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.

South Australia
Coordinates30°55′01″S 135°18′53″E[1]
Population13 (2016 census)[2]
Established7 June 1928 (town)
23 October 2003 (locality)[3][4]
LGA(s)Pastoral Unincorporated Area[1]
RegionFar North[5]
State electorate(s)Giles[6]
Federal Division(s)Grey[7]
Mean max temp[8] Mean min temp[8] Annual rainfall[8]
27.7 °C
82 °F
12.1 °C
54 °F
185.2 mm
7.3 in
Localities around Kingoonya:
Wilgena Wilgena Wilgena
Wilgena Kingoonya Coondambo
Wilgena Wilgena Coondambo
FootnotesAdjoining localities[1]


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.[9] 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.

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 Tea and Sugar train for the weekly provision of supplies. The Indian Pacific (running between Sydney and Perth) and The Ghan (running between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin) trains still pass Kingoonya but do not stop, and to do the twice-weekly mail run; both trains pass 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. As of 2007, the town's hotel is still running.[10] 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 Pastoral Unincorporated Area of South Australia and the state’s Far North region.[1][5][6][7] In the absence of a local government authority, the community in Kingoonya receives municipal services from a state government agency, the Outback Communities Authority.[11]


  1. "Search results for 'Kingoonya, LOCB' with the following datasets being selected - 'Suburbs and Localities', 'Government Towns', 'Local Government Areas', 'SA Government Regions', 'Railways' and 'Gazetteer'". Location SA Map Viewer. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Kingoonya (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats.
  3. Tassie, H. (7 June 1928). "TOWN OF KINGOONYA" (PDF). The South Australian Government Gazette. Government of South Australia. pp. 1209–1210. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  4. Weatherill, Jay (23 October 2003). "GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES ACT 1991 Notice to Assign Names and Boundaries to Places" (PDF). The South Australian Government Gazette. Government of South AustralIA. p. 3859. Retrieved 7 January 2019. Assign the names YUNTA, BLINMAN, BOOKABIE, GLENDAMBO, YALATA, KINGOONYA, OLARY, INNAMINCKA, and MANNA HILL, to those areas Out of Councils and shown numbered 1 to 9 on Rack Plan 857 (Sheet 3)
  5. "Far North SA government region" (PDF). The Government of South Australia. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  6. "District of Giles Background Profile". ELECTORAL COMMISSION SA. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  7. "Federal electoral division of Grey, boundary gazetted 16 December 2011" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  8. "Monthly climate statistics: Summary statistics Tarcoola Aero (nearest weather station)". Commonwealth of Australia , Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  9. Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  10. "Communities - Kingoonya". Outback Areas Community Development Trust. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  11. "Communities (serviced by the Outback Communities Authority)". Outback Communities Authority. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
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