
- Sydney Morning Herald (8 February 2004). "Travel – Cocklebiddy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 October 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Western Belle. "Western Australian Towns – C". Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Cocklebiddy Cave Dive – The Worlds Longest". The Scuba Diver magazine: 51–54. 1984.
- Briggs, B.G.; Johnson, L.A.S. (2000). "New species of Harperia, Loxocarya, Onychosepalum, Platychorda and Tremulina (Restionaceae) in Western Australia" (PDF). Telopea. 9 (2): 247–257. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- (1986) Nullarbor locals swim in the salt lake at the bottom of the cave The West Australian, 5 April 1986, p. 30
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