Kimba is a rural service town on the Eyre Highway at the top of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. At the 2001 census, Kimba had a population of 686. It has an annual rainfall of 339 mm. There is 7 metre tall statue of a big galah beside the highway marking halfway between the east and west coasts of Australia. The Gawler Ranges are north of the highway near the town.
Kimba is in the District Council of Kimba, the South Australian Legislative Assembly electoral district of Flinders and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Grey. The word “Kimba” is derived from the local Aboriginal word for “bushfire”, and the District Council of Kimba’s emblem reflects this in the form of a burning bush.
The first European in the area was explorer Edward John Eyre, who passed through the area on is passage from Streaky Bay to the head of Spencer Gulf in late 1839.
The area was first settled in the 1870s by lease holding pastoralists who moved north up the Eyre Peninsula during the 1870s and 1880s. They lightly stocked the land and relied on the limited water supplies and intermittent open grass lands to raise their stock. It was more intensively settled for wheat farming from 1908, when overseas demand for wheat in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries increased. The large tracts of mallee scrub began to be cleared to facilitate this, and soon regular mail services were established from the port at Cowell. Bags of wheat had to be loaded onto bullock drays which carried the produce to Cowell 76 km south.
In 1913, Kimba was connected by narrow gauge railway to Port Lincoln. This development encouraged a number of new wheat farmers to move into the area. Two years later the township of Kimba was officially proclaimed and service industries began to move into the district.