Since the settlement of Peterborough in the 1800s, the railways were incredibly important to the district, with the town being the ‘crossroads’ of Australia, linking north, south, east and west. In 1880 the lines linking Port Pirie and Adelaide were opened, followed by the line to Orroroo to the north, and finally Broken Hill/Silverton to East and the NSW border.
It wasn’t just freight and ore which passed through Peterborough, the Old Ghan did from 1929 with the original narrow gauge tracks still in place. The first transcontinental (Brisbane to Perth) started passing through Peterborough from 1917, and the first Indian-Pacific passenger express did so too from February 1970, and continues to do so today.
Unfortunately the railways has all but left the town, however the assets and memories of that great steam era has been preserved at the Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre at the western end of town, which is well worth a visit!
Click here for a link to Steamtown and the tours and viewings they have on offer.
View here a preview to the award winning Sound and Light Show held at Steamtown - it'll take your breath away:
Consequently, over the last few years the local Council has set aside money and utilised many Government Grants to improve the lifestyle and appearance of the town to hopefully encourage tourists to the area. As a result of this, the town has won many awards in the statewide KESAB Tidy Towns Competition for its continued improvement and innovative approach.
The following link to the Peterborough tourism website (www.visitpeterboroughsa.com.au) has a lot of information on areas around Peterborough to visit, such as the brand new Town Carriage Museum, Greg Duggan Nature Reserve, Printing Works, History Walk and Steamtown. There are also many attractions in the region which are detailed, such as YMCA Building including the Meldonfield Collection, The Burg and the Black Rock Gallery. Included in the site is a large database of the local businesses, services and accommodation, as well as lots of other information.
Also available is Peterborough's new Mobile Guide/App, for free! Simply click here on: www.daytrippa.com.au/peterborough-sa and then request the link to your email address. This Guide is best viewed on a mobile phone or tablet.
Another exciting venture which has been created, is the Heritage Rail Trail. This fascinating journey which takes you from Broken Hill to Port Pirie via Peterborough, or vice versa, tells the story of a nation built on the railways, and how it transformed the region. Click here to go straight to the trail mobile guide where there are live maps, interviews with men that worked on the railways, stories and much much more: www.daytrippa.com.au/heritage-rail-trail/full-guide/home/
Visitor Information Centre - located at Steamtown Heritage Rail Centre, 2 Telford Avenue (the western end of Main Street), is open 7 days a week, 9am to 4pm (excluding Christmas - see Visit Peterborough site for details).
New attraction open in Peterborough! Come along to the brand new Town Carriage Museum in the centre of town.
Opposite Home Hardware, Main Street, Peterborough. Open 7 days a week, 9am to 4pm, free entry.
View here a couple of segments from Channel 7's SA Weekender show (aired 17th September 2017 and 19th November 2017), featuring Steamtown, the sound and light show and the new carriage museum as well as Cafe 229, the historic Print Shop and the Meldonfield Miniatures :
Click here to learn more about the exciting changes at the Town Carriage and Visitor Information Centre.