Coward Springs - A true oasis in the desert.

Sunday, Dec 06, 2020 at 08:05

Stephen L (Clare) SA

Coward Springs

There were numerous early explorers around the Mound Springs area, but it was not until the 28th October 1858 that Coward Springs was finally discovered and named by Peter Egerton Warburton, who at the time was the Commissioner of Police here in South Australia and named the springs after Corporal Thomas Coward, who was a member of Warburton’s exploring expedition.

At the time shortly after the discovery, it was noted by another famous South Australian, George Woodroffe Goyder that the springs were yielding 22,000 lites of water a day. The mound springs in this area were then to become an important base for future explorers, including Ernest Giles.

With the discovery of these permanent water supplies there was a rush from pastoralists to take up land holdings around these springs, with one of the first into the area John Warren who took up Anna Creek Station in 1862.

Further developments of the Overland Telegraph Line and the Transcontinental Railway saw an increase of miners and drovers into the area and to increase the volume of water needed for the increased number and people, stock and trains to the area, a bore was sank at Coward Springs on the 16th July 1886 to a shallow depth of only 100 metres that yielded 4,500,000 litres per day, and was capped in 1889. Over the following years, a real small community developed to cater for the expanding traffic of the Transcontinental Railway and included a hotel and a hospital that was housed in a tent.

The ruins there today are the remnants of the former railway days and well worth the time to explore. Both the Station Masters House and the Engine Drivers Cabin have been restored and the Engine Drivers Cabin is now the museum and well worth a look. Also of importance here is the large wetlands which is part of the region's cultural heritage and attracts bird watches from all round Australia, with over 180 species of birds having been recorded in the area.

To utilise the permeant water supply, a natural spa was built and its 29° degree water make it a perfect spa to enjoy wile visiting the place. Those that want to fully appreciate the area, there is a small campground, and great donkey hot water showers.

Its is a very special place to visit and if anyone is ever passing by while travelling the famous Oodnadatta Track, make sure you do not overlook the great Coward Springs.

Roxby Downs Special
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