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6 April 2012 / leggypeggy

Iron Knob—my first new destination

Coming in to Iron Knob

We headed out of Adelaide* and drove north along Spencer Gulf.

There are no pics of this stretch. I took quite a few, but decided it was such a flat and featureless vista that I wouldn’t bore you with any.

As an aside, this should be called Spencer’s Gulf. Unfortunately, and quite a few years ago, Australia ditched the apostrophe and sometimes the accompanying ‘s’ in all its place names. I think this is a crime against grammar and, if I ever become the Wizard of Oz, I will undo this outrage! Rant over.

At the top/north end of Spencer Gulf, we reached Port Augusta and turned left into my new unknown territory. I flew to Perth (about 25 years ago), but have never driven west of Port Augusta. So from here on, all of this Canberra-to-Perth road trip is new to me.

On this ‘new’ stretch of road, our first major stop was at Iron Knob (still in South Australia and about four hours from Adelaide). Poor John saw it from a long way off, because he knew what to look for.

Iron ore was originally mined here for use as flux in the copper-smelting industry. The ore was of such high quality that it started an iron smelting industry as well. Not surprisingly, Iron Knob is considered the birthplace of Australia’s steel industry.

Quarrying for iron at the town ended in the mid-1990s. Even though the mine is closed, the town remains active.

We pulled off the main road for a quick visit. I was surprised to find that emus are a big threat here, with warning signs about every 50 metres and on both sides of the street.

I was also pleased to see that a kids’ camp has opened at Iron Knob. The camp includes a flying-fox run that was being used the day we were there. I think the run is overseen by the local police because all the adult organisers/participants were in uniform.

It was fun to see the cop at the bottom of the run in action. He had to make sure the flying-foxer was ‘stopped’ before they shot off the end of the run. I bet he needed a few beers and a long nap at the end of his day.

Was also amused that the toilets are provided for ‘Knobbettes’ and ‘Knobbies’. Kitsch at its best.

Stopping the 'flying fox'

* P.S. Colour me red. We stayed in Adelaide for three days, but I took very few pics, aside from the ones of our walk in the hills. Adelaide is Poor John’s hometown and we go there often enough that I forgot to record it as a tourist destination. I promise to do so the next time.


Leave a Comment
  1. Sy S. / Apr 7 2012 12:47 pm


    I was not sure about the commentary…. so I Googled “Flying Fox” and learned it is a big bat found in Asia. Hummm?? Then I happened to click on the photo and it expanded to a larger size… then I realized what the “Flying Fox Run” as all around…. Must have been a lot of fun for the camp kids.

    Sy S.


    • leggypeggy / Apr 7 2012 7:03 pm

      Hi Sy, I’m glad you found the right reference to a flying fox. I forget which terms are Aussie and which are American. The kids were having a great time.


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