Quorn and Hawker are two towns in the southern Flinders Ranges that are well worth a visit either by travelling north from Port Augusta - or south from Wilpena Pound.
The town of Quorn, 50kms north of Port Augusta, was proclaimed on 16 May 1878. With the building of the Great Northern Railway it became an important railway centre, and the main railway junction for the east-west rail to Perth and north-south to Alice Springs. The last Ghan train passed through Quorn in 1956. This major railway link has now closed but you can travel up to Quorn on the Pichi Richi steam train from Port Augusta. The railway line passes through Pichi Richi Pass which was a major route used by the Aboriginals for thousands of yeas, it's name derived from the Pitjuri bush which was used by the Aboriginals as a medicine.
Whether you visit Quorn via rail or road it is a lovely scenic route up through the lower Flinders Ranges. We travelled to Quorn from Port Augusta in the afternoon and it indeed a beautiful scenic drive. I wish we had gone up in the morning, or taken the Pichi Richi train and allowed more time to explore - but alas we only had the afternoon spare.
If you have an interest in history, your will love Quorn's historic streetscapes which have been the setting for a number of movies incuding Bitter Springs (1940), Walk About (1952) Robbery Under Arms (1957), The Sundowners (1960), Sunday Too Far Away (1974), Gallipoli (1980), The Last Frontier (1985) and the Shirlee (1987).
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For some of these historic movies they would cover the streets with sand. When you see the old covered verandahs and shop fronts you can understand why they used Quorn as settings for these movies. You can see the names of the movies displayed on this shop front.
You can obtain a walking tour map from the Visitor Information Centre located in the Railway Station built in 1915.
I loved the frontage of this old hotel with the vine growing up the verandah posts. Unfortunately the Gift and Crafts shop wasn't open as we were here on a Sunday afternoon. Town was very quiet.
66km north of Quorn is Hawker which is the main gateway to the Flinders Ranges. Settlement in the area dates back to the 1850s and the town was established in 1880.
We stopped at Hawker for lunch after we had come down from the Oondadatta Track. They serve the biggest steak sandwich we have ever seen at the General Store/Cafe/Post Office. This is a steak sandwich with the "works" - steak, bacon, eggs, cheese, salad.... enough for two people! We finally had internet connection so we checked on our emails over lunch, had our punctured tyre fixed, and stocked up our stores at the General Store.
The last trains ran through Hawker in 1970, and today the town's existance depends more and more on tourism - as a stepping off point for exploring the magnificent Flinders Ranges they are well positioned.
There is a Heritage Walk around town and other walks and drives further afield. I loved their heritage houses with the iron bull-nose front verandahs.
This old house may be decaying but look at the decoration on the ironwork - beautiful
I hope you have enjoyed this little look at Quorn and Hawker. A great guide book to the Flinders Ranges is "Flinders Ranges An Adventurer's Guide" by Ron & Viv Moon.
If you would like to take a look at the earlier parts of our South Australia trip, please click on the links here.
- Part 8 - Exploring Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
- Part 7 - Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges
- Part 6 - Outback On the Oodnadatta Track
- Part 5 - Woomera, Coober Pedy & the Painted Desert
- Part 4 - Rock Formations and wildflowers in the Gawler Ranges National Park
- Part 3 - Crossing Australia - the Eyre Highway and the Nullarbor, Western & South Australia
- Part 2 - Granite & Woodlands Discovery Trail - Hyden to Norseman, Western Australia
- Part 1 - On the road through South Australia
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