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By | September 14, 2018

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Tintinara sheep station. The original open hearth fire and stove area of the shearer’s quarters. The quarters were built in 1865.
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Image by denisbin
Tintinara.
This town and district got its name from the Boothby brother’s (one of them became a SA politician) large pastoral estate of 165 square miles which was taken out in the 1840s. Because of the dingoes, the dense Mallee and the poor soils they probably did little with the property as their base was further south at Naracoorte. The leasehold was sold to William Harding and George Bunn in 1865 and they are the ones who shortly after this date built the fine stone shearing shed and homestead. Both are classified and on heritage registers. The woolshed or shearing shed is a 16 stand shed with thick limestone walls and massive internal timbers. The property was on the gold escort route which was used for safe passage of gold finds from the Mt Alexander goldfields to the assay office in Adelaide in the early 1850s. William Harding died in 1874 and was buried on the property near the woolshed. In 1884 George Bunn died at Tintinara and a son inherited Tintinara station. By 1895 the main leasehold had been reduced in size and was owned by A Waterman. The district had changed once the intercolonial railway from Adelaide to Melbourne passed through the area in 1887. In that year the government searched for water which was found at 260 feet deep and it was first class quality. It was used for the railway engines going to Melbourne. Tintinara was then selected in 1890 as an area to trial plantations of pine trees by the Conservator of Forests in SA. As more and more wool and beef cattle graziers took up smaller properties the district population grew and a Post Office opened in 1899. The railway brought fettlers and railwaymen to the district and the need for a school began to emerge. Then 60,000 acres of land was surveyed in the area in 1900 for loser settlement and the Hundred of Coombe was declared in 1906. Lucerne was being grown by irrigation as early as 1905 at Tintinara and before the Hundred was declared the unemployed were sent by the government to work on clearing the Mallee to obtain timber for fuel for the steam trains. The government was also hoping that wheat could be grown on cleared land at Tintinara. 12,000 acres was cleared by the Triumph Plough Company so that they could be put farm blocks up for sale for grain farmers. A Waterman also sold off much of his Tintinara pastoral property for farming estates in 1906. Farmers on smaller properties moved into the district from this time but with little success as they faced rabbit plagues and poor soils. The first farmers on lands purchased from the Triumph Plough Company obtained wheat yields about nine bushels per acre which was satisfactory but not good. Properties needed to be larger than usual to make a good living from grain in the Tintinara district. After the discovery of missing trace elements in the soils in the late 1940s the Ninety Mile Desert at Tintinara was transformed and farmers grew lucerne, sowed improved pastures and took up more successful beef cattle and some sheep grazing.

The township of Tintinara was proclaimed on 8th September 1906 and the first land sales occurred several weeks later. More town lots were sold in 1907. The town had a government school by 1911 and the later brick structure which is still in use was erected in 1932 but not officially opened until 1934. The school eventually became an Area School. The Tintinara Institute opened in 1911 and was the social centre of the district for decades. It was replaced by a new hall in the 1958 which was opened by the Premier Sir Thomas Playford. The Congregational Church began meeting in the Tintinara hall in 1911 until a stone church was completed in 1913. It closed probably around the time the Uniting Church was formed in 1977 and it is now the Country Women’s’ Association club rooms. Work began on constructing a timber and iron Methodist Church in August 1913 with the opening in October. Decades later in 1966 it was replaced with a fine solid construction church which is now the current Uniting Church. The Anglicans purchased land for a church in 1912 and a timber framed Anglican building was erected soon after. It was replaced with a modern stone structure in 1959. Although many settlers were of German background the Lutheran Church was not built in Tintinara until 1975. It is still in operation. The town still has a shop/store, a hotel and few engineering businesses.

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