Monday, May 9, 2016

The ghost town of Farina in South Australia

The town of Farina was settled in 1878, 650 kilometres (400 miles) to the north of Adelaide  on the edge of the desert and along the old route of the Ghan railway. Originally called The Gums or Government Gums, its first settlers were farmers who believed in the theory of rain follows the plow, meaning that human habitation and agriculture through homesteading could permanently change the climate, thus making an inhospitable environment livable. 

The 1880's brought some wet weather for Farina and the settlers planned  to grow wheat and barley and expand the town to 432 ¼-acre blocks. By the end of the century, Farina reached a peak population of approximately 600. Then, the town had two hotels (the Transcontinental and the Exchange), an underground bakery, a bank, two breweries, a general store, an Anglican church, five blacksmiths, a school and a brothel. 

Despite the optimistic hopes of Farina's settlers the town's climate didn't change dramatically and the 20th century brought a decline in population. The post office closed in the 1960's and the railway line closed in the 1980's. Today Farina has been turned into a ghost town, with only a few dozen residents living in a small settlement west of the town. 

During the last years there have been volunteer efforts to restore the town, including the repair of the bakery and the addition of informational signs.

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