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Whyalla, South Australia

Whyalla has long been part of Australia’s mining folklore: It’s a steel town, through and through. It was founded in 1901, the year of Australia’s federation, when it was called Hummock’s Hill. Basically the town was the end of the line for the trains bringing iron ore from mines in the Middleback Ranges to the smelters at Port Pirie.

Over the years Whyalla has been more than just a mining town and a smelter, it has been a centre for ship building and home to a major steelworks.

Located 350km north-northwest from Adelaide, on the far, western, side of the Spencer Gulf, Whyalla is home to 21,000 people. It has a dozen or so primary schools, four high schools, a technical college and a campus of the University of South Australia. It has an 80-bed hospital, cinemas, regional SA’s largest shopping centre, a vibrant arts community and good sporting facilities. For more about what is availablecheck out the Whyalla council’s website.

Being a coastal community, there are plenty of marine-based recreation opportunities. Diving, in particular, is popular. That’s because of the mass migration of giant Australian cuttlefish to the area between May and August. It is one of ocean’s most spectacular scenes as millions of cuttlefish up to 60cm long move through the water together.

But while tourism is still taking-off as a local industry, steel is still at the core of the town’s activities. These days OneSteel, a spin-off of BHP Billiton, is a major employer.
It mines iron ore from the Middleback Ranges, two shifts a day, seven days a week.

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