Ghost Towns of South Austalia's Upper North
The plethora of ghost towns in the Upper North around Orroroo highlights the story of many South Australian country towns and the withdrawal of people from the inland for the past 100 years. Towns developed mostly as the hub of farming communities, for mining and to service the rail network, have been going out of business virtually since they were settled, some only lasting a few years. Nowhere has the retreat from the country been more extreme than in the Upper North, due mostly to the remarkable, but totally unjustified development of country towns in the region in the 1870s.
Goyder's Line plaques are found throughout the region, and indicate a line marked on the map of South Australia by Surveyor General George Woodroffe Goyder in 1865 delineating drought affected country. The line, which passes through this area, became an important factor in the settlement of South Australia as it indicated the limits of lands considered safe for agricultural development. The town receives 325 mm of rain each year that is typically spread over 79 days. The rest is dry.
Settlers flooded into the region during a brief unrealistic period of development, even though a large part of the Upper North lies north of Goyder's Line. Eventually, when the seasons turned against them, they realised that Goyder was right. Today, many Upper North towns, stretching from near Spalding in the south, west to Spencer Gulf, north to the Flinders Ranges National Park and east into the dry pastoral country, have reached a point of no return.
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