Gladstone, South Australia

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South Australia
Gladstone Hotel South Australia.JPG
Gladstone Hotel
Gladstone is located in South Australia
Location in South Australia
Coordinates 33°16′S 138°21′E / 33.267°S 138.350°E / -33.267; 138.350Coordinates: 33°16′S 138°21′E / 33.267°S 138.350°E / -33.267; 138.350
Population 629 (2006 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 5473
LGA(s) Northern Areas Council
State electorate(s) Electoral district of Frome
Federal Division(s) Division of Grey

Gladstone is a small rural town in the Mid North of South Australia in the approach to the lower Flinders Ranges. At the 2006 census, Gladstone had a population of 629.[1]

The town services the surrounding district with two pubs, three churches, a bank, Post Office and several shops and small businesses providing basic goods and services. The closest hospital is 11 km away in a neighbouring rural town, but doctors take appointments in the town’s medical clinic. There is a kindergarten (approximately 12 enrolments), state primary school (63), Catholic primary school (60) and a secondary school (approximately 205 students, drawn from the wider district).

Gladstone has sporting/social clubs providing for Aussie Rules football, netball, cricket, tennis, golf, lawn bowls, swimming (at the local outdoor pool) and soccer (newly formed for school-aged children), all seasonal. Sporting competitions occur between clubs from the neighbouring towns within a radius of about 75 km.

Wheat and sheep are the main farming produce of the region, but Gladstone has the largest inland grain storage facility in the Southern Hemisphere, storing wheat, barley, durum wheat, peas, faba beans and fiesta beans.

Gladstone is also the home of Trend drinks, a local soft drink manufacturer, with a history dating back to 1876.


GM43 diesel train moving grain from the Gladstone Silos in 2008
  A   B                   C   D    
Gladstone Railyard March 1986 showing all three rail gauges in use on the one track bed.
3' 6"    Rails B & C
4' 8.5" Rails A & C
5' 3"    Rails B & D

Gladstone is located on the main Port Pirie to Broken Hill railway, with branches going north and south.

Originally, all the lines were 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge narrow gauge railways. In 1927, the line south of Gladstone to Hamley Bridge was converted to 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) broad gauge, making Gladstone a break-of-gauge junction.[2]

In 1970, the line from Port Pirie to Broken Hill was converted to 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge making Gladstone into a rare three-gauge break-of-gauge junction.[3] In the 1980s, the broad and narrow gauge lines were closed, leaving Gladstone as a purely standard gauge station.

The station is still served by the weekly Indian Pacific, run by Great Southern Rail. It runs to Adelaide on Thursdays, and to Sydney on Tuesdays.

Preceding station   Great Southern Railway   Following station
towards East Perth
Indian Pacific
towards Sydney

Old Gladstone Gaol[edit]

Gladstone's main tourist attraction is the old Gladstone Gaol, built between 1879-81 it was originally intended for inebriates, debtors and other prisoners, both male and female. Male prisoners worked in the market gardens outside the prison walls while female prisoners worked in the gaol's laundry. Containing 120 cells, the gaol never exceeded a maximum of 60 prisoners at any stage during it operational history. During World War II it was used for the internment of Germans and Italians, and later as a military detention centre before returning to public service. From 1953 the gaol was also used as a youth corrective centre. It was closed in 1975, due to its outdated facilities and re-opened to the public in the belief that the archaic prison would frighten children into avoiding a life of crime. It is now open to the public for tours, back-packer accommodation and is available for functions.

Other information[edit]

On the afternoon of 9 May 2006, an explosion at a factory ten kilometres from Gladstone killed three men and injured two more. The factory is a former ammunition factory now used for making mining explosives. The explosion could be heard in Gladstone. (ABC)

The Anglican Diocese of Willochra is based in Gladstone, with the Registry (the Diocesan Office) housed in building in the main street. In addition the Bishop of Willochra lives in Bishop's House which is on the Main North Road.

External Links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Gladstone (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  2. ^ Horse and Steam, Wheat and Copper Callaghan, W.H. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, January;February, 2002 pp9-27;46-63
  3. ^ The Triple-gauge Track of Gladstone Vincent, Graham Australian Railway History, December, 2007 pp474-479