Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Innamincka SA


Postcode: 5731

Innamincka is a tiny settlement in north-east South Australia. It is situated on the banks of Coopers Creek in the state’s Channel Country, and surrounded by the Strzelecki, Tirari and Sturts Stony Deserts.

The area was the traditional home of the Yandruwandha, Dieri and Yarrawarrka Aborigines. The first European to visit the area was Charles Sturt in 1845. He was followed by A C Gregory in 1858 and then Burke and Wills. A monument to Sturt and Burke and Wills was erected in Innamincka in 1944.

Originally called Hopetoun, Innamincka was proclaimed a township in 1890. The town was never very large, but had a hotel, a store and a police station which acted as customs post for collecting duties on cattle brought overland from Queensland into South Australia. In 1928 the Australian Inland Mission (a part of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia) built a hospital here, the Elizabeth Symon Nursing Home. Severe drought and poor access to the settlement resulted in the closure of the hotel and the hospital. In 1951 the police post closed and the town was abandoned.

Increased tourism and discovery of gas and oil reserves in the late 1960s led to the formation of Cooper Creek Hotel Motel Pty Ltd, who opened a hotel, a store and accommodation in the abandoned town. In 1994 the Elizabeth Symon Nursing Home was restored by Dick Smith and Australian Geographic and used as an interpretive centre for South Australian Parks and Wildlife.

Today the town has a population of about 15 people. It is 1065 km northeast of Adelaide and 459 km from Lyndhurst up the Strzelecki Track.