The Barkly Homestead Roadhouse, the only fuel station for 500 kilometres between Tennant Creek and the Queensland border community of Camooweal, is closed for the “foreseeable future” after a major kitchen fire this week.
Owner David Bassingthwaighte told ABC News that three people were staying at the roadhouse at the time of the fire, but no-one was injured.
“Between a few people, they managed to get some fire extinguishers and put it out on the ceiling,” he said.
Since it was built in 1984, the roadhouse has become a popular destination for truckies and provides vital services and supplies to the surrounding community.
Bassingthwaighte said it would now close indefinitely while they assessed the extent of the damage.
“I suspect it will be a number of weeks before we’re up and going again,” he said.
Bassingthwaighte said the top priority was restoring power at the site so they could resume fuel sales.
“But then it’ll be operating on a fuel-only basis,” he said.
“After that, we’ll just have to play it by ear on how much damage there is and how long it’ll take to fix.”
Bassingthwaighte and his wife bought the homestead late last year in a major $14 million deal.
“We’re slowly renovating, we’ve done some hotel rooms and are just in the process of renovating amenity buildings,” he said.
“So to have this happen is obviously a real setback.”
Motorists are being urged to plan their fuel supplies for the stretch between Camooweal and the Threeways Roadhouse, 20 minutes’ drive north of Tennant Creek.
Camooweal Police are organising for signs to be erected along the Barkly Highway warning motorists about the change before they cross over the border into the Territory.
“It’s an essential stop for caravanners due to the fuel,” Mount Isa Police District Senior Sergeant Sean Wade said.
“Especially at this time of year when the temperatures are up around the high 30s and early 40s.”