Ooldea, South Australia

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South Australia
G22 + goods train, Ooldea, 1919.jpg
A wood and water train in Ooldea, 1919.
Ooldea is located in South Australia
Coordinates 30°27′0″S 131°50′0″E / 30.45000°S 131.83333°E / -30.45000; 131.83333Coordinates: 30°27′0″S 131°50′0″E / 30.45000°S 131.83333°E / -30.45000; 131.83333
Federal Division(s) Grey

Ooldea is a tiny settlement in South Australia. It is on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain, 863 km west of Port Augusta on the Trans-Australian Railway. Ooldea is 143 km from the bitumen Eyre Highway.

It was the site of a mission for Aboriginal children which was visited twice by Norman Tindale and was home for many years to Daisy Bates, both concerned with understanding and protecting Aboriginal culture. A cairn commemorating Daisy Bates was designed by F. Millward Grey and erected in 1953.[1]

Ooldea was an important camp during construction of the railway, as it is near a permanent waterhole, first discovered by Europeans when Ernest Giles used it in 1875. It was also important as the railway siding servicing nuclear testing at Maralinga.

The town was dependent on the Tea and Sugar Train for the delivery of supplies until 1996 when the train was withdrawn. The longest dead straight section of railway line in the world starts west of Ooldea before Watson at the 797 km post and continues to a point between Loongana and Nurina, a distance of 478 km.


  1. ^ "Memorials To Mrs. Daisy Bates.". The Chronicle (Adelaide: National Library of Australia). 20 December 1951. p. 33. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 

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