Tarcoola is a town in the Far North of South Australia 416 kilometres (258 mi) north-northwest of Port Augusta. At the 2006 census, Tarcoola had a population of 38.
Tarcoola is taken from a non-local aboriginal language from an area around Tarcoola Station in NSW; it means river bend.
A former goldmining town, it now marks the junction of the standard gauge railway from Adelaide, with one line continuing north to Darwin, and the other turning west to Perth. The town is served by the twice-weekly trains run by Great Southern Railway, The Ghan (running between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin) and the Indian Pacific (running between Sydney and Perth. Each train stops twice a week heading in each direction at the railway station.
All mail for Tarcoola also arrives by train.
Location: 416 km north-northwest of Port Augusta Origin of name: The name, assigned when the town was proclaimed on February 21, 1901, was taken from the nearby Tarcoola Goldfields, which in turn had been named after Tarcoola the winner of the 1893 Melbourne Cup horse race. The horse Tarcoola had been raised on Tarcoola Station on the Darling River. Tarcoola in the local aboriginal language around Tarcoola Station means river bend.
Gold was discovered in the Tarcoola area by a shearing-shed hand and prospector named Nichols in October 1893. The attention of other prospectors was drawn to the area and further discoveries were made. The Tarcoola Goldfield was worked from 1900 to 1912 and sporadically thereafter until the present day.
Total recorded production is 2 400 kg. The nearby Glenloth Goldfield (1899) produced about 315 kg.
Tarcoola was originally surveyed and laid out into 330 allotments. The town served as a service centre for trains on the east-west rail line across the Nullarbor until 1998, after which rail services and crew changes were increasingly facilitated from Port Augusta and Tarcoola began to be progressively closed down.
Today there are only two people living permanently in Tarcoola while relief and maintenance crews use the railway quarters during the working week.
Tarcoola Post Office opened on 18 August 1900 and the town was proclaimed on 21 February 1901. The name was taken from the nearby Tarcoola Goldfields, which in turn had been named after Tarcoola the winner of the 1893 Melbourne Cup horse race, the year gold was discovered in the area. The horse Tarcoola had been raised on Tarcoola Station on the Darling River.
There were 2000 people living on the gold fields by 1900 and there was even a town plan surveyed just north of the junction in 1915. In the present, only the hotel and a few houses remain in use.
The original Tarcoola goldfields are long closed, however there is now new exploration for minerals in the wider area, including the Challenger Mine. Tarcoola is now best known as the junction of the Sydney-Perth and Adelaide-Darwin railways.
The town is served by trains run by Great Southern Railway, The Ghan, running between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin and the Indian Pacific, running between Sydney and Perth. Both trains run once a week all year, and twice a week at various times. The mail for Tarcoola arrives by train.
Tarcoola is in the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Giles and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Grey.
Tarcoola has a desert climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters and sparse rainfall throughout the year.
You’ll find the locality of Tarcoola Goldfield in South Australia about 600km northwest of Adelaide (show me). Tarcoola Goldfield is at an altitude of approximately 156m. Tarcoola Goldfield is one of the westernmost localities in South Australia. The nearest ocean is the Southern Ocean about 180km south-southwest of Tarcoola Goldfield.