A sample of National Route marking in Western Australia - National Route 1 and National Highway 94 side-by-side on Great Eastern Highway. Source: Vi Ong, Feb 2006.

Western Australia’s contribution to the National Route system is quite small considering its size, however its isolation and lack of connections to other states has resulted in only a handful of National Routes ever being signposted.

A substantial length of the National Route system in Western Australia is part of the National Highway system, despite being legislatively defunct nowadays. The green-and-gold shields that graced the former National Highway network still remain along sections of National 1, National 94 and National 95.

While the National Route marking scheme was adopted by the National Association of Australian State Road Authorities (NAASRA) in 1954 and the first routes signposted in that year, it was not until 1965 that National Route signs first began appearing in Western Australia.

Commenced in 1965 and completed in 1966, the first National Routes in Western Australia were concentrated in the south-western corner of the state. All signed concurrently in this period were National Route 1 (Norseman-Albany-Bunbury-Perth-Moora-Geraldton-Carnarvon), National Route 94 (Perth-Coolgardie-Norseman) and National Route 95 (Albany-Perth-Walebling). It is interesting to note that National Route 95 originally extended south from Perth to Albany (via Albany Highway) and that the duplex with National Route 1 north from Perth to Walebling was signed in 1966, despite National Route 95 not being extended north for several more years.

The completion of the sealing of the Eyre Highway in 1968 brought a further addition to the system - the extension of National Route 1 from Norseman to the WA/SA Border. However, that was where it ended until the sealing of the SA leg of Eyre Highway was completed in 1976.

In 1969 National Route 95 was extended north from where National Route 1 branched off the Great Northern Highway at Walebling to the town of Meekatharra, about 760km north of Perth. That section seemed to complete the signposting of National Routes on Western Australia’s sealed highways, as there was no more expansion of National Route signposting until about 1980 when National Route 95 was extended north to Newman and National Route 1 was extended from Carnarvon to Port Hedland.

In 1974 the Federal Government declared a network of National Highways, to be signed with their existing National Route number and shield, but with green-and-gold rather than black-and-white. This network comprised the following routes:

The sections of National Routes 94 and 95 that extended beyond Midland into Perth’s metropolitan area were not part of the National Highway network, however they were signed with the green-and-gold shield to provide some continuity for motorists. A similar thing has been done in Tasmania, with sections of National Route 1 through Hobart and Launceston.

By the time the State Route system was introduced in April 1986, or possibly in conjunction with its introduction, National Route 95 had been extended north from Newman to Port Hedland, and National Route 1 from Port Hedland to the NT Border near Kunnunurra. Of course, by this time both these routes had been proclaimed National Highways and thus were signed with the green-and-gold shield.

In April 1986, when the Western Australian State Route system was formally introduced, a number of changes were effected to the National Route system. Probably the most significant change was the decommissioning of National Route 95 south of Midland, and the replacement of the section along the Albany Highway with State Route 30. The other notable change was the introduction of Alternative National Route 94, to provide access to/from Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Kambalda and the Adelaide-Perth National Highway route. Full details of changes for each route will be provided in their individual pages.

Finally, there are two National Routes which have caused some conjecture in relation to Western Australia. National Route 91 has appeared on maps since the late 1990s between Kalgoorlie and Meekatharra via the Goldfields Highway. I suspect this may be a future National Route, to be signed when the sealing of Goldfields Highway is completed, because the mapping companies clearly got the idea from somewhere (probably MRWA) and it does fit in with the National Route numbering system as it lies east of National Route 95. The other is National Route 96, previously National Route 80, which terminates currently at the NT/WA Border near Nicholson. MRWA aren’t interested in this one because the road from Nicholson to Halls Creek is not under their control so it seems this route will be stuck in oblivion for the foreseeable future.

Routes that have been decommissioned entirely, i.e. no longer exist at all, are covered in the 'Decommissioned Routes' section. Routes that have had part(s) decommissioned over the years are still covered under this section.


List of active Western Australia National Routes and Highways

Eyre Highway
Great Northern Highway & Victoria Highway
(Port Hedland - NT Border)
Norseman - Esperance - Albany- Bunbury - Perth - Geraldton - Port Hedland
Perth - Coolgardie - Norseman
Coolgardie - Kalgoorlie - Kambalda
Great Northern Highway
(Midland to Port Hedland)

Back to WA Route Numbering