Waikerie, South Australia

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South Australia
Mc Coy street, the main street of Waikerie
Waikerie is located in South Australia
Coordinates34°10′0″S 139°59′0″E / 34.16667°S 139.98333°E / -34.16667; 139.98333Coordinates: 34°10′0″S 139°59′0″E / 34.16667°S 139.98333°E / -34.16667; 139.98333
Population2,684 (2016 census)[1]
LGA(s)District Council of Loxton Waikerie
State electorate(s)Chaffey
Federal Division(s)Barker

Waikerie is a rural town in the Riverland region of South Australia on the south bank of the Murray River. At the 2006 census, Waikerie had a population of 1,744.[2] The Sturt Highway passes to the south of the town at the top of the cliffs. There is a cable ferry crossing the river to provide vehicle access from the north side of the river.


Before European settlement, the Ngawait tribe inhabited the area. The river and surrounding land provided everything they could possibly need - fish, shellfish, birds, kangaroos, and native fruits. Now, Waikerie is well known for citrus growing and gliding, as the flat dry terrain provides good thermals. Waikerie hosted the 14th World Gliding Championships in 1974.

The town of Waikerie derives its name from Weikari, which is claimed to mean 'the rising'. However some linguistic anthropologists argue that the name refers to the spider creator god from local creation myths.[3] The Waikerieness was said to fend off monthly centipede infestations by leaking seeds all over the area. This refers to the emergence of many ghost moths (especially Trictena argentata : Hepialidae) from the ground among the river red gums after heavy rain.

Waikerie is in the District Council of Loxton Waikerie, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Chaffey and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Barker. The historic former Irrigation Pumping Station Chimney in Scenic Lookout Reserve is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.[4]

Information sign, overlooking where the ferry crosses the river


The main newspaper of the region is The River News, first published in July 1956 and founded as a direct result of the 1956 Murray River floods.

Waikerie Airport[edit]

Waikerie Airport is near Waikerie. It is home to the Waikerie Gliding Club. It has two runways 08/26 and 02/20.


Waikerie is home to the Waikerie Magpies Football Club (Australian Rules), who currently play in the Riverland Football League. Former Adelaide Crows captain Mark Ricciuto is from Waikerie and played his junior football with the Magpies.

View of the football club oval from Peake Terrace

Waikerie is also home to the 360 metres (390 yd) Sunline Speedway. The speedway has been home to some of the biggest names[according to whom?] in South Australian sedan speedway including Super Sedan drivers Wally Francombe (supercharged EH Holden), Robert Gwynne (Chevrolet Camaro), Noel Reichstein (Chevrolet Corvette) and twice (and inaugural) Australian Street Stock Champion, Neil Hoffman and his Chrysler Centura. Other classes that race at the Speedway include Modified Sedans, Formula 500s, 360 Sprintcars, AMCA Nationals and Late Models.[5]

Notable people from Waikerie[edit]

Notable people born, went to school or lived in Waikerie include:

  • Sir Donald (Don) George Anderson, CBE (1917-1975) – Director-General of Civil Aviation and later chairman of Qantas Airways Ltd.[6]
  • John Neil (Neil) Andrew, AO, FTSE (1944- ) – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Parliament of Australia. Chair, Murray­–Darling Basin Authority [7]
  • Meredith Arnold, AO – Awarded AO in 2013 for her involvement with the local historical society, the Waikerie District Community Committee and her volunteer work at the Waikerie High School and hospital.[8]
  • Warwick (Rick) Maxwell Darling (1957- ) – Cricketer, played for South Australia and Australia[9]
  • Anne Fulwood (1959- ) – Reporter, journalist and writer
  • Ken I'Anson – Motor cycle racer – Australian Sidecar Champion, Australian Pairs Champion, SA Champion, multiple Australian Track Champion, Australian speedway champion [10]
  • John Percival Jennings, AO, PSM, RDA (1923-2003) – Senior Horticultural Adviser and fruit grower. John P Jennings Park in Waikerie named after him.[11]
  • John T. Jennings, BSc(Hons), PhD (1950-) – Entomologist, The University of Adelaide. President of the Royal Society of South Australia (2008-2010). Editor Natural history of the Riverland and Murraylands, Occasional publications of the Royal Society of South Australia; no. 9 (2009).[12]
  • Kym Vincent Lehmann (1946-) – Australian Rules Football player, North Adelaide Football Club[13], [14]
  • Bruce Malcolm Light (1949-2018) – Australian Rules Football player, Port Adelaide Football Club
  • Geoffrey (Geoff) Haydon Manning (1926-2018) – Unionist, author and historian
  • Mark Ricciuto (1975-) – Australian Rules Football player, West Adelaide and Adelaide Crows football clubs. Joint winner 2003 Brownlow Medal
  • Brian Webber BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD – Australian Rules Football player, West Adelaide Football Club. Headmaster of Prince Alfred College, Adelaide (1988–1999)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Waikerie (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 January 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Waikerie (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  3. ^ Peter K. Austin The Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Language, northern New South Wales — A Brief History of Research. James Cook University, 1988. http://www.hrelp.org/aboutus/staff/peter_austin/AustinGamil.pdf
  4. ^ "Former Irrigation Pumping Station Chimney, Waikerie". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Official Website for the Waikerie 'Sunline' Speedway". Official Website for the Waikerie 'Sunline' Speedway.
  6. ^ Gunn, John. Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University – via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ "The Authority". www.mdba.gov.au. 16 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Riverland residents' community efforts recognised". ABC News. 28 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Rick Darling's Profile, Batting Statistics, Fielding Statistics, Bowling Statistics - Warrick Maxwell Darling - Australia - www.cricstats.in". www.cricstats.in.
  10. ^ "Ken I'Anson - Grasstrack GB". grasstrackgb.co.uk.
  11. ^ http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/225184/John_Percival_JENNINGS_Adv_17-1-2004x.pdf
  12. ^ "About the Society". Royal Society of South Australia.
  13. ^ "Australian Football - Kym Lehmann - Player Bio". australianfootball.com.
  14. ^ "Family Notices". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 13 June 1946. p. 14. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via National Library of Australia.

External links[edit]