World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


South Australia
View of Whyalla CBD Hummock Hill lookout
Whyalla is located in South Australia
Population 20,088 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1920
Postcode(s) 5600 [2]
Time zone ACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST) ACDT (UTC+10:30)
Location 395 km (245 mi) from Adelaide
LGA(s) City of Whyalla
State electorate(s) Giles[3]
Federal Division(s) Grey[4]

Whyalla is the third most populous city in the Australian state of South Australia after Adelaide and Mount Gambier. It is a seaport located on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula. The town is known as the "Steel City" due to its integrated steelworks and shipbuilding heritage. The port of Whyalla has been exporting iron ore since 1903.


  • Description 1
  • History 2
  • Port 3
  • Climate 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Transport 6
    • Road 6.1
    • Rail 6.2
    • Air 6.3
    • Sea 6.4
  • Tourism 7
  • Politics 8
    • State and Federal 8.1
    • Local 8.2
  • Education 9
    • Primary schools 9.1
    • Secondary schools 9.2
    • Tertiary education 9.3
  • Sister cities 10
  • Notable people from Whyalla 11
  • Gallery 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The city consists of an urban area is bounded to the north by the railway to the mining town of Iron Knob, to the east by Spencer Gulf and to the south by the Lincoln Highway. The urban area consists of the following suburbs laid from east to west extending from a natural hill known as Hummock Hill - Whyalla, Whyalla Playford, Whyalla Norrie, Whyalla Stuart and Whyalla Jenkins. A port facility, a railyard serving the railway line to Iron Knob and an industrial complex are located to the immediate north of Hummock Hill.[5][6][7]


It was founded as Hummock's Hill in 1901 by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) as the end of a tramway bringing iron ore from Iron Knob in the Middleback Range to sea. Its first shipment was transported across Spencer Gulf to Port Pirie where it was used in lead smelters as a flux. A jetty was built to transfer the ore and the first shipment was sent in 1903. The early settlement consisted of small cottages and tents clustered around the base of the hill. The Post Office opened in 1901 as Hummock's Hill and was renamed Whyalla on 1 November 1919.[8]

The arid environment and lack of natural fresh water resources made it necessary to import water in barges from Port Pirie.

In 1905 the town's first school opened. It was originally called Hummock Hill School, and was subsequently renamed as Whyalla Primary School and Whyalla Higher Primary School. The school's current name is Whyalla Town Primary School.

On 16 April 1920 the town was proclaimed as Whyalla. The ore conveyor on the jetty was improved and ore began to be shipped to the newly built Newcastle, New South Wales steelworks. The town grew slowly until 1938.

The BHP Indenture Act was proclaimed in 1937 and provided the impetus for the construction of a blast furnace and harbour. In 1939 the blast furnace and harbour began to be constructed and a commitment for a pipeline from the Murray River was made. A shipyard was built to provide ships for the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. The population began rising dramatically and many new facilities, including a hospital and abbatoirs, were built.

In 1941 the first ship from the new shipyard, displaced persons began arriving from Europe.

In 1958 the Company decided to build an integrated steelworks at Whyalla and it was completed in 1965. In the following year, salt harvesting began and coke ovens were built. The population grew extremely rapidly, and the South Australian Housing Trust was building 500 houses a year to cope with the demand. Plans for a city of 100,000 were produced by the Department of Lands. A second pipeline from Morgan was built to cope with the demand.

In 1970 the city adopted full local government status. Fierce competition from Japanese ship builders resulted in the closing of the shipyards in 1978, which were at the time the largest in Australia. From a peak population of 33,000 in 1976 the population dropped rapidly. A decline in the BHP iron and steel industry since 1981 also impacted employment.

The BHP long products division was divested in 2000 to form OneSteel which is the sole producer of rail and steel sleepers in Australia. On 2 July 2012, Onesteel formally changed its name to Arrium.[9]

From 2004 northern South Australia enjoyed a mineral exploration boom and Whyalla found itself well placed to benefit from new ventures, being situated on the edge of the Gawler Craton. The city experienced an economic upturn with the population slowly increasing and the unemployment rate falling to a more typical level.


Iron ore exports from Whyalla, South Australia (2007-2014)
Iron ore exports from Whyalla, South Australia (2007-2014)

Since its beginnings as Hummock Hill, the town has served as a port for the shipment of iron ore from deposits along the Middleback Range.

The port's first conveyor belt loading system was installed in 1915, and was capable of loading 1,000 tonnes of ore per hour. In 1943, it would take 5½ to 6 hours to load a single 5,000-ton freighter.

In 2007, new transshipment handling processes were implemented, which allowed Arrium (formerly Onesteel) to load iron ore onto larger capesize bulk carrier vessels in deeper water. The transshipment process involves the filling of barges with ore which is then transferred into the receiving vessels at one of three transshipment anchorages.

In April 2014 Arrium loaded its largest capesize cargo. The MV Tian Fa Hai was loaded with about 198,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) of iron ore – significantly more than the average load of about 170,000 wmt. At the time the company was on track to meet its annual export target of 12 million tonnes.[10]


Whyalla has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cool winters, and mild rainfall spread throughout the year.

Climate data for Whyalla
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 49.5
Average high °C (°F) 30.2
Average low °C (°F) 17.6
Record low °C (°F) 5.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 14.4
Average precipitation days 3.0 3.3 4.1 5.0 9.0 11.0 10.8 10.1 7.8 6.7 4.8 4.7 80.3
Average relative humidity (%) 38 40 40 44 49 54 53 48 44 41 39 41 44
Source: [11]


According to the 2011 Census the population of the Whyalla area was 21,988 (including Mullaquana) people, making it the second largest urban area in the state outside of Adelaide. Approximately 50.5% of the population were male, 74% are Australian born and 4.2% were Indigenous.

The most popular industries for employment were Metal Manufacturing (18%), School Education (5.5%) and Health (4.1%), while the unemployment rate is approx. 8.1%. The median weekly household income is A$932 or more per week, compared with $1,106 in Adelaide. 19.6% of the population identify themselves as Catholic, while a higher 33.5% identify with no religion at all.[12]



The Lincoln Highway passes directly through Whyalla. The city is served by a coach bus service operated by Premier Stateliner which operates four services to and from Adelaide (via Port Augusta) each week day (less on weekends) and one service each way to Port Lincoln. There are however occasional exceptions to the week day route due to lack of demand to travel through Whyalla.


A narrow gauge so-called tramway was built to Iron Knob to supply iron ore originally used as flux when smelting copper ore.[13] This ore became the basis of the steelworks. As the Iron Knob deposits were worked out, the railway was diverted to other sources of ore at Iron Monarch, Iron Prince, Iron Duke and Iron Baron.

To enable interchange between the BHP's other steelworks in Newcastle and Port Kembla of specialised rollingstock, the railway system within the Whyalla steelworks was converted to standard gauge circa 1963.[14]

Although the steelworks produced railway rail, for several decades there was no railway connection to the mainland system. Finally in 1972, the standard gauge Whyalla line to Port Augusta was completed.

Some iron ore is exported from Whyalla. In 2007, steps were being taken to export iron ore mined at Peculiar Knob near Coober Pedy, 600 km away. To meet this increased demand, a balloon loop was installed in 2012 at the port for both gauges.[15]


Whyalla is served by Whyalla Airport, with Regional Express flying into Whyalla from Adelaide a number of times a day. QantasLink also operates double daily services from Adelaide.[16]


There is a small boat marina (populated by a number of dolphins), a sailing club, and a boat ramp on the coastline below Hummock Hill, where there is a fish-cleaning station situated nearby. Iron ore is exported through an off-shore facility.


Though maintaining strong effort for the tourism industry, Whyalla has struggled to compete with other cities in the area in regards to tourism. Such attractions possessed by the city to attract more tourists include HMAS Whyalla.

HMAS Whyalla, a locally built World War II-era corvette

HMAS Whyalla was a World War II-era corvette. It was the first ship built in the city of Whyalla and was named after the city. The ship was landlocked as a tourist attraction in 1987, the main attraction of the Whyalla Maritime Museum.

Giant Australian cuttlefish
Giant Australian cuttlefish

In the late 1990s the spectacular annual migration of the Australian Giant Cuttlefish Sepia apama to shallow, inshore rocky reef areas in Spencer Gulf north of Whyalla became recognized by international divers.[17][18] Divers and snorkellers can see the aggregation of animals from May through August each year, in water typically three to six metres deep. The most popular spots to enter the water are Black Point, Stony Point and Point Lowly, and car parking and boardwalks or stairs to the waters edge are present at each location. Dolphins also frequent the local marina.

Tours are also offered of the Whyalla steelworks, departing from the Whyalla Visitors Centre.

The Whyalla Conservation Park provides an example of the natural semi-arid environment accessible via walking trails. A gentle climb to the top of Wild Dog Hill provides a view of the surrounding landscape and information on native vegetation via a series of interpretive signs.

The Hummock Hill lookout provides excellent views across the town, the port and the coast.

Whyalla is home to an annual Snapper Fishing Competition, held over the Easter long weekend. Those who have not fished commercially during the past 12 months are invited to compete. Prizes are awarded bases on individual fish weights. Tagging also takes place at this time.


State and Federal

2006 State Election [19]
  Labor 66.3%
  Liberal 21.8%
  Family First 6.5%
  Greens 4%
  Independent 1.4%
2007 Federal Election [20]
  Labor 57.07%
  Liberal 29.5%
  Greens 5.19%
  Family First 4.59%
  National 1.60%
  Democrats 1.16%
  Independent 0.88%

Whyalla is part of the state electoral district of Giles, which is presently held by Labor MP Eddie Hughes. Giles was previously held by Labor MP Lyn Breuer from 1997 until her retirement in 2014. In federal politics, the city is part of the division of Grey, and has been represented by Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey since 2007. Grey is held with a margin of 8.86% and is considered safe-liberal. The results shown are from the largest polling station in Whyalla Norrie — which is located at Nicolson Avenue Primary School.


Whyalla is in the City of Whyalla local government area (along with some of the sparsely inhabited areas around it).


Primary schools

Primary schools in Whyalla include Whyalla Town Primary School, Fisk Street Primary School, Long Street Primary School, Hincks Avenue Primary School, Memorial Oval Primary School, Whyalla Stuart Campus, Nicolson Avenue Primary School, Sunrise Christian School, St Teresa's and Our Lady Help of Christians (both Samaritan College).

Secondary schools

Secondary Education is provided by Whyalla High School, Stuart High School, Samaritan College, Edward John Eyre High School and Saint John's College, Whyalla. Saint John's College is one of the three schools that make up Samaritan College.

Tertiary education

Tertiary education is provided by the Spencer Institute of TAFE, and the Whyalla Campus of the University of South Australia. UniSA Whyalla's academic programs include business, social work, nursing and research opportunities in rural health and community development.

Sister cities

Whyalla has two sister cities:

Notable people from Whyalla



  1. ^  
  2. ^ Australia Post - Postcode: Whyalla, SA (25 June 2008)
  3. ^ "District of Giles Background Profile". ELECTORAL COMMISSION SA. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Federal electoral division of Grey, boundary gazetted 16 December 2011" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  5. ^ City of Whyalla - Additional Locality Boundaries (PDF) (Map). Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, Government of South Australia. 2011. Rack Plan 1017. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  6. ^ "Search result for " Whyalla (GTWN)" (Record no SA0055894)". Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Whyalla Street Map 2013". City of Whyalla. 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  8. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 11 April 2008. 
  9. ^ "Onesteel becomes Arrium mining and materials". Arrium. Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  10. ^ "Arrium Mining sets Cape vessel record". Arrium. 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  11. ^ "Whyalla climate". 
  12. ^  
  13. ^ See Griffiths, David. "BHP Tramways Centenary History." (1985, Mile End Railway Museum)(ISBN 0959507345). This book provides a detailed history of mining operations in the area, the construction of the railway, and the growth of Whyalla over the years.
  14. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, September 1963 pp133-136
  15. ^ "Whyalla Port Expansion". RCS Australia. 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Sepia apama: the giant Australian cuttlefish
  18. ^ Whyalla Cuttlefish
  19. ^ SA 2006 election results and outcomes (PDF), (a) P.14 (d) P.13, State Electoral Office, South Australia, 2006. Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  20. ^ Whyalla Norrie Polling Booth, Division of Grey, House of Representatives Division First Preferences, 2007 Federal Election. Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  21. ^ "Brett Burton's town of footy-mad kids". The Herald and Weekly Times Pty Ltd. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "ALAN DIDAK". AFL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "About (Gary Gray)". Australian Labor. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "The longest pinball marathon". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Barrie Robran". ESPN Sports Media Ltd. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Peter Stanley - about me". Peter Stanley. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "Veart, Carl". Australian Player Database. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "Douglas Wood". Saxton Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 

External links

  • Whyalla City Council's tourist information site
  • Whyalla's Weather for the last 72 hours

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.