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9 February 1937 Kingoonya

 9 February 1937   Kingoonya

9 February 1937 was an important day in Kingoonya as it was the day the hotel was licensed to open. 

Kingoonya was a railway town, some 750 kilometres north west of Adelaide and in its heyday consisted of 16 houses, shop, school, Post Office, police station and roadhouse as well as the pub. Named after the Kingunya Aboriginal tribe around the turn of the century, its lifeblood was the east-west railway line, for it was the home of the fettlers, and it was also a watering hole on the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs. Many outback people came into Kingoonya for their social get-togethers, the dances and the once a year picnic race meeting. But in the late 1970s new cement sleepers and better technology reduced the need for fettlers and later, when the Stuart Highway was re-routed 40 kms to the east through Glendambo, Kingoonya was destined to become a ghost town. 

The licence of the hotel was transferred to Glendambo in December 1982 and the empty buildings and dusty streets were left to the ravages of time, except for a hardy couple named Smith and the odd kangaroo shooter. Alec and 'Smithy' had their moment of fame when they featured in the bi-centennial television link-up around Australia, on 1 January 1988, to usher in Australia's 200 birthday celebrations.

Trevor Gill, Ray Titus, South Australians: Profiles of People and Places,  Wakefield Press, 1986, pp. 33-34.

Tags: Kingoonya

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