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′33″S 131°50′08″E / 30.459139°S 131.835615°E / -30.459139; 131.835615Coordinates: 30°27′33″S 131°50′08″E / 30.459139°S 131.835615°E / -30.459139; 131.835615[1]
LGA(s) unincorporated area
State electorate(s) Giles[2]
Federal Division(s) Grey[3]

Ooldea is a tiny settlement in South Australia. It is on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain, 863 km (536 mi) west of Port Augusta on the Trans-Australian Railway. Ooldea is 143 km (89 mi) 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.[4]

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. On 17 October 1917 the final link of the railway was completed at Ooldea, linking the western section from Kalgoorlie to the eastern section to Port Augusta.[5] On 17 October 2017, a centenary celebration was held at the siding.[6]

The town was dependent on the Tea and Sugar Train for the delivery of supplies until 1996 when the train was withdrawn.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 (297 mi).

The historic Ooldea Soak and Former United Aborigines Mission Site and Daisy Bates' Campsite are both listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Search results for 'Ooldea, LOCU' with the following datasets being selected - 'Suburbs and Localities', 'Local Government Areas', 'SA Government Regions', 'Railways' and 'Gazetteer'". Location SA Map Viewer. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 5 August 2018. 
  2. ^ "District of Giles Background Profile". ELECTORAL COMMISSION SA. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Federal electoral division of Grey, boundary gazetted 16 December 2011" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Memorials To Mrs. Daisy Bates". The Chronicle. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 20 December 1951. p. 33. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "THE LAST LINK". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,850). Western Australia. 18 October 1917. p. 4. Retrieved 17 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ Taylor, Paige (17 October 2017). "Celebrating rail's unite nation, 100 years on". The Australian. 
  7. ^ "Ooldea Soak and former United Aborigines Mission Site (designated place of archaeological significance)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "Daisy Bates' Campsite". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Ooldea, South Australia at Wikimedia Commons