Today, Blinman is home to a handful of people, but in its heyday in the 1860s the town had a population of up to 2000, located in two settlements two kilometres apart.
It’s a town steeped in history in which it’s easy to lose track of time, a commodity they seem to have a lot of up that way – time for a talk, time for a beer, time for a walk down the short, dusty main street to be greeted invariably by a sleepy dog.
The town Heritage Walk covers the growth of the town from 1860-1940, pointing out the various buildings and when they were constructed: the hotel, general store, school, police station and cells, memorial hall, library, post office, butcher shop, hospital and cottages.
The mine site, the largest and longest operating in the Flinders Ranges, is well signposted and a key available from the general store opens a heavy steel gate to the Adit (Cornish for tunnel). The 65m-long horizontal shaft was driven into the side of the hill in 1899 to connect with the 27m level of the mine to remove ore from the upper lode, a method which eventually left the mine a honeycomb of stopes (cavities), in some places up to 60m high and 15m wide.
Blinman, 700km north of Adelaide, is an ideal base from which to explore the North Flinders Ranges. Within an hours’ drive is Brachina Gorge,a geological trail signposted along the 20km track through the gorge points out the various rock strata in the region, dating back more than 600 million years.
The Glass Gorge road, an alternative route to Parachilna Gorge and Parachilna, offers views of a stunning landscape, squeezed and folded by topographic uplift into a concertina of dramatic rocky mountain ridges which turn rich rusty red as the sun drops low on the horizon.
The spring emergence of sleepy and blue tongue lizards and bearded dragons along the roadsides were enough to capture the attention of the children, but the emu with half a dozen young chicks scratching away in the dirt at the side of the track soon topped that.
Western grey and red kangaroos lazily loped off into the scrub, wedge-tailed eagles cruised the thermals in the distance and feral goats scrambled along the rocky ridges, also the home of endangered yellow-footed rock wallabies.
Continued from Pioneer Country – Part 1: The North Flinders
Blinman – Wikimedia Public Domain
Flinders Ranges near Rawnsley’s Bluff – Wikipedia Creative Commons
Brachina Gorge – by dracophylla on Flickr – Some Rights Reserved
Sunset over the western plains from Parachilna Gorge -by Bookabee Tours Australia on Flickr – Some Rights Reserved
Bearded Dragon – Wikipedia Creative Commons
Kangaroos – Microsoft Office Clipart Collection