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15 December 1879 Railway line Between Port Augusta and Quorn

15 December 1879     Railway line Between Port Augusta and Quorn

The railway line between Port Augusta and Quorn was opened without ceremony on 15 December 1879. As early as 1861 officials of the Great Northern Mining Company had sought a railway to facilitate transport of ore, but it was not until 27 June 1876 that an Act for the construction of a line from Port Augusta to Government Gums (later Farina) was assented to. Work began in November 1877 on the line to go through Pichi Richi Pass to the eastern side of the ranges then through Quorn to Hawker and on to Government Gums. The contract was worth £578,944. Because of the shortage of labour many Chinese workers from Victoria were brought to the line and they and other men lived in tents along the way. The first twenty-four mile section from Port Augusta to Quorn was completed by July 1879, the next forty-four miles to Hawker opened for traffic on 28 June 1880, Hawker to Beltana, seventy-nine miles by 1 July 1881 and the last fifty-five miles to Government Gums opened on 22 May 1882. Later the line was extended a further thirty-three miles to Hergott Springs, now Marree, by 7 February 1884 and the final section to Oodnadatta was completed on 7 January 1891, some 478 miles from Port Augusta and 688 miles from Adelaide.

Quorn and District Centenary, Lynton Publications, 1978, pp.63-5.

Tags: Port Augusta, Quorn, Railways

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