Travelling Australia - Journal 2009
20 May 2009 - Kanyaka
On Wednesday we left the van at Port Augusta and drove to the ruins of Kanyaka Station about 20 km south of Hawker. Kanyaka Station was established around permanent water at Kanyaka waterhole (still full of water) in the nineteenth century and buildings had been erected from local stone in the 1850s. Stone is readily available at the site, mostly waiting to be picked up from the ground although some of the larger boulders used in walls probably had to be dug out of the ground. A complex homestead incorporating five bedrooms, dining room, parlour, kitchen, office and surgery is at the heart of the Station surrounded by outbuildings. A stone woolshed (shearing shed) with stands for 24 shearers using hand shears was built a couple of hundred metres away. A woolshed made of stone is unusual but the practice of building woolsheds from local material is widespread (at Lake Mungo there is a woolshed built of cypress pine which grew profusely at that site).

The buildings are along Kanyaka Creek which is dry for most of the year and marked by river red gums growing in river gravel. The land beside the creek is covered by bluebush.

Kanyaka Station was a thriving establishment in the early 1860s but severe drought reduced the number of sheep held. Then an ill-advised government decision to resume much of the station for wheat farming reduced Kanyaka to a size that was not economically sustainable and the property was abandoned in 1881. Over succeeding years the roofs were lost and some buildings have gone completely but the stone inner and outer walls of most of the larger buildings remain.

After spending some time at the waterhole and the homestead area we drove to Hawker for lunch. Then we returned to Port Augusta.
Kanyaka homestead Kanyaka Homestead.

Shearers quarters Shearers quarters near the shearing shed and a suitable distance from the homestead complex.