Oodnadatta

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Oodnadatta
South Australia
The-Pink-Roadhouse-Oodnadatta.JPG
The Pink Roadhouse at Oodnadatta
Oodnadatta is located in South Australia
Oodnadatta
Oodnadatta
Coordinates 27°32′53″S 135°26′52″E / 27.54806°S 135.44778°E / -27.54806; 135.44778Coordinates: 27°32′53″S 135°26′52″E / 27.54806°S 135.44778°E / -27.54806; 135.44778
Population 277 (2006)[1]
Postcode(s) 5734
Location
LGA(s) Outback Areas Community Development Trust
State electorate(s) Stuart
Federal Division(s) Grey

Oodnadatta, in the Australian state of South Australia, is a small town surrounded by an area of 7,800 square kilometres (3,000 sq mi) with cattle stations in arid pastoral rangelands close to the Simpson Desert, 1,011 km (628 mi) north of Adelaide and 112 m above sea level. It can be reached by an unsealed road from Coober Pedy or via the unsealed Oodnadatta Track from Marree to Marla or from the north via Finke, Northern Territory ("Old Ghan Heritage Trail"). The name is derived from Arrernte utnadata, meaning "mulga blossom".[2]

The population was 229 in 1976 and 160 in 1986.[citation needed] The 2006 census reported a population of 277 (150 male, 127 female, including 103 indigenous Australians).[1]

History[edit]

John McDouall Stuart explored the region in 1859. The route mapped by Stuart in his journeys of 1857 to 1862 was adopted as part of the Overland Telegraph Line route. There was no township at Oodnadatta in those days. It was called the Yellow Waterhole, or Angle Pole, and later was known as Hookey's Waterhole. [3]

By the 1880s this route was being used by camel trains, led by cameleers from Afghanistan, both of whom were especially brought to Australia for the task of hauling goods into Central Australia for use by pioneer settlers. Camels were the only pack animals capable of taking on a six-week journey in often extreme heat, through sandy terrain. When train travel arrived, many of these camels were left to run wild in the outback where they number in the tens of thousands today. Many Afghan men and their families eventually settled in Oodnadatta and Maree, some marrying into the Aboriginal community.

Oodnadatta became the terminus of the Great Northern Railway in 1890,[4] and remained so until the line, was extended to Alice Springs in 1929. The line became known as the Central Australian Railway and the train service on the line was known as the Ghan in honour of the Afghan cameleers. The railway was built with narrow gauge (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)) tracks; train traffic was frequently disrupted by washouts and other damage to the trackbed leading to a slow and unreliable service. The Algebuckina Bridge is nearby. The railway through Oodnadatta was closed in 1981; a new standard gauge line was built to the west bypassing Oodnadatta.

Oodnadatta's busiest era was World War II when Australian Army and Air Force set up local facilities to service troop trains and fighter aircraft en route to Darwin. Following the closure of the railway line in 1981, Oodnadatta, formerly a government service centre and supply depot for surrounding pastoral properties, became a residential freehold town for Indigenous Australians who, moving from cattle work, bought empty houses as railway workers left. Increasing tourist traffic along the Oodnadatta Track and an emerging mining industry keep the village alive. The Aboriginal school is the biggest employer.[2]

Climate[edit]

Oodnadatta has a desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) and has also recorded the highest reliably measured maximum temperature in Australia: 50.7°C (123.3 F) on 2 January 1960. A higher temperature was recorded at Cloncurry in 1889; however, this has since been shown to have been recorded in a non-standard enclosure and likely to have been considerably cooler than first believed.[5] There is a large sign in Oodnadatta claiming the town is 'The driest town, the driest state of the driest Continent'.[6]

Climate data for Oodnadatta (1939-present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 50.7
(123.3)
46.8
(116.2)
44.9
(112.8)
42.1
(107.8)
35.0
(95)
32.8
(91)
32.2
(90)
36.5
(97.7)
40.7
(105.3)
45.4
(113.7)
47.3
(117.1)
48.3
(118.9)
50.7
(123.3)
Average high °C (°F) 37.8
(100)
36.6
(97.9)
33.7
(92.7)
28.5
(83.3)
23.2
(73.8)
19.9
(67.8)
19.6
(67.3)
22.1
(71.8)
26.6
(79.9)
30.2
(86.4)
33.7
(92.7)
36.3
(97.3)
29.0
(84.2)
Average low °C (°F) 23.0
(73.4)
22.3
(72.1)
19.2
(66.6)
14.4
(57.9)
9.7
(49.5)
6.5
(43.7)
5.8
(42.4)
7.4
(45.3)
11.4
(52.5)
15.1
(59.2)
18.5
(65.3)
21.2
(70.2)
14.5
(58.1)
Record low °C (°F) 11.7
(53.1)
12.8
(55)
9.5
(49.1)
3.8
(38.8)
0.9
(33.6)
−2.6
(27.3)
−2.2
(28)
−0.3
(31.5)
2.2
(36)
5.1
(41.2)
9.6
(49.3)
11.3
(52.3)
−2.6
(27.3)
Precipitation mm (inches) 22.9
(0.902)
32.2
(1.268)
14.1
(0.555)
11.1
(0.437)
12.8
(0.504)
11.8
(0.465)
10.0
(0.394)
8.1
(0.319)
9.9
(0.39)
13.9
(0.547)
13.0
(0.512)
17.1
(0.673)
177.1
(6.972)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 2.9 2.8 2.3 2.3 2.7 3.0 2.5 2.4 2.7 3.6 3.6 3.5 34.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 337.9 315.0 313.1 273.0 244.9 231.0 254.2 275.9 291.0 316.2 321.0 341.0 3,514.2
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [7]

Oodnadatta elsewhere[edit]

The name Oodnadatta has been used as a name for a crater on the planet Mars.[8]

Life in Oodnadatta[edit]

Oodnadatta Track sign
Canoe hire

The Pink Roadhouse (so-called because it is painted bright pink) is a focal point for the town, providing petrol, a general store, meals, post office facilities and canoe hire. Although they really do have canoes (also painted bright pink), it is not clear where to use them in the surrounding area unless the local waterholes are recently filled.

Oodnadatta is serviced twice weekly by the Coober Pedy Oodnadatta One Day Mail Run. The OKA mail truck also carries some general freight and passengers.[9] Road trains bring weekly supplies of food and fuel etc. from Adelaide. Royal Flying Doctor Service and charter flights use the Oodnadatta Progress Associations' local all weather WW2 airstrip which houses an automatic weather station.

There is a museum in the old Ghan railway station, and a staffed medical centre. The railway station comprises a large and imposing Victorian-era home built for the station master's family, with verandahs on three sides, very high ceilings for coolness, and a cellar. Abutting the station-masters residence is the railway station office itself. The whole precinct has been kept in very good condition since the line closed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Oodnadatta (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Outback: The Oodnadatta Track". National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA). Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  3. ^ "Alfred Giles - Enjoying Life at 80.". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 22 September 1928. p. 3. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Great Northern to Government Gums - A Mineral Railway Callaghan, W.H. Australian Railway History, September;October, 2008 pp283-301;323-336
  5. ^ "Queensland to bake on Christmas Day". AM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 December 2003. Retrieved 17 November 2009. 
  6. ^ "Too Hot to Refuel as Town Bakes". Adelaide Now. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Climate Statistics for Oodnadatta Airport". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  8. ^ Categories for Naming Features on Planets and Satellites, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, USGS Astrogeology Science Center, NASA
  9. ^ "Coober Pedy Oodnadatta One Day Mail Run". 

External links[edit]