Bullockies, Farmers and Railway People

We travelled via Virginia to join the old Copper Road that had been used by the bullock drays taking copper from Burra to Port Wakefield for export to Port Adelaide and overseas. At Mintaro we saw the extent of the old buildings that had developed at the overnight stop over points along the road. At the head of the copper road in Burra we learned about the extent of the copper mining from what was at one time a major producer of very rich ore. Then on through the once important town of Terowie to the overnight stop at Peterborough which was the hub of the northern narrow gauge railway system from 1881 to 1991. There we visited the Railway Museum to see the old workshops, heritage carriages, steam locomotives and the largest round house in Australia. As the railway depot was at the head of three rail gauges it had four rails laid to handle the narrow, standard and broad gauge lines. Next day we went further north to the Pekina district, guided by local historian John Mannion. This once flourishing, but short lived cereal farming area, was established outside Goyder’s line following the railway development in the 1870s but was soon to fail after a decade of bad seasons. We saw examples such as the abandoned hamlet of Wynflete, and the now depleted town of Pekina which now only has a population of twelve and a few buildings. We then returned to Adelaide after lunch. The tour was put together and run by David Rogers and Barbara Parker.