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Kingoonya
South Australia
Established 1928
Postcode(s) 5710
Location
LGA(s) unincorporated area
Region Far North
State electorate(s) Giles
Federal Division(s) Grey
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
27.6 °C
82 °F
12.1 °C
54 °F
172.4 mm
6.8 in
Localities around Kingoonya:
Wilgena Coober Pedy Roxby Downs
Kingoonya Woomera
Lake Harris Coondambo
Footnotes Climate
Adjoining localities

Kingoonya Township is a small almost totally abandoned farming settlement in the central outback of the Australian state of South Australia. It was established in the early 1900s as a railway support town for the 200 or so sheep farming families on the train-line extending west across the Nullarbor Plain to Western Australia. It played a significant role in the construction of the Trans-Australian Railway.

The Kingoonya Post Office first opened around 1884, closed in 1892, reopened in 1915 after the arrival of the railway and finally closed in 1982. When railway services were rationalised in the early 1990s, Kingoonya was almost abandoned. The few remaining houses in the township are only intermittently occupied by people involved in mining exploration and kangaroo shooting.

The Public House is still operating and offers limited accommodation and food. The township is also often used by off-roaders taking the permissible dirt tracks West towards Tarcoola or South past Lakes Everard and Gairdiner and the track to the Highway across the Nullarbor Plain. There are reputed to be small deposits of black opal in the area, following the 1968 discovery of a rare Black Rainbow Opal in a roadside pit off the main street by a six-year-old child. (Barnes Family). This example is now in the Smithsonian Institution.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the town had a viable population of 20 railroad workers' families and several sheep and cattle farming ventures in the surrounding plains. The town has succumbed to salt-water level damage and the former sweet-water springs that supplied the town and farms have long-since disappeared.

Native indigenous Australian occupation of the area was evident for all of its recorded history with the Taylor Family Clan prominent in the area throughout the 1940s to 1990s, when they were "relocated" to government-provided accommodation near Tarcoola and elsewhere. The tragic and enduring stories told by their Clan Elders tell of a time where they were literally treated as vermin and often shot on sight by local farmers and Kangaroo shooters alike before 1963. The fact of which still causes much animosity to the families of those involved. (Interview in 2009 with Elder 'Billy' Taylor).

Kingoonya was one of the towns that was, to some small extent, affected by the Australian Government's nuclear tests in the 1950s at Maralinga, when local indigenous people were forced off their traditional hunting lands. Some settled for a decade or so a few kilometres North of Kingoonya in a makeshift hut settlement, where they subsisted badly off the land and what little money they obtained from making and selling aboriginal artwork in the form of boomerangs, throwing spears, woomeras and throwing sticks to the locals once every two weeks when the Tea & Sugar Train pulled in to town.

For many years the township relied on the eponymous Tea & Sugar Train for the weekly provision of supplies. The Indian Pacific (running between Sydney and Perth) and Ghan (running between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin) trains still call at Kingoonya upon prior request, and to do the twice-weekly mail run; both trains service the town twice a week in each direction.

The township is reputed to have had the widest main street in Australia and cricket matches have been played on it. The town's hotel is still running. The town was featured on Australia Live, a four-hour broadcast on 1 January 1988 to celebrate Australia's bicentennial year.

Kingoonya is located within the federal Division of Grey, the state electoral district of Giles, the unincorporated area of South Australia and the state’s Far North region. In the absence of a local government authority, the community in Kingoonya receives municipal services from a state government agency, the Outback Communities Authority.

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