A service centre for the local pastoral industry and stopping place for travellers on the Barrier Highway.
Where is it?: 200km north of Adelaide; 33 km north of Burra; 55 km south of Peterborough on the Barrier Highway.
Natural features: Ulooloo Hill; Mt. Bryan; Mt. scrub; Peppermint Gully; Dare's Hill; Waupunyah Plain.
Built features: Mallett Reservoir; surveyed township of Franklyn; town of Terowie (a former railway town which marked the northern region's change of railway gauge); AGL Wind Farm, Brown Hill Range; Pilimitiappa Homestead ruins.
There is an interesting and informative sheet titled the Dare's Hill Circuit Tour which takes visitors from to Terowie from Hallett via Dare's Hill. It is 91.5 km long and passes Waupunyah Plain, Franklyn Homestead, Pandappa Homestead, Ketchowla Homestead, the Piltimitiappa Ruins, Goyders Line (that famous limit of agriculture) is crossed twice and then there is Hallett and Whyte-Yarcowie. There's no petrol on the route and it is entirely on dirt roads. A true, edge of the desert, experience. The brochure tells you everything you could ever want to know about the area.
Ketchowla Station is a pastoral lease operating as a sheep station situated approximately 32 kilometres south east of Terowie and 92 kilometres north west of Morgan. The property is composed of open plains and salt bush country and is watered by a surface spring in the Ketchowla range and by several bores. Ketchowla was established in 1852 when Christopher Giles, had only arrived in the colony in 1849, took up the lease. Huge dust storms, described as the worst in 50 years, swept the area in 1929. A truck with the brakes on was blown 183 metres into a tree from the force of the winds.
Ketchowla Historic Reserve is home to some of the world's oldest rock art dated at being approximately 44,000 years old. It is located in a number of dry channels; there are a number of examples of red ochre animal tracks as well as geometric engravings.
A tiny settlement, once much larger than it is today, Whyte Yarcowie served the local farming community, made up predominantly of sheep stations. The township came into being to cater for the local farming community, railwaymen and travellers on a stock route north which passes through the area. Sheoak Hills homestead was the centre of a soldier settlement scheme in the 1920s. The boost to the local population by the scheme was short-lived, as the blocks were too small to support intense farming.
Originally called Yarcowie after Yarcowie Pastoral Station, the name 'Whyte', being that of the Hundred in which it is situated, was added in 1929 to avoid confusion with similar sounding names across Australia. The prefix 'Whyte' alludes to John Whyte (c.1825-1902), pastoralist and a member of the grocery firm, Whyte, Counsell & Co., while yarcowie is Aboriginal for 'flood' or 'great waters'.
Whyte Yarcowie is 13 km north of Hallett; 32 km south of Peterborough; 8 km south of Terowie; 56 km north of Burra on the Barrier Highway. Places of Interest in the area include the village of Mt Bryan; Sheoak Hills homestead; Bird's Yarcowie Hotel; ruins and abandoned buildings of the villages of Canowie Belt, Belalie North and Yongala.
The first European to see the Terowie-Hallett area was probably the explorer Edward John Eyre who passed through the district in July 1839. By 1842 John and Alfred Hallett, early pastoralists, had settled in the area and the following year more land was taken up in the area by John Chewings, William Dare, George Hiles, Dr William James and Dr John Harris Browne. The town was created in 1869 adjacent to a hotel built to serve travellers on the north-south stock route. Alfred Williams, formerly of Burra, pioneered the town and built its first store. Like many other towns in the region, its importance was eroded when improved road transportation reduced the need for so many towns in close proximity.
Origin of name: recalls pastoralist brothers John and Alfred Hallett who ran Willogoleche Station in the area. Though decimated by a drought in the 1860s, the brothers clawed back from the brink of ruin to rebuilt their pastoral empire.