Located on the Oodnadatta Track is Curdimurka, another
abandoned railway siding of the old Ghan Railway Line. Having fallen into
disrepair long before the closure of the line in 1980, the site has been brought
back from obscurity by members of the Ghan Railway Preservation Society.
To raise the finance for the restoration, a ball was organised every two years.
The first ball in 1986 was attended by just a hundred people. Ten years later
the ball attracted several thousand men and women from all over Australia and
even some from overseas.1
There is a plaque at the
Curdimurka commemorating John McDouall Stuart...
John McDouall Stuart
Surveyor - Explorer 1815-1866
John McDouall Stuart passed through this region on his first
expedition, and on Saturday 26th June 1858 found permanent waters in a creek,
approximately 40 kilometres south-west of Curdimurka. He named the site Chambers
Creek, later changed to Stuart Creek.
A waterhole served as the 'staging' camp for Stuart's five subsequent
expeditions. This important discovery opened a route to the ?Centre and for the
south to north crossing of Australia.
On his fourth expedition, Stuart, William Darton Kekwick and Benjamin Head
departed Stuart Creek on 2nd March 1860 and were the first known Europeans to
reach the Centre of Australia - 21st April 1860.
His last expedition, The South Australian Great Northern Exploring Expedition,
completed the first European crossing of the Continent from Adelaide to the
Indian Ocean, passing through the Centre and returning along the same route with
no loss of life.
The part of 10 men and 72 horses departed Stuart Creek on 8th January 1862.
Stuart's Companions 1861-62
The Overland Telegraph Line linking Adelaide to Europe via
Darwin (1870-72) was constructed along this route. Subsequently the original
Central Australia Railway (The Ghan) which reaches Alice Springs in 1929
followed a similar route.
This plaque was placed by the John McDouall Stuart Society Inc.,
The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc.,
The Ghan Railway Preservation Society (S.A.) Inc.
Unveiled on 26th June 1998, 140 Years after Stuart's Discovery.
More information about
the Oodnadatta Track,
and the many locations along the route.