Orroroo is located approximately 3.5 hours’ drive north of Adelaide and is one-hour east of the regional centre of Port Augusta. The District covers an area of 3,300 square kms with a population of around 860 people (600 in the township of Orroroo), Carrieton is a smaller township (approx.100 people) and there are smaller historical locations of Pekina, Eurelia, Black Rock, Yatina, Morchard, Johnburgh and Belton within the district.
Before European settlement the area was the traditional home of the Adnyamathanha, Ngadjuri, and Nukunu people. The Ngadjuri’s thousand-year-old rock carvings remain along our local Pekina Creek walking trail today and all three groups maintain close ties to their traditional lands.
The District Council of Orroroo and the associated Progress Associations are to be commended for the leadership shown throughout the one hundred and forty-four years of settlement. Orroroo and district owes much of its prosperity to wheat and wool. Even though a large part of the district is outside of Goyder’s line (the infamous line of demarcation of arable and marginal country).
It was soon after the explorers (1875) that pastoralists flocked to the district with cattle and sheep. The history over the years is of varied successes and failure in pastoralism, farming, rainfall, irrigation schemes, railway, business and settlement. The district also spawned its own irrigation scheme, dairy industry and butter factory. Only the resilient opened-up the country and settled the district, they did it tough with agriculture at their core.
Flash forward to the present day, and we enjoy the efforts of the early pioneers, businessmen and leadership in the establishment of historic buildings, businesses, school, hospital, aged care and continued efforts are pursued toward organisations such as sport, swimming pool and the evolving tourism. The community is proud of an extensive historic collection accommodated in a former masonic hall, varied clubs and events that rally together for recreation, health, fundraising and lifting the morale of the community.
The community boasts the pride of a locally rejuvenated Memorial Town Hall and well-structured town centre. Our town football club, the Orroroo Roo’s, is fiercely competitive and has continued without the necessity to merge with another due to the community involvement and leadership. The initiation and ongoing success of a farming group (Upper North Farming Group) has been connecting and supporting growers in this district for over thirty years. These are examples that illustrate the qualities of ongoing leadership, strength and resilience.
Sadly, the community is also very familiar with tough times, in particular the hardship that comes along with drought. The local council has a motto of “Strength from Resilience” due to the traits of passion, determination and community spirit displayed by the early pioneers, current residents and present-day community. It couldn’t be more fitting. Their resilient roots run deep and are often all that keeps them hanging-on for yet another season.
Credible characteristics are abundant and complement our harsh yet beautiful plains along the base of the Flinders Ranges. Orroroo may be isolated, and it may be small on the surface, but once you discover the fabric of the people, the characters and the many layers of history in the community you realise just how deep this place is. There is a lot to love here.