Waukaringa Ruins

Waukaringa Ruins are the remains of the old hotel. These ruins are located in the middle of the South Austrlian desert, 34 kilometers from the nearest town – Yunta. To get there from Yunta, follow the unsealed road to Arkaroola.

Waukaringa Ruins

The settlement was founded in 1890’s, when gold was discovered in the region. There were about 600 people living here, and it is hard to beleive, but the hotel was operating until 1970’s.

Waukaringa Ruins

– images on flickr


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  • Glen

    I read in an old book called ‘Ghost towns of Australia’ (Farwell 1965) which has a chapter on Waukaringa. The book claims that the town had no population when they visited 1964. However, they bumped into a strange old drover who lived at Koonamore station and was camping in the ruins. The man claimed that the town was completey abandoned. There is a photo of the Waukaringa Hotel in the book and it appears to be intact when the photo was taken. “All that remains is a single lock-up standing like some forgotten threat directly accross the road from the padlocked doors of the Waukaringa Hotel. There is no lock now on it’s heavy door, which the last curious visitor in town left ajar…The big yard of the hotel seems to be awaiting the next delivery of beer. But no one comes out of the door” (Farwell 1965:25,27).

    • http://yk.mynetscene.com Yegor Korzh

      Thank you! I’m glad to see that this place has not been completely forgotten.

      • Ray Hicks

        Back in the 70's a whole group of us with small children used to camp at Waukaringa having heard about it from a workmate of mine. We all lived at Happy Valley in the Southern Vales district of Adelaide back then and we all spent alot of time there when we were younger. We got to know the local copper from Yunta. We used to take caravans there on the odd occasion and the kids really had a ball, so did the adults. The old pub, judging from those photos, looked pretty much the same back then. Its hard to believe but back in its gold heyday there were something like 3500 diggers tents pitched over that flat plain area directly behind the pub. We will never forget Waukaringa, our kids who are now all grown up and in to their thirties enjoyed a great deal of their time as toddlers in the old place, a fascinating slice of SA history. We stopped going there when Western Mining became active in the area and fenced off the old mine shaft out from the town. These days we live in Queensland, but have never forgotten Waukaringa. Ray Hicks

        • http://www.yktravelphoto.com Yegor Korzh

          Ray, I agree – it is a fascinating place … and not just by its history. It is amazing how these abandoned, almost forgotten ruins keep attracting people, generation after generation leaving marks in their memories. Thanks for your story!

    • http://twitter.com/corr64 Dan

      I have the same book. He also describes the waukaringa hall still being intact with posters & streamers still inside! this was about 1965 I think, he mentions a 1961 calender in the hall.

  • Ian Smith

    I must compliment you on your photography. Just doing some research on old ruins in S.A. and stumbled on your effort. Well done.

    • http://www.yktravelphoto.com yktravelphoto.com

      Ian, Thank you very much! I do appreciate your feedback!

  • Margaret Silva

    Ian, My interest in Waukaringa, is that back in December of 1873 my Great Great Grandfather Walter Davis, a Shepherd, from O’Halloran’s Hill, was found dead under a tree,at Waukaringa Run, and left a blind wife and three young children, he was buried at Waukaringa on 13 December 1873. He was heading for a place known as the Well, where he was going to stay and work.

    I am trying to piece together, everything I can on his death and the place it happened, as his death was not reported and there is no death certificate for him. I only found out about his death, through Trove Newspapers online, which carried reports of his death in the South Australian Register of 3rd January 1874 Page 5 Under Death in the Bush, and 31 January 1874 Page 7s under Miscellaneous – Death in the Bush. 

     I live in Melton South, Victoria. My Great Great Grandfather Walter John Davis, came to South Australia onboard the Omega, arriving at Port Adelaide on 24 August 1852, from a place called Dawlish in Devon England. He was Born in Exmouth, Devon, England in 1829.

    Ian, If you can help in anyway with knowledge of the area, or anything at all, I would be most greatful to you.
    Thank You
    Margaret Silva

    • Brian

      My grandfather also lived in Waukaringa, arriving approx 1900.

      Any other history?

      Contact hollidayhub@gmail.com

      • Malcolm

        Hi. Go to a face book page called “Yunta Mannahill Olary Cockburn” You may find it interesting.

  • Fordebs

    We also used to camp in the hotel in the early 70’s and I was to young to remember much but my folks tell me there was still furniture etc in there, we used to drive up in a valliant station wagon and camp in other ruins in the Flinders as well that were still very much in tact then, things have changed since then including people needing to drive big 4×4’s to get there lol. Does anyone know of a small outcrop of talc where there was a substantial shelter carved with a door and windows, I seem to recall it being called King’s something but I can’t find anything about it we used to camp in there too, it was still there in the early 80’s.