Farina ….. An abandoned town in the outback

Who has visited Farina in South Australia?

As you drive along the dirt roads of outback South Australia, you see many ruins along the roadside and scattered throughout properties, some in remarkable condition and some basically a pile of rubble. But one of the most complete is when you visit the town of Farina.

This was our second visit to this amazing place which, in the 1890s, had about 600 people living there, but now it’s nothing like it would have been back then. Although it is slowly being transformed by an amazing group of volunteers, from ruins to a town that once was.

Back in the day Farina was home to two hotels, a school, post office, a railway line .. but over the years people started to move away and by 1957 the school was closed and apparently the final permanent residents left in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

This is one place you should visit. Do yourself a favour and head out and take a walk around the town, read the signage and try to imagine what life would have been like there back in the day.

Farina is also home to the most remote underground bakery in Australia. There is no guessing where to go, the smell as you walk from the car directs you exactly where you need to be! This fully functioning underground bakery was the only mainly intact building on the site and volunteers were able to get this bakery back up and running, a feat in itself, considering it had laid unused for 80 years or so.

The bakery itself only opens for about 8 weeks each year around May-July. This is all run by volunteers and the new ‘cafe’ building, next to the bakery, provides a huge range of breads and sweets, coffee, souvenirs and a seating area. Yes, we did sample quite a few of the goods on offer!

There is a great camping ground to stay as well, just behind the town. We drove through on our way to the cemetery (as you do!) and it looked like a great campground, plenty of room, shady sites, toilets and fire pits. We will definitely spend a night there next time we are over that way.

The cemetery also reflects the town’s diversity. There is a well marked Afghan section in one corner. Chinese, Aboriginal and Hindu burials are also recorded here.

Several hundred people are recorded as being buried in the cemetery, however most graves are unmarked.

We must end by congratulating the volunteers on the truly amazing job they are doing in preserving Farina and bringing it back to life. It’s important that these places are here for future generations to see and learn about. The interpretive signs along the way reveal much of the town’s past, and every volunteer we met was so happy and proud to tell us about the town and the work that is going on. Whilst you can visit Farina at any time of year, it’s great to be able to visit whilst the volunteers are there and have a chat with them to learn a little more … and of course to visit the bakery!

Tell us what you think!