Coonalpyn

A small inland service town, where wheat, barley, canola, beans and peas are the main crops grown in the area, and also sheep and cattle.

Where is it?: South east. 163 km southeast of Adelaide on the Dukes Highway




Points of interest: Gold Escort Route Markers; Kangaroo Flat Rocks; Tauragat Hill lookout.

Origin of name: of Aboriginal origin. It was originally known as part of the Ninety Mile Desert, until 1949 when the land was developed by the AMP Society and the town re-named.

1850s Gold Escort

Brief history: the town began as a staging post along the Tolmer Gold Escort Scheme of the 1850s. It was intended to reverse the currency drain from South Australia during the Victorian goldrushes by bringing some of the gold back to Adelaide, a town which had been virtually deserted by hopeful prospectors. Its name recalls SA Police Commisioner Commissioner Alexander Tolmer who established a gold escort service to safely bring gold to South Australia that miners were winning from the ground in Victoria, so that instead of it going into the banks of Victoria, it would revitalise the South Australian economy.

On their first trip, Tolmer and his party accepted gold from a near-300 South Australian miners, and when after several more days they felt their spring-cart could carry no more, they departed for Adelaide with 5,200 ounces of gold worth an estimated 18,356 pounds ($36,712,) a then-precious fortune. Over the next two years a total of eighteen gold escorts brought an amazing 28,502 ounces, or almost ten tons, of gold from Bendigo back to Adelaide. It was valued at the time at 1,182,000 pounds ($2,364,000) and was enough to avert both the threat of Adelaides bankruptcy and the abandonment of the Colony of South Australia prospects already in consideration in the highest quarters.

In 1887 the Adelaide-Melbourne rail ink passed through and helped open up the area. During the early 1950's, superphosphates and trace elements were introduced into the soil, creating the ability to use the land for cropping to its full potential.



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