Farina, South Australia

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South Australia
Farina sign.jpg
Information sign at Farina
Farina is located in South Australia
Coordinates 30°4′S 138°16′E / 30.067°S 138.267°E / -30.067; 138.267Coordinates: 30°4′S 138°16′E / 30.067°S 138.267°E / -30.067; 138.267
Population 55 (2006 census)[1]
Established 1878
Postcode(s) 5733
Location 55 km (34 mi) S of Marree
LGA(s) Outback Communities Authority
State electorate(s) Stuart
Federal Division(s) Grey
Headstones facing Mecca in Farina's cemetery

Farina is a ghost town in South Australia. The mean annual rainfall is 163.6 mm, although it is highly variable. At the 2006 census, Farina had a population of 55.[1]

On the edge of the desert, it is situated on the old alignment of the Ghan railway, 26 km north of Lyndhurst and 55 km south of Marree where the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track commence.


Originally called The Gums or Government Gums,[2] Farina was settled in 1878 by optimistic farmers hoping that rain follows the plough.[3] 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.

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 1143 kg iron meteorite was discovered north-east of the town.

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.

Volunteer efforts have been made to restore the town, including the repair of the bakery and the addition of informational signs.[4]


The town's cemetery is located a few kilometres away via a signposted track. Of interest is the Afghan corner of the cemetery which contains several headstones with both English and Arabic inscriptions, plus several headstones without inscriptions, marking the resting place of former Farina residents of Afghan origin who were involved in or connected to the Afghan camel trains which used to provide transport services before the railway was extended. All the gravestones face Mecca in the Islamic tradition.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Farina (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Basil Fuller: The Ghan – The Story of the Alice Springs Railway. Sydney 1975. ND 2003.ISBN 978-1-74110-806-4
  3. ^ http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/travel/destinations/2010/05/six-of-the-best-ghost-towns/ Brennan, Bridget (2010). "Six of the best ghost towns", Australian Geographic, Issue 97, 21 May.
  4. ^ Mike Sexton (2013-06-20). "Grey nomad volunteers are dusting off an outback ghost town". ABC News. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Farina, South Australia at Wikimedia Commons