Explorers & Pioneers of OodnadattaPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The monument commemorates the pioneers and explorers who opened up and settled the Oodnadatta area.  It was unveiled during the centenary in 1990. 

John McDouall Stuart explored the region in 1859. The route mapped by Stuart in his journeys of 1857 to 1862 was adopted as part of the Overland Telegraph Line route. There was no township at Oodnadatta in those days. It was called the Yellow Waterhole, or Angle Pole, and later was known as Hookey's Waterhole.

By the 1880s this route was being used by camel trains, led by cameleers from Afghanistan, both of whom were especially brought to Australia for the task of hauling goods into Central Australia for use by pioneer settlers. Camels were the only pack animals capable of taking on a six-week journey in often extreme heat, through sandy terrain. When train travel arrived, many of these camels were left to run wild in the outback where they number in the tens of thousands today. Many Afghan men and their families eventually settled in Oodnadatta and Marree, some marrying into the Aboriginal community.

Oodnadatta became the terminus of the Great Northern Railway in 1890, and remained so until the line was extended to Alice Springs in 1929. The line became known as the Central Australian Railway and the train service on the line was known as the Ghan in honour of the Afghan cameleers.

The railway was built with narrow gauge (1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)) tracks; train traffic was frequently disrupted by washouts and other damage to the trackbed leading to a slow and unreliable service.  The railway through Oodnadatta was closed in 1981; a new standard gauge line was built to the west bypassing Oodnadatta.


Address:Ikartuka Terrace , Oodnadatta, 5734
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.548422
Long: 135.446169
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape
Approx. Event Start Date:1890
Approx. Event End Date:1990


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:May-1990
Front Inscription

1890 - 1990 

In honour of the explorers and pioneers who opened up & settled this harsh area and the hardy citizens who keep it alive today.

Erected By the Oodnadatta Progress Assoc.

May 1990


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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