Port Augusta Eyre Peninsula Region Region SA
Port Augusta, with a population of over 14,000 people, has undergone a series of fundamental changes over the past 150 years. By our geographical position, we are a "natural crossroads". 40,000 years ago, the indigenous groups came from the west, north, south and Murraylands to trade at the head of Spencer Gulf. There are sites of significance widely scattered along this quiet waterway, and relics from past ages are evident.
Since colonisation by Europeans in the 1840's and assisted later by Cameleers from Northern India (after to be called Afghans) the small port developed as pastoral occupation of west and north west of Spencer Gulf developed. The great drought in the 1860's caused severe economic setbacks, but with the completion of the Overland Telegraph Line from Darwin and commencement of the Great Northern Railway in 1877 prosperity returned until the early 1890's when again depressed economic conditions prevailed.
The Trans Australian Railway to Parkeston was commenced in 1912, and with the construction of the Railway Workshops this brought an influx into the township, and heralded in the "industrial" era. No longer was the focus upon the activities of the Port.
The township remained a service centre for the pastoral industry, but it attracted a new breed of people, and over the next sixty years developed into a Railway hub with a very highly skilled workforce. The township played a very important role during the Second World War with the servicing of rolling stock for both the Transcontinental and Alice Springs lines, which carried our troops west and north up the track to Darwin.