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Kanyaka Ruins

Home > Flinders Ranges > Photography | Outdoor | Historic Houses | Free | Escape the City
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Published November 14th 2015
Kanyaka Station ruins
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The Kanyaka Station ruins, in the Flinders Ranges, were once a thriving and successful sheep and cattle station, the area totalling a massive 945 square kilometres.

The name Kanyaka is believed to have come from the Aboriginal meaning 'place of stone', although there is no direct translation.

Established in 1852 initially as a cattle station, it became one of the largest in the area, employing and housing approximately 70 families.

Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The site became almost a self-sufficient small village, consisting of a large homestead, workers cottages, stables, workshops, shearing sheds and huts. Most of the buildings were built of local stone and the remains are still there today, all these years later. They are in surprisingly good condition, although there are signs around that warn visitors to avoid leaning on or climbing on any of the walls.

The area is such a harsh living environment, even now. I can't imagine how hard it must have been back then - the extreme heat and no electricity, no cars, no air conditioning, no running water - sometimes no water at all. Life was definitely hard for these pioneers - it's quite humbling to think of the life they lived.

Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

From 1864 to 1867 there was a devastating drought and 20 000 sheep perished. The heat and the droughts eventually caused the station to be abandoned in 1888.

Today, it's a popular tourist attraction and is worth stopping in for a walk around. Take some photos and learn something about South Australia's early settlers. Each of the buildings have information boards that include photos of the buildings as they were before they were abandoned.

Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

The ruins are approximately 40 kilometres north of Quorn and 12 kilometres south of Hawker.

Access is from the main Quorn to Hawker Road and it is free to enter. There are no facilities here apart from some lovely big gum trees that provide wonderful shade, so bring your own food, drinks and chairs if you're planning to stop for a while. A hat is a must and don't forget the Aerogard - the flies in the outback are horrendous!

There are two separate areas to explore. Both are fairly flat with well made walking paths.

Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges
Kanyaka Ruins, Flinders Ranges (©paula mcmanus)

Hawker is approximately 400 kilometres from Adelaide in South Australia.

The most scenic route to Hawker from Adelaide is via the Clare Valley where you turn onto RM Williams Way and head through Jamestown and Orroroo. The more direct and possibly quicker route is on Highway 1 to Port Augusta, Quorn and then to Hawker. Either way, it's roughly four and a half hours to five hours to Hawker from Adelaide.
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Why? Visit the Kanyaka Station historical site
Where: Near Hawker, in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Golly. 8 articles in 5 days. You're working overtime :)
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11309) 2980 days ago
This site is indeed worth spending some time walking around the ruins and includes a small graveyard.I might add that after you drive down to the second spot,you can continue along the Kanyaka creek via a well worn vehicle track to Death Rock and water hole ,where apparently Aboriginals spent there last days,by this large rock and waterhole.It is not a long distance to drive.When I did this drive,there was no sighnage to indicate to where it would take you...but the track does head southerly.
by noelp (score: 3|1201) 2379 days ago
Great photos - thanks for sharing.
by Annie Waddington-Feather (score: 2|186) 2974 days ago
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