Balladonia is a small roadhouse community located on the Eyre Highway in Western Australia. It is the first stop east of Norseman on the long journey east across the Nullarbor Plain. Between Balladonia and Caiguna is a 146.6 kilometre (91.1 mi) stretch of the highway which is one of the longest straight stretches of road in the world.
The name is an Aboriginal word meaning “big rock by itself”, and the area was settled in 1879 and a homestead was built 28 kilometres (17 mi) of the present townsite. From 1897 to 1929, Balladonia was a station on the Perth-Adelaide telegraph line, due to a previous coastal line being shorted by salt spray from the Southern Ocean. The arid climate and lack of suitable water sources restricted the town’s development.
In July 1979, the area gained world-wide attention when the re-entry of the Skylab space station left a trail of debris across the countryside.
The Balladonia roadhouse, a modern air-conditioned facility for travellers, has a display of debris and newspaper clippings, as well as a pub and motel rooms. Access via 4WD is possible to the start of the cliffs, believed to be the longest in the world, of the Great Australian Bight from Balladonia. Information is available from the roadhouse.
There is the ruined shell of a telegraph station just to the east of Balladonia at the start of the famous ‘Hundred Mile Straight’. However, it is signposted as being private property. Also in the area are freshwater pools 14 km east at Afghan Rocks, named for an unfortunate camel driver who was shot by thirsty travellers