Old Andado Station is the result of a lifetime of hard work and perseverance by the late Molly and Mac Clark.
The Clarks moved to the original Andado cattle station in 1955 to build a pastoral business. They rebuilt the original homestead as a tourism venture, showing travellers the hardships of living in such a remote location.
The floors were made from cement over ash and fat, with cement walls. The roof was originally crafted from a sapling structure topped with grass thatch, and later replaced with white-washed corrugated iron. Ants, snakes, spiders and other animals were common.
The original building had no windows, plumbing or power. Water had to be carried to the kitchen, bathroom and laundry and kerosene was used for lamps and powering the fridge.
Summer temperatures were often over 50°C and access was slow and arduous, via a goat trail of two tyre tracks meandering through the scrub. It wasn’t until the 1970s that a road was cut from Alice Springs to Andado via Santa Teresa.
Mac died in a light plane accident in 1978, leaving Molly to press on alone. In addition to the climatic challenges, the property was subject to brucellosis and tuberculosis testing by the government in the early 1980s, resulting in the loss of all stock and, ultimately, the property.
But rather than accept defeat, Molly endured the hard times and was able to secure a Crown Lease of a small area around the original homestead. She called this Old Andado and founded a new tourism business.
She set up camping facilities, cooked meals for visitors and provided personal guided tours of the homestead. In 1993, Old Andado was listed on the Heritage Register.
After Molly passed away in 2012, Old Andado passed into the hands of her five grandchildren and the property is now maintained for visitors by volunteer caretakers.
- In 1993, Molly Clark established the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame museum in Alice Springs, because she believed women were not properly recognised for their achievements.
- Old Andado Station is nestled between two red sand ridges on the western edge of the Simpson Desert, 330km south-east of Alice Springs.
- Camping is permitted on-site, and there are shower facilities (heated with a donkey boiler), but you’ll need to bring all your own drinking water, supplies and firewood.