Home' Visitor Guide : December 2012 Contents 32 Port Augusta Visitor Guide 2013
Heritage walk (allow 1 to 1½ hours at a leisurely pace)
1 WADLATA OUTBACK CENTRE, formerly
St Joseph's Roman Catholic School. Two sisters of St
Joseph, the order founded by Saint Mary McKillop in
1866, arrived in 1871 to establish a school in a shed
near the seaward end of Commercial Road. Later they
shared a cottage in Flinders Terrace, which doubled as
a convent, school and church. In 1927 Dr Kilian opened
this building as a memorial to Rev. John O'Reilly, the
first Bishop of Port Augusta. A separate secondary
school was built in 1971, and in 1983 the primary and
secondary schools re-combined to form Caritas College
at Port Augusta West. Wadlata was opened in 1988
and was extensively upgraded in 2009.
> Commence your walk by turning left from the entry
to the Wadlata car park.
2 FOUNTAIN GALLERY, formerly St Joseph
Convent. The Convent was built in 1915, and was
expanded several times before the Sisters were relocated
to their new home in Jervois Street in 1987. Its function
as a gallery was transferred to the new Cultural Precinct,
and it now houses the Urramunja Arts Centre.
3 If you proceed across the road bridge over the
railway line, you will see the 'Mural on the Hill' art work
on the outside wall of the Catholic Church property.
This church was built in the early 1970s, when the
original church was in the path of the realigned highway.
> Cross the road at the lights.
4 FLINDERS MEMORIAL ARCH was
unveiled by Mayor L.G. Riches on April 28th, 1948. It
recognises Matthew Flinders, who discovered, surveyed
and named Spencer Gulf in 1802. Originally Mount
Brown and Spencer Gulf could be seen through the
arch, but trees now obscure the view.
5 THE RAILWAY STATION was opened in
1917 by the Commonwealth Railways, as part of the
Trans-Australia Railway. All trains except the coal train
to Leigh Creek pass through the station, and it is the
terminal for the restored Pichi Richi Railway which runs
between Port Augusta and Quorn as a tourist attraction.
6 PORT AUGUSTA PRIMARY SCHOOL
This was Port Augusta's first government school,
established in 1875, but not opened until 1878. It was
also used as a secondary school until the high school
was built in 1951, and for some years the School of
the Air provided a unique radio education for students
residing in the remote Outback from this location. Many
alterations and additions had been made over the years,
but only the original building is now being preserved and
used by the University of Adelaide, while the rest of the
site is a commercial development.
7 CURDNATTA ART GALLERY, formerly
the southern terminus of the Northern Railway, built in
1878 by the South Australian Railways. The first track
travelled along Gibson Street to the Government Jetty,
where cargoes were transferred from ships. As there
were no other means of transport, all supplies for the
town and outlying areas were shipped to Port Augusta
-- including materials and rolling stock for the railway.
This station was replaced in 1917 when the East-West
line was built.
POLICE STATION. Opposite the Gallery is the
police station which was opened in 1996, replacing the
station located on the now-vacant block in Commercial
8 COOINDA CLUB HALL AND
RESTAURANT was built in the 1960s by the
Commonwealth Railways Institute, which was a very
strong social and sporting group at a time when the
railways was one of the town's major employers, with
both administrative and maintenance functions centred
in the town.
COURTS COMPLEX -- the large complex at a
distance beyond the club is the new Courts Complex,
opened in 2007.
9 COMMONWEALTH HOTEL, formerly
known as the Railway Hotel, or the Railway Terminus
Hotel, was modified from two previous shops in 1880.
A well-known musically-inclined family, the Hackendorfs,
was connected with this hotel, and during the time that
they held the licence it was affectionately known as the
10 PORT AUGUSTA MEAT STORE
A butchers' shop has been in this location since the
1890s, probably making it the oldest continuous
business in the main street, apart from the hotels. It
was purchased in 1903 by a member of the Fullerton
family, and remained in family hands until 2008 when it
was sold to Mr Surman. The head above the entrance
is a plaster cast of a long-horn bull which the 1927
11 ST AUGUSTINE'S CHURCH. The
foundation stone was laid on July 13th, 1868, and the
first Divine Service conducted in July 1870. The existing
church's foundation was laid in January 1882, replacing
the original smaller structure. The bell was purchased in
1871. The hall at the rear of the church was completed
in 1878, and was originally the St Augustine's High
School for Boys.
GIBSON STREET. The terrace houses to the left
were built in 1890. Along with other cottages along
Gibson Street, they are among our older residences.
12 GULF & RANGES OPTOMETRISTS
was originally a residence built in 1874 for Francis Bignell,
a well-known store-keeper who commenced a small
drapery in 1863. He joined Young in 1867, and Bignell
& Young were well known general store-keepers and
shipping agents over a wide area, becoming Young &
Gordon in 1881. Bignell only lived here for a matter of
months and the Young family then occupied this house,
until 1964. Bignell was also a partner in the ostrich farm
about 13 km from Port Augusta, which operated from
1883 until 1901, when the effects of drought brought
about its closure.
13 4 GIBSON STREET is one of the more
significant dwellings in Port Augusta. It was built in
1864 by Alexander Drysdale Tassie, the first British
settler in Port Augusta. When his pastoral interests
failed, ownership passed to his creditors in 1866. From
1917 until 2009 the house was home to a succession of
noted local GPs, the last being Dr John Thompson, who
acquired it in 1941.
14 5 CHAPEL STREET. Bignell also owned this
property at some early time, but in 1874 it was acquired
by Dr William Markham, then practising in Port Augusta,
and the first medical superintendent of the Port Augusta
Hospital. The house was extensively altered and added
to in 1912. Allan McLellan, a branch manager of the
Adelaide Steamship Company, and his wife, lived here
from 1949 to 1991. Mr McLellan died in 1968, but is
well remembered for his keen interest in local history,
plus a vast array of other community activities.
15 UNITING CHURCH. This was the site
of the first church of any denomination operating
in Port Augusta: the Bible Christian Society, and the
original structure's foundation stone was laid in 1867
by A.D. Tassie. The foundation stone for the existing
two-storied frontage was laid in 1885 by Thomas
Young. The Widow's Walk, the iron structure at the
very top of the steeple, is the viewing platform said to
be used by the wives of sailors who went to look for
their husband's ship approaching. The Wesleyans had
come to Port Augusta in 1878, and they united with the
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