Small rural service town known as the Heart of the Parks
Tintinara is a small rural service centre located at the heart of a rich sheep, beef and cropping area. Located between the Ngarat National Park, an area of mallee and desert, the town is surrounded by harsh and unforgiving land which, for many years, was known as the '90 Mile Desert'. It wasn't until the arrival of the 'scrub rippers' (which ripped the mallee out and ploughed the soil at the same time) and the judicious use of trace elements missing from the soil that the land became productive. Today there is a pleasant walking trail around the edge of the town and the Tintinara homestead is an interesting reminder of life in the area in the 1860s.
Tintinara is located 188 km south-east of Adelaide on the Dukes Highway via Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend. It is 18 metres above sea level.^ TOP
Origin of Name
No one is sure exactly what the town's name means. Some sources claim it was named after an Aboriginal worker named Tin Tin who was employed on Tintinara Station. In The Register in 1919 there was an explanation: "We had a smart young blackfellow in our employ, with a name that sounded like Tin Tin. We liked the sound of it, and when choosing a name for the [pastoral] station, we put 'ara' at the end of it, and made Tintinara of it. Tin Tin was of the Coorong tribe, and in his white moleskin trousers, blue shirt and cabbage-tree hat, was worth looking at." Others argue that "tin-tin-yara" was an Aboriginal term for the constellation known as Orion's Belt. This explanation, which was suggested as early as 1841, argued that tintinyara meant "a group of youths who hunt kangaroos and emus on the great celestial plain".^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Tintinara Homestead and Post Office
The homestead was built in 1865 and shortly afterwards it became the Post Office. For a number of years it became the stopping point for the Tolmer gold escort which brought gold from the Victorian fields to Adelaide. The building's walls were once papered with old copies of the Adelaide Chronicle which are still visible. It is located on Homestead Road 8 km outside Tintinara and clearly signposted. For more information check out https://tintinara.com.au/visit/tintinara-homestead.
Tintinara Woolshed and Outbuildings
The Woolshed and outbuildings are only a few hundred metres from the Tintinara Homestead. They were built in 1865. The woolshed is now a solitary building standing in a paddock although it is worth noting that the limestone walls are 80 cm thick and the roof timbers, some of which are 11 metres long, were carted here from Kingston South East. It is recognised as an fine example of a farm building from the time.
Tintinara RSL Memorial Walking Trail
There are a number of access points (the southern parking bay on Dukes Highway and Filmer Street) to this circular walking trail which is known for its impressive displays of wildflowers and 25 species of orchids including the endangered metallic sun orchid. The walk is flat and pleasant
Other Attractions in the Area
Mt Boothby Conservation Park
Located 28 km west of Tintinara and accessible only by 4WD, Mount Boothby Conservation Park is 4045 ha of flat mallee and heathland with small outcrops of pink gum and granite outcrops. One of the granite outcrops is Mount Boothby which is 129 metres high. The vegetation consists of dwarf oaks, tea trees, yaccas and desert banksia and in spring there are wild orchids including the rare metallic sun orchid. The park is home to echidnas, western grey kangaroos, emus and mallee fowl. For an excellent description check out https://vk5pas.org/2015/01/17/mount-boothby-conservation-park.
Ngarkat Conservation Park
Located 28 km east of Tintinara Ngarkat Conservation Park covers a total of 270,152 hectares. It is now a collection of parks which includes the original Ngarkat and adjoining parks of Mount Rescue, Mount Shaugh and Scorpion Springs.
This park features a mixture of vegetated remnant coastal sand dunes, mallee and heathlands. The park has a network of trails ranging from ten minute walks to five hour hikes. It is also home to an array of wildlife including echidnas, pygmy-possums, dunnarts, Western Grey kangaroos, lizards and more than 120 species of birds. One of the highlights is the view from Tyms Lookout which is a 2-3 hour hike. There is a 29 km Border Track which runs from north to south and, because of the high fire danger, is only open from 1 April to 31 October. Camping permits are available from the Tatiara District Council and various self-registration points around the Park. Please check with the Tatiara District Council on 08 8752 1044 for 4WD access and conditions. There is a useful National Parks website. Check out https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/ngarkat-conservation-park.
* Prior to European settlement the area was occupied by the Ngarranjeri people.
* The area was settled by Europeans in the 1840s when graziers moved into the district with flocks of sheep.
* The 'Tintinara' homestead, including the woolshed and outbuildings, dates from the late 1840s.
* In 1852 Police Inspector Tolmer created a track from the Mount Alexander goldfields in Victoria to Adelaide. One of the stopping points on the track was where the old Homestead now stands which was used as a watering spot.
* Tintinara Post Office was opened in the 1860s.
* In 1865 William Harding and George Burnn built a huge shearing shed.
* The railway reached the town in 1886.
* The Tintinara Tennis Club was established in 1919.^ TOP
Tintinara Heart of the Parks Visitor Centre, 22 Dukes Highway, tel: (08) 8757 2220. Open 10.00 am - 4.00 pm seven days a week.^ TOP