Balladonia Heritage Museum – Balladonia, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Balladonia Heritage Museum

Balladonia, Australia

A chunk of Skylab debris adorns this small museum at a roadside motel in Western Australia. 

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The Balladonia Heritage Museum is located in part of a roadhouse on the famous Nullarbor Plain. The unique arid landscape of the largely featureless desert that sits between South Australia and Western Australia, means that any attraction visited in the area can be considered a great find in this barren land.

The Eyre Highway is the main road through the Nullarbor Plain. It spans 1,664 kilometers and allows visitors to drive across this fascinating environment, which is dotted with roadhouses offering fuel, food, and accommodation to break up the long drive. The Balladonia Hotel Motel is one such roadhouse, and also home to the Balladonia Heritage Museum.

Over a number of years, the owners have developed the site into an interesting collection of historic artifacts and cultural information that showcase the early history of the area, ranging from the early Aboriginal customs and heritage to the European exploration and settlement in the area. 

The most unique part of the museum tells the story of NASA’s Skylab space station, the first of its type launched by the United States of America. In 1979, the satellite began to disintegrate in the air and news got out across the world with many wondering where it would land and what effect this might have. Parts of the research station crashed down in small pieces in the land around Balladonia. (The U.S. President at the time, Jimmy Carter, actually called the roadhouse to apologize for the crash landing!)

Visitors to the museum can see photos and artifacts from this historic event. 

Know Before You Go

Entry to the museum is free. 

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February 15, 2023

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