The Peterborough to Quorn railway line opened in 1882 as a narrow gauge connection through the upper Mid North of South Australia. From 1917 until 1937 this line was the route taken by Trans Australian Railway trains between Sydney and Perth, and October this year marks the centenary of the Trans Australian railway line.
The busy railway line brought people and prosperity to many of the towns along the way, but re-routing the main line through Port Pirie was the start of a decline for some places. Let's take a look at the mostly abandoned railway stations along the Peterborough-Quorn railway line, and see what's happened to them and the communities they served.
Steam Engine T186 in Pichi Richi Railway Workshops at Quorn
Quorn railway station was established in 1879, and the town became a railway hub in the southern Flinders Ranges from 1882. Although bypassed by east - west trains from 1937, Quorn served an important role moving troops during World War 2. Today the only services running from Quorn are heritage railway trains operated by Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society such as the Pichi Richi Explorer.
Bruce Railway Station in Mid North South Australia is Currently For Sale
Bruce Railway Station Bruce is a historic town on South Australia's dry Willochra Plain east of Quorn. Its initial problem was that more speculators bought land than residents, and the town never really took off. Located well above Goyder's Line, Bruce suffered badly from droughts - and ironically floods.
Today Bruce is one of the abandoned places in mid north South Australia. There are few buildings standing in Bruce apart from the Bruce railway station, which once operated as a B&B. The exterior of the railway station seems largely original, complete with an S.A.R telephone box (pill box), and even original signs. The former Bruce railway station is now for sale, the last train scheduled service passing in 1972.
Hammond Railway Station Platform & Station Master's Cottage
Hammond Railway Station Like Terowie, the ghost town of Hammond has had its ups and downs, but continues to fight on for another day. Sadly the wooden railway station didn't make it, disappearing some time after the 1950's. While Hammond's remaining platform looks like an abandoned railway station, it seems the station master's cottage is in use.
Moockra Station The long abandoned railway station at Moockra has sometimes been described as a siding, and its timber office building disappeared some time after 1984. According to the Railways Commissioner in 1915 Moockra is the native name for a large rock on top of a hill near Pekina.
Train Between Hammond and Moockra (Lionel Noble Collection)
The ghost town of Moockra once had a town hall and a general store and even a school which closed in 1964, but the nearest hotel was in Hammond. Today the remains of the abandoned station platform and a cattle truck are all that I could find, immediately opposite the High Street. There are no longer any railway lines at Moockra, and even the bridges between Hammond and Moockra have long gone.
Carrieton Railway Station, Now a Private Residence
Carrieton The Carrieton railway station is something of a curiosity, being built two miles away from the town of Carrieton. I can't think why, and it seems the angry Carrieton residents couldn't either. For more than a decade locals unsuccessfully pleaded the government to build a tram line to the Carrieton railway station to no avail.
Carrieton is the gateway to the outback, hosts an annual rodeo, and proudly displays its heritage. By contrast the Carrieton railway station (now a private residence) is largely hidden by trees, and the station sign is hard to see from the road.
Eurelia Railway Station, Goods Shed and Refreshment Rooms
Eurelia Railway Station Eurelia is a contrast to Moockra, with parts of the abandoned railway station still standing. The original station building is just a pile of rubble behind a telephone pill box, but the Eurelia station sign and water tank still stand. The goods shed once housed refreshment rooms, where busy staff served passengers when trains arrived. Now the only noise comes from the inevitable resident pigeons.
The Ghost Town of Eurelia is Surrounded by Abandoned Places
From 1890 until 1936 during the Back to Eurelia celebrations there was a population over a hundred, but the general store closed in 1950 and now Eurelia is a ghost town. The Eurelia Hall built in 1909 is one of the few remaining buildings, surrounded by a scattering of ruins.
A horrific railway accident occurred at Walloway in 1901, and a monument erected at Walloway railway crossing in 2001 commemorates the centenary. It tells the story of the accident, with an illustration showing the two steam engines after the collision.
Abandoned Places: Ruins of Walloway Methodist Church
There are still signs and railway lines at Walloway rail crossing, but no trace of the original station remains. Little remains of the Walloway ghost town (once called Rye) except the ruins of the Walloway Hotel and Walloway Methodist Church.
Disused Orroroo Railway Station, Now a Private Residence
Black Rock was first known as Dalton, but like other railway towns was renamed to match the railway station name in 1940. The Black Rock railway station platform and sign remain, but the station buildings are long gone except for the station master's cottage.
Black Rock is another ghost town with few residents, a casualty of the railway line closing. The former Black Rock Hotel is now a gallery, and a church and Institute building also remain - stark against a backdrop of the scenic Flinders Ranges.
The Peerborough railway station has been a hive of activity for well over a hundred years, and trains such as the Indian Pacific still thunder through. There are many things to do in Peterborough, but for rail enthusiasts, the Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre is the ultimate attraction.
Watch The Last Train to Nowhere as local historian John Mannion tells the sad story of the removal of the Peterborough - Quorn railway line.
See the Lionel Noble Collection for a rich range of historical photos of South Australian Railways in the mid-north of South Australia.
Passengers Wait at Eurelia Railway Station Refreshment Rooms (Lionel Noble Collection)
My parents still live at Bruce at the old post and there are other permanent town residents and holiday houses, therefore the town is far from abandoned! Makes me angry to see media such as this, I know it makes the story more sexy but come on! Report the facts please.
Well Dave ..youv'e done it again..fantastic article and pictures...2 in particular Iike..that of the steam train over the bridge and the derelict Methodist Church,with mountain in the background of Walloway..are town I had not heard of before.I was wondering if you could tell me the name of the mountain?Bringing these abandoned towns back to life(so to speak) and letting us know about them is a wonderful service you provide.