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Beltana AIM Centenary

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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See The Town That Nearly Died
beltana, aim, john flynn, presbyterian, centenary, afghans
Smith of Dunesk Mission Where John Flynn Started in 1911

Beltana is a small town about 540km north of Adelaide. Originally settled by Europeans in the 1850's, its population peaked at around 500 after growing to support copper mining, the Ghan railway, the overland telegraph, and coal mining at Leigh Creek.

beltana, aim, john flynn, presbyterian, centenary, afghans
Old Cart With Iron Banded Wheels at Beltana

From the 1860's "Afghans"comprising people from India, Iran, Egypt and Turkey came to Australia as cameleers to operate camel trains throughout outback Australia. They were loosely referred to as Afghans largely because of their similar dress and common religious beliefs in Islam. Their contribution helped Australia to thrive in the early days.

When in Adelaide, many worshipped at the distinctive Afghan Mosque, and some were buried in graves you can still see at the West Terrace Cemetery.

beltana, aim, john flynn, presbyterian, centenary, afghans
Outback Scene At Beltana

For many years Reverend John Flynn of the Australian Inland Mission worked to provide a mantle of safety over the people of the outback, and 2012 marks the centenary of the AIM.

Rev Flynn was also responsible for establishing Warrawee Home at Tennyson so that children from towns such as Beltana could receive medical treatment and convalesce.

beltana, aim, john flynn, presbyterian, centenary, afghans
Iconic Outback Residence At Beltana

According to Wikipedia, Beltana is a semi-ghost town 540 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia. Beltana is known for continuing to exist long after the reasons for its existence had ceased. Despite this, the town is a popular place to visit by tourists.

In recognition of the support provided by the Australian Inland Mission, Beltana is hosting Centenary Celebrations in this historic and hardy town over the weekend of 6 7 October. It will commemorate the work of the Rev John Flynn and the women and men who assisted him.

You can find a copy of the program here. For those keen to attend this special outback event, the website also suggests options for travelling there.

Many thanks to Jan Tarr for the beautiful images of Beltana
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Why? Beltana played an important role for SA, and was supported by the AIM
Phone: (08) 8675 2744
Where: Beltana, SA
Your Comment
People keep talking about how there's not much to do in South Australia - but it's gems like these places that make you think otherwise! What an interesting read - must definitely look this place up and visit it if I can! :-)
by Tema (score: 2|855) 2905 days ago
Thank you for another lesson in history
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1596) 2905 days ago
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