Len BeadallPrint Page Print this page

(Diane Watson)
(Diane Watson)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Jo Ussing

The cairn erected at his grave commemorates surveyor and explorer Len Beadall who has been referred to as the last of the true Australian explorers. A memorial has also been erected in Champion Mall, Woomera.

Leonard (Len) Beadell O.A.M., B.E.M., F.I.E.M.S. (Aust) (1923 - 1995) was a surveyor, roadbuilder of over 6000 kilometres, bushman, artist and author, responsible for opening up the last remaining isolated desert areas (some 2.5 million square kilometres) of central Australia from 1947 to 1963. Len is sometimes called "the last true Australian explorer".

Len showed an interest in surveying under the guidance of his surveyor scoutmaster, and later enlisted in the Army Survey Corps during the Second World War.

The decision to survey the Woomera rocket range led Beadell to a lifetime of camping, surveying, exploring and road making in the vast empty areas of Central Australia, opening up for the first time more than 2.5 million square kilometres of the Great Sandy, Gibson and Great Victoria Deserts.

Beadell was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1958 for his work in building the famous Gunbarrel Highway, which stretches 1,600 kilometres across Central Australia.


Address:Pimba Road, Woomera Cemetery, Woomera, 5720
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.182926
Long: 136.832939
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal


Front Inscription

Plaque :

Len Beadall O.A.M., B.E.M., F.I.E.M.S. (Aust)

Surveyor, explorer, roadmaker

A unique character whose surveying skills and endurance enabled him to open up The Outback for all people

Never "Too long in the bush" 


This plaque commemorates the lifetime achievements of a true Australian

Len Beadall 1923 - 1995 O.A.M., B.E.M., F.I.E.M.S. (Aust)

Len Beadall arrived in this area on 12 March 1947 to commence the surveys that ultimately resulted in the Woomera Rocket Range, Emu and Maralinga atomic bomb test sites and over 6,000 kilometres of desert roads.

From 1947 to 1964 Len and the Gunbarrel Road Construction Party were exposed to harsh and lonely conditions in the making of the roads.

These roads covered the centreline of range across largely unexplored deserts northwest from Woomera to the Indian Ocean.

Len was a unique character with an irrepressible sense of humour that carried him through life.



Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au