Cecelia writes stories & tutors English. Her ONLINE POETRY COURSE is available on openlearning, and she has several books in print.
Cecelia's articles are illustrated with photos by Allan who enjoys photography.
Published May 6th 2017
A natural curiosity and small town hospitality
Lochiel is located approximately 125 km north of Adelaide on the A1 Augusta Highway. It is a small settlement tucked between the western side of Lake Bumbunga, and the eastern edge of the Hummocks Ranges. While Lochiel has a low population, it does have several attractions. The town was surveyed in 1869, and is home to a few salt miners and local farmers. The salt mine was active in the early 1900, apparently doing a booming business around the war era, when a train carried salt away for use in factories. The industry declined and the mines were officially closed in 1996. However, a sign has been posted once again, so it looks like the salt works is currently in operation.
The first of these attractions is the pink lake. Apparently, the mud around the lake is very salty and when it rains, the salt is dissolved in the water that fills the lake. This does not completely explain why the lake is so pink. The colour varies according to the time of the year, but when we passed by, it was genuinely gloriously pink. Someone suggested that the pink was caused by a carotene producing algae growing in the lake. The causes of lake colouration usually include minerals in the surrounding area and algae growth.
We were lucky to be passing by on a weekend when the town hall was open to visitors. This hall is full of antiques and curios, some are old and a few new. The set-up looks semi-permanent, although I don't expect it is open every day, probably holidays and long weekends. The lady next door had an impressive range of trinkets and artworks in here garage too. There appeared to be old machinery in the yard as well, but that wasn't exactly my field of interest.
On a long trip, it is good to stop, revive and survive. When we passed through Lochiel we saw a Café/Bakery with its doors open invitingly. This would have been the Jitter Bean Oasis, which is popular among travellers and locals. They serve a quality coffee and light meals.
You can go on to Snowtown and eat at the snack bar on Fourth Street. The famous Lochiel pub was burned down in 2014, but there were plans to rebuild it. (The Bute hotel is 15 kilometres away in nearby Bute.)