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Ooldea, South Australia facts for kids

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South Australia
G22 + goods train, Ooldea, 1919.jpg
A wood and water train in Ooldea, 1919.
  • 863 km (536 mi) from Port Augusta
  • 143 km (89 mi) from Eyre Highway
LGA(s) unincorporated area
State electorate(s) Giles
Federal Division(s) Grey

Ooldea is a tiny settlement in South Australia. It is on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain, 863 km (536 mi) west of Port Augusta on the Trans-Australian Railway. Ooldea is 143 km (89 mi) from the bitumen Eyre Highway.

It was the site of a mission for Aboriginal children which was visited twice by Norman Tindale and was home for many years to Daisy Bates, both concerned with understanding and protecting Aboriginal culture. A cairn commemorating Daisy Bates was designed by F. Millward Grey and erected in 1953.

Ooldea was an important camp during construction of the railway, as it is near a permanent waterhole, first discovered by Europeans when Ernest Giles used it in 1875.

The town was dependent on the Tea and Sugar Train for the delivery of supplies until 1996 when the train was withdrawn. The longest dead straight section of railway line in the world starts west of Ooldea before Watson at the 797 km post and continues to a point between Loongana and Nurina, a distance of 478 km (297 mi).

The historic Ooldea Soak and Former United Aborigines Mission Site and Daisy Bates' Campsite are both listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

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