Sleepers and Ruin – Farina – South Australia
Farina was a brave hope on the edge of the Outback. It started out optimistically enough in the 1870s as a small town with agricultural aspirations. The hope was that rain would follow the plough. A tough call for this speck on the landscape on the outer rim of the vast desert regions that stretch across much of inland Australia.
Farina’s aspirations were enhanced however, when the Transcontinental Railway – The Ghan – arrived. Farina became a railhead for the loading of cattle from a region that stretched as far away as Innamincka nearly 500 kms north over arid and gibber desert country. Afghan cameleers also took advantage of the railhead – and gave their name to The Ghan – as a service, supply and meeting point.
But The Ghan moved on. Initially to Maree, 50 kms north at the junction of the Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks Maree was a town much better situated to service the region and as a consequence, Farina simply began to fade and crumble away.
Today, the ruins of Farina remain as a small part of Farina Station. There is still much to see though, and that makes Farina an excellent stopover point for those heading north. The campground is highly recommended and will provide, after stoking up the donkey, a much welcome hot shower for those who arrive from the more remote regions along the Outback Tracks.
© Copyright 2009 Jeff Catford
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