Kyancutta is a small wheatbelt town located at the junction of the Eyre and Tod Highways on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Once a busy town with an airport, Kyancutta is now nearly a ghost town, acting only as a centre for the agricultural districts surrounding it, as well as passing tourists.
The town was established in 1917 to support the surrounding agricultural lands. The name is thought to be derived from the Aboriginal ‘kanjakatari’; kanja – ‘stone’ and katari – ‘surface water’, inferring water in rocks. Another possible origin is that the name was taken from a nearby hill ‘Kutta kutta’ which was the local Aboriginal name for the night hawk.
An airport was built not long after establishment, and flights between Adelaide and Perth stopped there regularly. This added another facet to the towns economy, and caused the town to fall into a steady decline after its closure in 1935. A school was built in the town in 1920, remaining active for 25 years before closing in 1945.
An official weather station, established at Kyancutta in 1928 became Australia’s first fully automated station with a three hourly programme of weather observation which is still ongoing under the care of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. In 1986, a memorial park was established to honour the pioneers of agricultural settlement in the area.
The town now is the service centre for the surrounding agricultural districts, with cereal crops and sheep grazing the prevalent industries. Wheat silos for storage are also located within Kyancutta. It also serves as a rest point for travellers making their way across the Eyre Highway. Kyancutta has no real attractions of its own, but a number of natural features including ‘Waddikee Rock’ and ‘Corrobinne’ Hill do lie within 20km of the town.