Bordertown, South Australia

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South Australia
Bordertown street.jpg
Main street in Bordertown
Bordertown is located in South Australia
Coordinates36°18′0″S 140°46′0″E / 36.30000°S 140.76667°E / -36.30000; 140.76667Coordinates: 36°18′0″S 140°46′0″E / 36.30000°S 140.76667°E / -36.30000; 140.76667
Population2,953 (2016 census)[1]
LGA(s)Tatiara District Council
State electorate(s)MacKillop
Federal Division(s)Barker
Localities around Bordertown:
Cannawigara Senior
Bordertown Pine Hill
Mundulla Pooginagoric, Bordertown South Wolseley
Mural in Apex Park

Bordertown is a small South Australian town near the Victorian border. It is where the Dukes Highway and the railway line, the two main routes between Adelaide and Melbourne, cross Tatiara Creek.

Bordertown is the commercial and administrative centre of the Tatiara District Council. Tatiara is the local Aboriginal word for "Good Country". Bordertown was established in 1852 when a direct route across the 90-mile desert was being planned for gold escorts from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide. Police Inspector Alexander Tolmer was instructed to create a town as close as practical to the border. Tolmer was upset when the town was not named after him, but that was made up for by naming several sites around Bordertown after him, such as Tolmer Park and Tolmer Takeaway.[2] Bordertown is also the birthplace of former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke.


Bordertown is the seat of the Tatiara District Council. It is in the state electoral district of MacKillop and the federal Division of Barker. It is the birthplace of former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke.


Bordertown is home to the historic Clayton Farm Heritage Museum. It is also famous for its white Kangaroos which have been bred for zoos and animal shelters around Australia. The lightning clock on the main street marks the site of the first electricity source.

Heritage listings[edit]

Bordertown has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


The district's economy is based primarily on agriculture, with cereal crops and livestock farming. The largest single employer is the JBS meatworks abbatoir which processes up to 8000 animals per day and employs around 470 people. Almost two-thirds of the employees are migrants to Australia, including refugees and skilled migrants on 457 visas, from a total of at least 23 different home culture groups.[6]


Bordertown's major newspaper, The Border Chronicle, is a local publication that was first printed on 13 June 1908. The newspaper's first building, at DeCourcey Steet, was auctioned in November 2017, after Fairfax Media scaled back newspaper operations and closed the Chronicle’s commercial printing business and office.[7]

Prior to this, the other historical newspaper in the town was the Tatiara Mail which was founded in 1880 by Melbourne Mott (whose father owned The Hamilton Spectator in Victoria) and Michael Murphy.[8] In 1888, the press moved to Nhill and was eventually sold to EJ Stephens of the Nhill Free Press, with the title evolving over time:

  • Tatiara Mail and West Wimmera Advertiser (28 August 1880 – 30 March 1888)[9]
  • Nhill and Tatiara Mail and West Wimmera Advertiser (7 April 1888 – 2 February 1895)
  • Nhill Mail (6 February 1895 – 29 December 1900) - before being absorbed into the Nhill Free Press (1882–1982) in Victoria

A later publication was the Tatiara and Lawloit News (13 June 1908 – 15 June 1912). It was printed in Naracoorte, and was eventually absorbed by the Narracoorte Herald.


Bordertown is on the main routes by road and rail between Adelaide and Melbourne. There are several bus services daily towards each of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Mount Gambier.[10] The Overland train stops twice a week each way.[11] Most rail traffic is freight passing through, although the local grain silos are also served by rail. In 2012, the crossing loop at Bordertown railway station was lengthened to 1500m.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Bordertown (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 January 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ From information signs in Bordertown
  3. ^ "Clayton Farm Complex, including Dwelling, Shearing Shed, Hay Shed, Chaff Shed, Stables, Blacksmithy, Cottage and Workshop". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Bordertown Railway Station". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Bordertown Institute". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  6. ^ Mares, Peter (14 December 2016). "Every town is a Bordertown". Inside Story. Swinburne University of Technology. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Extra, extra: Historic Border Chronicle newspaper building up for grabs". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  8. ^ Laube, Anthony. "LibGuides: SA Newspapers: T-Z". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  9. ^ Tatiara mail and West Wimmera advertiser. Bordertown, S. Aust. : M.C. Mott and M.H. Murphy. 1880.
  10. ^ "Bordertown". Australian Rail Maps. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  11. ^ "The Overland". Great Southern Railway. 20 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 2012-10-20.