Sunday History Photo / SA

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 08:28
ThreadID: 133070 Views:3575 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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Farina is a locality in the Australian state of South Australia. At the 2006 census, Farina had a population of 55.
On the edge of the desert, it sits within the Lake Eyre Basin and it is situated on the old alignment of the Ghan railway, 16 miles North of Lyndhurst and 34 miles south of Marree where the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track commence.

Originally called The Gums or Government Gums, Farina was settled in 1878 by optimistic farmers hoping that rain follows the plough. The town was the railhead for a time until 1884 before the railway was extended to Marree. During the wet years of the 1880s, plans were laid out for a town with 432 ¼-acre blocks. It was believed that it would be good for growing wheat and barley, however normal rainfall is nowhere near enough to grow these crops. Several silver and copper mines were dug in the surrounding area.
The rail line was Farina's link to civilisation, however despite the advertised timetable it rarely ran to time. In 1918 for instance, because of the rotten state of the sleepers and the incipient rusting of the dogs which held the rails onto the sleepers, after a number of specials relating to wartime actions, a following heavy goods train was too much for the track, and the engine and 13 trucks left the line.

Farina grew to reach a peak population of approximately 600 in the late 1800s. In its heyday, the town had two hotels (the Transcontinental and the Exchange) and an underground bakery, a bank, two breweries, a general store, an Anglican church, five blacksmiths, a school and a brothel. In 1909, a 2,520 lb iron meteorite was discovered north-east of the town.

The first hospital was housed in this wooden and corrugated iron building, located between the bakery and the Moffatt's house. In 1925, Sydney Kidman bought the iron building (which was known as "The Bungalow"), and moved it to Wilpoorina to be used as shearer's quarters, and where it remains today.
Today nothing but stone ruins and the elevated railway water tank remain of the township. The post office closed in the 1960s and the railway line closed in the 1980s.

The town is no longer inhabited, with the closest residents now living at Farina station, visible to the west of the town. A bush camping area is maintained by the owners of Farina station.
In 2008 Farina Restoration Group was formed, and in May 2009, 30 people attended a 14-day restoration program at Farina.
Volunteer efforts have been made to restore the town, including the repair of the bakery and the addition of informational signs.

During World War I, 33 men who were born in Farina enlisted for the duration of the war and for four months after its end. All of them were volunteers. The first man enlisted at Helena Vale in South Australia on 28 August 1914 and joined the 11th Battalion. The last man enlisted on the 23 March 1918.
Of the 33 men who went to war from Farina, 5 were killed in action, 10 were wounded and one died at sea, en route to England.
The last survivors were discharged on 16 August 1920.

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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 08:34

Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 08:34
Well done again Doug, your stories are always a must read on Sunday mornings
AnswerID: 602733

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 09:29

Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 09:29
Another good one. Did the report on the ABC TV the other night prompt you to feature Farina today?
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Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 09:32

Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 09:32
Here's the ABC story: Farina on the ABC

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Reply By: Bob R4 - Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 11:16

Sunday, Jul 24, 2016 at 11:16
A spokesman for the restoration group was on the ABC this morning , and spoke of this years efforts, and the fact that today the group is breaking up for this year and closing the bakery.
Great to see some photos to add colour to his words.

Thanks Doug.

AnswerID: 602743

Follow Up By: Zippo - Monday, Jul 25, 2016 at 00:04

Monday, Jul 25, 2016 at 00:04
Back in mid-June the volunteers were very active there. One was meticulously restoring a stone building, very dedicated. The old underground bakery has been forced to close by bureaucracy, not meeting contemporary health regs apparently. A temporary facility had been set up in a tent adjacent.

The camping area just below the war memorial was busy, what with flushing toilets and shower.
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