The Peake Repeater Station and Mining ruins.

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2020 at 15:15

Stephen L (Clare) SA

For anyone that loves old ruins, mining history, old cemeteries and scenery, a drive east of the Oodnadatta Track is well worth the detour to visit the Peake Repeater Station and mining ruins.

For thousands of years, this area had been home to the local Arabana Aboriginal people, but it was not until 1859 that the first European Explorer, John McDouall Stuart passed through this area in his quest the reach the Northern Shores of the Australian Continent and named a nearby creek The Peake after Parliamentarian EJ Peake. This name was later applied to the station and the telegraph settlement.

The success of his travels showed that there were a permanent string of Mound Springs and this was the route that the Overland Telegraph Line would eventually follow, which eventually opened up communications between Australia and the outside world. The success of the Overland Telegraph Line required regular repeater stations which became their own mini communities.

The reports of permeant water saw Philip Levi take up The Peake area as Mount Margaret Run in 1859 and at the time was the northern most European settlement in South Australia. Severe drought in the 1860’s saw the area abandoned but in 1870 the site was chosen for the repeater station on the Overland Telegraph Line.

The Peake Repeater complex was an important centre on the road north until the telegraph line was re-routed along the new railway line in 1891. With the new railway line saw an increase of travellers heading north and the repeater station closed and was moved to the booming town of Oodnadatta.

The closure of the repeater station saw the complex revert back to the Homestead of The Peake cattle and horse station and was later incorporated into the famous Sir Sidney Kidman’s empire in 1908.

In 1888 Copper was discovered and by 1889 the Copper Top Proprietary Mining Company was established and had established a smelters on the site. Like a number of remote mining ventures, the site closed in 1904 because of the poor quality and quantity of the ore being mined and it could not sustain the elaborate and expensive smelting works.

Today there are a number of informative walks there and it is well worth the time to explore the area and think back to its former glory days.
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