Old Coast Road

Old Coast Road
Australian Route 1.svg Australian Tourist Route 260.svg
Length 96 km (60 mi)
Direction North-South
From Pinjarra Road, Halls Head, Western Australia
via Dawesville, Lake Clifton, Australind
To Australian Route 1.svg Australian State Route 20.svg South Western Highway via Australind Bypass, Bunbury, Western Australia
Established 1850s
Allocation Australian Route 1.svg Halls Head - Leschenault
Major junctions Mandurah Road, Forrest Highway, Australind Bypass

Old Coast Road is a Western Australian highway linking Mandurah, WA's second-largest city located 75 km south of Perth, with Bunbury, WA's third-largest city. It is signed as Route 1 for most of its length and is 96 kilometres (60 mi) long.



The road started as a route built by convicts in the 1850s through Lake Clifton. For most of its length, the road went through well-timbered, sandy limestone country of little value to agriculture. The area's first European settler was John Fouracre, who built a house in this area in 1852 and had established a wayside inn and changing station at Wellington Location 205 in 1854.[1] Settlement was slow due to poor soils in the district, although as soil technology improved, additives such as superphosphate were added to soils.

After World War II, demand increased for homes in the Myalup-Binningup region. At this point, the South Western Highway through Armadale, Pinjarra and Harvey some 20-30km to the east was signed Route 1 and carried most traffic from Perth to Bunbury. The name "Old Coast Road" was formally adopted on 27 January 1959.[2]

Old Coast Road near Marine Parade, Leschenault.

In the 1950s, Kwinana was developed as Western Australia's primary heavy industrial area, and from the 1960s onwards, Rockingham and Mandurah, previously small villages inhabited by holidaymakers and retirees and servicing low-level agricultural districts, began to develop rapidly into residential cities - by 2001, Rockingham, Mandurah and Bunbury would each have over 50,000 people, and Perth well on its way to 1.5 million. At the same time, the South West became increasingly popular as a tourist destination, made closer to Australia and the world by improved air travel.

Old Coast Road was, exactly as its name suggests, the "old coast road" - a single carriageway, two-lane road - and neither it nor the town centre of Mandurah had ever been designed to cope with the new realities.

In 1983, the Australian Labor Party under Brian Burke was elected to office for the first time in over 10 years with a development platform which promoted the growth of regional cities and the building of infrastructure to support that growth. At that time, Old Coast Road started from the end of Pinjarra Road at the west end of the Mandurah Bridge adjacent to Mandurah's town centre, and was a single carriageway road leading out of Mandurah's southern suburbs and on to Bunbury. Neither Mary Street nor the canal estate existed, and Leighton Road was a minor distributor road into northern Halls Head.

By 1987, Mandurah Road had been built around Mandurah's south and inner east, bypassing Halls Head and the Mandurah Bridge and town centre, and bringing traffic onto the original Fremantle Road at Silver Sands (then called Mandurah Road), and onto a Rockingham bypass, Ennis Avenue, originally constructed as a minor regional road in the late 1970s and later upgraded. In 1988, Rockingham was declared a City, and in 1990, Mandurah followed.

At the other end of the road, Bunbury was growing as well. In 1988-1989, after expansion of Bunbury's port, a number of industries, including a titanium dioxide pigment factory and a silicon producing smelter, opened at Kemerton, just off the Old Coast Road near Australind, Western Australia. Residential growth in Eaton and Australind increased during the 1980s. The Bunbury Tower was built in 1986, and State government departments opened up offices there. By 2001, Australind had grown to house 5,900 people. In the late 1990s, the Australind Bypass was built to relieve pressure on Old Coast Road.

The next stage was to extend the Kwinana Freeway from its former terminus at Safety Bay Road, Baldivis, to Pinjarra Road, and to construct the Forrest Highway from the Pinjarra Road to meet with Old Coast Road at Lake Clifton. This road was opened on 20 September 2009.

Sections of the Old Coast Road are considered notorious, claiming many road accident victims. Data from the Main Roads Department show that between 1996 and 2006 there were 1,560 serious crashes, with 42 fatalities.[3]. Some residents who live on the 30km Single Lane Carriageway call Old Coast as 'Old Ghost Road'


In Mandurah

The road starts at a roundabout in Mary Street, Halls Head, as a minor regional road serving the canal estate in eastern Halls Head. Prior to the construction of the canal estate in 1986-87, this was part of the main route through Mandurah to Perth and fed onto the Mandurah Bridge as "Pinjarra Road", while Leighton Road became a minor regional road into northern Halls Head.

Old Coast Road then turns right at Mandurah Road and takes on Route 1, becoming a dual carriageway at this point. It then proceeds through Mandurah's southern suburbs of Falcon and Wannanup (Port Bouvard) and crosses the Dawesville Channel on a four-lane bridge. About 1km later, the highway becomes the "Dawesville Bypass", with Old Coast Road turning off into a minor north-south regional road through the eastern part of Dawesville before resuming with the highway.

Approximate road distances (in kilometres) of towns from Mandurah.

Mandurah to Australind

Old Coast Road, Pelican Point, with signage.

The highway reduces to a single carriageway and goes through Bouvard, Herron and Lake Clifton. Many residents call this road Old 'Ghost' Road with the number of accidents and fatalities on that single carriageway stretch sinch 1997. With a number of deaths between August 2008 and February 2009 on the 30km stretch between Tims Thicket Road and Johnston Road, this has made Mainroads Western Australia reduce the speed limit from 110km/h to 100km/h an hour in both directions.

The road then abruptly terminates at a roundabout linking the road to an at-grade intersection with Forrest Highway. Forrest Highway reverts back to Old Coast Road while remaining a dual carriageway, passing turnoffs to Preston Beach, Myalup and Binningup. The countryside for this part is mostly jarrah and marri forest with some wetland vegetation and some cleared land being used for farming, especially around Myalup.

Just after the turnoff to the Kemerton Industrial Estate, Route 1 follows onto the Australind Bypass, while Old Coast Road turns off, passing entrances to the rural residential suburb of Leschenault before entering Australind.

Australind to Bunbury

The road travels for about 4 km before bridging the Collie River and passing Eaton and Pelican Point. It then comes to an end at the Australind Bypass in the suburb of Glen Iris, about 6 km from Bunbury's CBD.

Major intersections

  • Australian Route 1.svg (at Halls Head) Mandurah Road to Rockingham and Perth.
  • Australian Route 1.svg (at Dawesville) Dawesville Bypass (both ends)
  • (at Herron) Old Bunbury Road to Pinjarra
  • Australian State Route 2.svg (at Lake Clifton) Forrest Highway to South Yunderup and Perth
  • (at Myalup) Forestry Road/Uduc Road to Harvey
  • (at Binningup) Binningup Road to Binningup
  • (at Leschenault) Wellesley, Treasure and Marriott Roads to Kemerton and Brunswick Junction
  • Australian Route 1.svg (at Leschenault) Australind Bypass to Bunbury
  • (at Australind) Paris Road to Brunswick Junction via Clifton Road
  • (at Pelican Point) Hamilton Road to Eaton; Estuary Drive to Bunbury (scenic route)
  • Australian Route 1.svg (at Glen Iris) Australind Bypass to Perth

See also


  1. ^ Dept of Conservation and Environment. "Yalgorup National Park". Archived from the original on 2006-09-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20060918183947/http://www.naturebase.net/national_parks/previous_parks_month/yalgorup.html. Retrieved 2006-10-10. 
  2. ^ "Naming of Old Coast Road (per 1448/58)". Western Australia Government Gazette: p. 1959:313. 27 January 1959.  Applied to Roads 47 and 797, gazetted in 1872 and 1900 respectively.
  3. ^ "201 dead - yet drivers still speed". news.com.au News Limited. 2006-12-23. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20468177-2,00.html. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 

Coordinates: 33°01′42.42″S 115°44′02.61″E / 33.02845°S 115.7340583°E / -33.02845; 115.7340583

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