When you travel outback Australia there are so many fantastic places that you encounter that it is very hard to pick a favourite. There are a couple of locations that stand out in the memory long after the trip is over. These spots are truly special. One of these locations that sticks with you is Farina.
Farina is just north of Lyndhurst in outback South Australia and tells the story of early settlement in the area. First settled in 1878 by optimistic European settlers hoping to grow wheat and barley however the local rainfall did not support this dream. Within a couple of years Farina became the Railhead and as such thrived as a regional trade centre and a hub for Cameleers who would transport good ups the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks.
We first visited Farina in August 2015 and were taken instantly by the history of the settlement. For a settlement that has not been occupied since the late 60’s its is remarkable how much of the town is still remaining. While officially referred to as “Ruins” it is still clearly visible the outline of the township and what many of the buildings were used for. It is a surreal experience to wander through this town and find old bottles, tools and implements as they were lefts years before. While it is tempting to take these as souvenirs it is important to take only photos and leave them for others to enjoy and as a memory of what was. We spent the entire afternoon exploring the ruins – just walking the streets, exploring the buildings and the remains of the Ghan Railway.
There is a campground just to the north of the Ruins that is maintained by Farina Station. It is a picturesque spot with plenty of shady, grassy spots under gums. There is an abundance of wildlife with emu’s and kangaroo’s regularly crossing your path. There are toilets and showers in the grounds also. This made for a comfortable overnight stay.
We fitted the TJM Canopy to the Colorado to offer protection to the gear in the tray and to allow us to fit a roof rack to the back half of the vehicle.
The canopy stood up to the rigours of outback travel with no dramas. We travelled over 7,000km’s on outback roads, across corrugations and with a full load on the roof without a single issue. The inbuilt reinforcing meant we had no additional internal structure taking up valuable space – space that we needed every bit of on a trip like this.
The Colorado was fitted with a tailgate seal kit – this combined with leaving the front window of the canopy slightly open meant we got no dust inside at all.
On a ridge above the campgrounds is a war memorial paying tribute to the Farina locals who served in both WWI and WWII. For a community of its size they made a significant contribution to the war efforts. It was a humbling experience to sit up there and admire the sunrise and think about the sacrifice that many made from this community.
Before continuing on our travels we took the short drive to the west to walk through the Farina Cemetery. It is set on the crest of a hill with very little vegetation in any direction making it feel somewhat of a moonscape – certainly not a spot I would pick for my last resting spot, however is probably indicative the way lives were lived out here. There is a large population of early Afghan settlers along with early European settlers buried here showing the diversity of culture in early Australia. The Afghan Cameleers were a critical lifeline to the farmers and families of the area.
Our overnight stop was nowhere near long enough to fully appreciate Farina but it was enough to make us want to come back and spend more time.