Small Townships around Burra

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From the Original Watercolour by S.T.Gill
on display at the Burra Regional Art Gallery
A Panorama of the Township of Kooringa
April, 1847

The following towns and subdivisions were all established to cater for the population that came to the Hundred of Kooringa to work at the Burra Burra Mine or to service that community. Many of them failed to grow and some failed even to get a start.

The town of Kooringa was entirely located on the mine lease and this led to a gap between it and other communities. One of the consequences of this arrangement was the confusing situation that until 1940 there was officially no town of Burra. The individual parts of the town continued to be known by their own names.

Despite this there was a Burra Railway Station, a Burra Court, a Burra School, and a Burra Hospital: the first located in New Aberdeen, the second in Redruth and the others in Kooringa. Unofficially the whole lot were often called Burra [or often The Burra], but there was considerable confusion.

There was no local government till the establishment of the District Council in 1872 and so information on the success or otherwise of the various places is rather limited. I have included in the following notes an estimate of the number of houses etc. that existed when the council assessment for 1873 was done.

Since this is more than ten years after the town’s peak population it does not mean that more houses were not present earlier, but it is probably a fairly good indication of where most housing was located at the peak time and it is unlikely that places entirely deserted in 1873 had much, if any, population earlier.

The one exception to this is Prince’s or Princess Town which certainly seems on the basis of indirect evidence to have had a population, but has so disappeared that even its location is uncertain. Numbers must be approximate because it is not always possible to distinguish between shops and shops with attached residences.

After 1940 the whole of the remaining inhabited area was known as Burra, though the northern part retained a separate post office called Burra North.

Note that most of the information in the notes comes from Geoffrey H. Manning, Manning’s Place Names of South Australia, 1990, published by the author and from subdivision plans from the SA Lands Titles Office.]

Kooringa 1872