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South Australia
Blinman main street
Population 151 (2006 census)
Established 1851
Postcode(s) 5730
Location 485 km (301 mi) north of Adelaide
LGA(s) Outback Communities Authority
State electorate(s) Stuart
Federal Division(s) Grey

Blinman is a town deep in the Flinders Ranges, in the mid north of South Australia. It is very small but has the claim of being the highest surveyed town in South Australia. It serves as a base for large acre pastoralists and tourism. The town is just north of the Flinders Ranges National Park, is 60 kilometres(km) north of Wilpena Pound and 485 km north of Adelaide.


Indigenous people

This land belonged to the Adnyamathanha tribe, of Indigenous Australians prior to Europeans. They were stone age hunter-gatherers and inhabited much of the area (including Wilpena Pound to the south and other areas to the north). One of their unique customs was burn offs (controlled bushfires) to promote plant growth in the future seasons.

European settlement

The first European settlement around the current Blinman, was firstly of Angorichina Station. This land was taken up for sheep farming in the 1850s. A shepherd employed by the station, Robert Blinman, discovered a copper outcrop on a hot December day in 1859. Blinman gambled some of his money on the presence of more underground copper and received a mineral application in 1860. On 1 January 1861, Blinman and three friends, Alfred Frost, Joe Mole and Henry Alfred, received the lease for the land that became Blinman.

Mining was successful in the first year and the mine became known as Wheal Blinman. The original four leaseholders sold their mine in February 1862, for about 150 times the purchase price. The new owners were the Yudnamutana Copper Mining Company of South Australia, who also owned a rich deposit north of Blinman. The mine was very successful during the 1860s and the site became permanent, with buildings being constructed and more miners moving to the area, some from the Burra mine. The hardest problems at the time were the transport of Ore and the finding of water. Over the next 20 years, railways were developed and wells were sunk at regular intervals making life easier for all.

Family life was hard in the early days. Both water and firewood had to be brought from long distances from the mine. This job was left to the women and their elder children while the men were working. Many pregnancies failed in the early years and there were several deaths reported from inflammation of the lungs. With the original tent settlement being very close to the mine, it was very hard to escape the fine dust generated. A hotel and post office were first opened in Blinman in 1863. In 1864, a government surveyor laid out 162 allotments about three km from the mine. This was named Blinman. The population was about 1,500 by 1868 and the first school opened that year. Decent shops in the main street developed in 1869. The striking of regular water in the mine the same year secured a regular water supply for the town.

Mining continued until 1918 when the ore ran out. The busiest time for the mine was 1913-1918 with a town population of 2,000. The total ore removed was about 10,000 tonnes.

The current locality of Blinman combines what had previously been two small government towns a short distance apart along the Flinders Ranges Way. The government town of Blinman was surveyed in 1864, and named after a shepherd, Robert Blinman, who was reported to have been the initial discoverer of copper in the region. The government town of Blinman North was surveyed nearby in 1867. In 1985, the former Blinman was renamed Blinman South, and the former Blinman North was renamed Blinman. In October 2003, the current bounded locality of Blinman was created, incorporating both settlements within the new boundaries.

Heritage listings

Blinman has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Blinman Dome Diapir
  • Blinman Mine and Mine Manager's Cottage
  • Mine Road Dwelling and Dugout


Tourists travel to this area to enjoy the Outback of South Australia and to see the ancient geology of the area. The town is close to Brachina Gorge and Parachilna Gorge. These two rarely have flowing water in them. Also nearby are the Blinman Pools. The town is a stop off on the way to Arkaroola. The copper mine at one end of the town is another attraction.

The town itself boasts a pub, general store, a church and a cafe/gallery. There are tennis courts, a golf course and a cricket pitch, though they see sporadic use. Fuel is not available.

The two most popular events in the town are a Land Rover jamboree held over the Easter long weekend and Cook Out Back. Both events are held during the Australian winter because of the searing heat during summer.

Land Rover Jamboree

Cook out back
Cook Out Back 2004 (main street)

This event was a meeting place for Land Rover enthusiasts from around Australia organized by the Land Rover Register of South Australia, There are competitions, tag-a-long tours and parties. Competitions include non timed trial course and 'Best of Breed' car judging. In 2012 the event moved to Melrose South Australia.

Cook Out Back

Cook Out Back is a relaxed campfire cooking competition held over the October long weekend (Labour Day) in the town. One meal is a roast prepared using a camp oven on a bed of coals. This annual event attracts over 500 people to the town, who can be found camping throughout the area. It attracts many people from Adelaide, South Australia and is the biggest event on the town's calendar, bringing in much-needed tourist money to the area. Each team's cooking is usually judged by a group of local celebrities and there is $3,000 prize for the winning team. This event is run by the Blinman Hotel.

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