5421 Terowie

Driving the Barrier Hwy mid-north South Australia on the way to elsewhere one passes small settlements built when the state was in its infancy. Life here can be difficult, dependant on rainfall which never seems to fall when or where it is needed. Terowie sits above what is known as the Goyder Line, a rainfall boundary declared in the 1870s, north of which is said to be unsustainable for agriculture. Despite its location wheat farmers moved to the area. For a time the town prospered with many substantial stone buildings being built. The extension of the broader gauge rail line from Adelaide to Terowie in 1880 meant all passengers and freight heading north changed trains here. It was bustling.

Today the Highway bypasses the once vibrant Main Street. A seemingly soulless servo and motel are what most travellers glimpse of Terowie if they don’t venture off the Highway. Be adventurous, take the time for a detour and you will be rewarded with what looks like a movie set. The buildings are crumbling, the only shop may or may not be open and the chances of seeing another person are slim but the photographic opportunities are startling.

The commercial area may have decayed beyond salvation but Terowie is a town still loved. A few freshly painted planter boxes decorate the street. Some of the older homes are beautifully restored. A new note in the store window asks for a rental property in the town and the public toilets are among the cleanest and nicest smelling in the Australia!

Peer through the shop windows. Walk. Remember. Wonder. 5421.

Pictures & words by Merlyn Cantwell. Her pictures can be found on Instagram here @jamcan2015