Published: May 22nd 2012May 22nd 2012
Ring necked parrot
Another colourful bird
After Hawker, we moved south to Peterborough, which is about 250km north of Adelaide. It is absolutely a town created by a railway. South Australia originally established its rail in 1856 on what was known as broad gauge (5’3”). When the area inland was opened up, to save money they used a narrow gauge (3’6”). When the transcontinental rail arrived from NSW, it used a standard gauge (4’8½”). All these met at Peterborough so engineering works were established to service trains of all three gauges.
To make things even more complicated the transshipment point from broad to narrow gauge was set up 20km south at Terowie. At this point every passenger, luggage, freight, livestock, etc had to be unloaded and reloaded onto a new train to accommodate the change of gauge.
After 1883 when silver and lead was discovered at Broken Hill, the ore was shipped to Port Pirie just north of Adelaide. In the process, it all had to unloaded and reloaded at Terowie. This lasted until 1970 when the broad gauge line was extended to Peterborough and the town closed. It has gone from about 2,000 people (mainly labourers on the transshipments) to less than 100. There
On the road
Flinders Ranges ... somewhere.
are lots of stone buildings and residential houses still there, but the school has just closed (and is for sale) and so has the last pub. A church has sold for $500. Elsewhere in the town there are 4 churches in a row – all closed.
Terowie’s only other claim to fame is that after Gen Douglas Macarthur was ordered out of the Philippines to avoid capture by the Japanese, he flew via Darwin to Alice Springs and refused to fly further. So he came to Terowie to change trains for Adelaide and this is where he uttered his famous remark: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return.” Probably a good trivial pursuit question for an American!
Peterborough also has lost its rail with all trains now being standard gauge, so not much stops there anymore. But they have built a great railway museum and sound and light show in the old workshops and turntable. Well worth the visit.
was interstate day as we drove to Broken Hill. However Broken Hill is only just over 500km from Adelaide compared with 1,150km to Sydney, and we are still in SA’s time zone, so it
Tree & bicycle
Near Wilpena Pound
doesn’t feel like NSW very much. Now we are back inland, the temperatures are much more even, the range being from 5 or 6deg to about 20 with cloudless days. Quite tolerable.
We kept driving on Sunday and went to the Menindee Lakes and back, about 120km south of “the Hill” on the Darling River. It was a surprise to see quite extensive lakes (with water) as we have been in very dry land since leaving Esperance in WA in March. The lake levels are controlled to limit the amount of water going down to the Murray. The area has many good lakes, which have lots of great (free) lakeside camping sites.
We were looking at a large derelict woolshed and met a policeman who was in the “Stock Squad” His beat covers 200,000 sq km, and he concentrates on sheep and cattle stealing. We had a good chat about modern day rustling, etc.
Golf was on the menu today at the Broken Hill Golf Club. It was nice to play on grass greens and mown fairways. 6,200m for the boy and 5,000m for the girl.
Broken Hill reminds us a lot of Kalgoorlie, but not
quite as special. In Broken Hill, there are several iconic old buildings, but there are lots of drab old and new ones as well. The Hill’s quirk is that a lot of the original streets are named after metals, such as Argent, Cobalt, Chloride, etc.
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21 May 2012
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