Waukaringa Goldfields - Outback South Australia

Tuesday, Feb 09, 2021 at 16:46

Stephen L (Clare) SA

In early 1873 James Watson discovered gold in the hills north of Yunta, but this new discovery did not cause too much attention, as the economy at that time in South Australia was healthy and farmers were doing well, which unlike other gold discoveries in South Australia in goldfields like Echunga, Jupiter Creek and the Barossa Goldfields where thousands of hopeful gold prospectors rushed to those areas to try and make their fortunes.

With the discovery of gold, there were then a number of surveyors brought into the area for surveying and resurveying claims, amalgamated leases, roads, dams, machinery sites and boundaries and on the 1 November 1888 the new town was officially proclaimed and by 1890 there were over 750 people living here and during the mines working life, the Waukaringa goldfields produced over 1400 kilograms of gold.

The towns water supply was obtains from water runoff that was channeled in a large underground covered water tank. Like any town that had a steady population, there were two cemeteries with the most accessible being the Catholic Cemetery not far from the underground water tank, while the second one is around 3 kilometres west from the town and located near the edge of the town common. By the late 1950’s the town struggling to survive and the last business to finally close was the popular hotel in the 1970’s.

Today apart from the ruins of the old hotel that are located on the main road from Yunta, the ruins of the old stone chimney from the Alma and Victoria mine is the dominant feature on the hill overlooking the town and these structures have been placed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

If you would like to experience the solitude of these outback ruins, I would not recommend camping at the hotel ruins like many people do, as your camp will get covered with dust as the main road is used by many trucks, where as if you go up to the flat areas up near the old mine ruins, you will be very well elevated to give to very impressive views of the surrounding country and well away from the main road and you do not hear any road noise at all.

Smile like a Crocodile
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