Eucla is the easternmost locality in Western Australia, located in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia along the Eyre Highway, approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) west of the South Australian border. At the 2016 Australian census, Eucla had a population of 53.
It is the only Western Australian location on the Eyre Highway that has a direct view of the Great Australian Bight due to its elevated position immediately next to the Eucla Pass – where the highway moves out and above the basin known as Roe Plains that occurs between the Madura and Eucla Passes.
The name Eucla is believed to originate from an Aboriginal word "Yinculyer" which one (uncited) source gives as referring to the rising of the planet Venus. It was first used by Europeans for the area at some point before 1867.
In 1841, Eyre and Baxter became the first European explorers to visit the area. In 1867, the president of the Marine Board of South Australia declared a port at Eucla, and in 1870, John Forrest camped at the location for nearly two weeks. In 1873, land was taken up at Moopina Station near the present townsite, and work commenced on a telegraph line from Albany to Adelaide. Land was set aside at Eucla for the establishment of a manual repeater station, and when the telegraph line opened in 1877, Eucla was one of the most important telegraph stations on the line. The station was important as a conversion point because South Australia and Victoria used American Morse code (locally known as the Victorian alphabet) while Western Australia used the international Morse code that is familiar today.
A jetty and tram line were constructed for offloading supplies brought in by sea.
The town was proclaimed a township and gazetted in 1885, and reached its peak in the 1920s, prior to the construction of a new telegraph line further north alongside the Trans-Australian Railway in 1929.
In the 1890s a rabbit plague passed through the area and ate much of the Delisser Sandhills' dune vegetation, thus destabilising the dune system and causing large sand drifts to encroach on the townsite. The original town was abandoned, and a new townsite established about 4 km to the north and higher up on the escarpment. The ruins of the original telegraph station which still stand amongst the dunes are a local tourist attraction.
Many of the pioneer farmers and telegraph operators were buried at Eucla, but as the sand dunes encroached onto their graves, some of the headstones and plaques were removed and can now be seen at the museum at Eucla.
In 1898, the population of the town was 96 (82 males and 14 females).
In 1971, worldwide media publicity came to the town after reports (and indistinct photographs) emerged of a half-naked blonde girl who had gone wild and lived and ran with the kangaroos, who came to be known as the "Nullarbor Nymph". The story subsequently turned out to be a hoax cooked up by the residents of the tiny settlement.
Eucla is the largest stopping point between Norseman and Penong for travellers along the Eyre Highway. It has a hotel and restaurant, a golf club (7 km to the north), a museum dedicated to the Old Telegraph Station. These together with fishing are the locality's major activities. There is also a Traveller's Cross that (despite its name) represents and protects travellers on the Eyre Highway.