Wednesday, January 9

Walk around Gladstone

It is so many years since I have been to Gladstone (South Australia) but some things I recall well.  Clearly many buildings have deteriorated and changed hands, and some old buildings that were banks or other public buildings are now residential.  I don't recall the hotel or the butter factory, but I must have passed them many times as they are only a few doors from my aunt and uncle's home.  I do remember the swimming pool as we spent a lot of time there, and I remember Eudunda Farmers, which was a small department store.  It is now an IGA supermarket.

I had called into the Southern Flinders Discovery Centre, to get information about where to stay, and was given a sheet headed "Gladstone S.A. Town Walk, and as yesterday was just too hot to contemplate such a venture, so I chose to go early the following morning.

My Aunt and Uncle's old home
As it turns out a cool change came through overnight, and the morning sky was cloud covered.  And it was so cool I had to wear two t-shirts, but I set off armed with the information sheet and my camera. One of the many things I learned is how Gladstone, South Australia, played a big part in history.

In the booklet, there are 32 places of interested listed.  They include some really fascinating places.

Date Palm Grove - in the main street of Gladstone, parallel with the railway line is a grove of date palms that were planted in 1932, by a local community leader, Charles Budge.

Railway Line  - It is the main line from Adelaide, Perth and Sydney, so along with the Indian Pacific passing through 4 times a week, there are many freight trains.  The railway yards were unique in that they had three gauges of track.  In the early days it was a hugely busy station with 90 staff, and a great range of agricultural and other products passed through the station.

Trend Drinks - this was established in 1906, and still operates today, though it has changed hands several times.  It is noted for its Ginger Beer, Sarsparilla and is the only soft drink manufacturer in rural South Australia. (I shall go there to test their Ginger Beer later).

Munitions  Siding- this was used during the Second World War, to load and unload ammunition.

Gladstone Gaol - built between 1879 and 1881, was first used for 'inebriates, debtors and other prisoners' and eventually used as a medium security prison, though closed in 1975. It is now a tourist attraction.  (I will visit later)

Booyoolee Station - it is opposite the caravan park, though as a private residence, it is not open to the public, but has a fascinating history.  It was established by the Hughes family, in 1846, and is still owned by the Hughes family.  In 1870 a meat canning works was set up, the first cannery in South Australia.  The canned meet was used by the builders of the Overland Telegraph Line to Darwin and by soldiers fighting in the Boer War in South Australia.  Booyoolee Beef soon became known as the famous "Bully Beef".  The cannery ceased operation in the early 1900's.

(Information taken from the Southern Flinders Discovery Centre info sheet)

Tunnel under the railway line
Old Cottages

Old Gladstone Railway Station
Old railway station - now private residence