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16 May 1878 Quorn

 16 May 1878   Quorn

The site of Quorn was chosen by railway surveyors who wanted a point roughly in line with Sydney and Perth, and north of Peterborough, to become the junction of the north-south and east-west lines. 

The town was proclaimed on 16 May 1878 and named by Governor Jervois after Quorndon in Leicestershire. On the same day in 1882 a special train left Adelaide to take visitors to Quorn for the opening of the line from Terowie, for this leg made Quorn the rail junction of the north with lines east to Terowie, west to Port Augusta and north to Government Gums just completed.

On the following day, Governor Jervois arrived from Port Augusta to declare the lines open. In January 1911 the Commonwealth Government took over the northern line, under the terms of the Northern Territory Acceptance Act, although it was not until 1 January 1926 that the Government actually took control and, in 1927, began the line from Oodnadatta to Alice Springs, completed in 1929. The other Commonwealth line from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, opened in 1917, was also standard gauge.

One of the major problems with railways in Australia was the difference in gauges, both within states and between states. Each state government built lines of their own choosing without consultation with other states. This caused problems over the years and it was not until 1995 that the line between Adelaide and Melbourne was standardised making the railway line from east to west standard gauge all the way.

Quorn and District Centenary 1878-1978, Lynton, 1978, pp. 65,79.

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