Lock is a small wheatbelt town located in the in the centre of the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. It is central Eyre Peninsula’s main grain storage hub, as it is surrounded by a predominantly farming community, with emphasis on cereal crop production. The town has hotel, caravan park, supermarket, post office, police station, sporting complex, golf and bowling clubs and area school to serve the surrounding population of approximately 700. Although many nearby coastal towns were settled much earlier, Lock was not colonised until the the 1860’s due to the low rainfall and marginal conditions. Early settlers grazed sheep on vast tracts of natural vegetation for very low costs. Land settlement occurred in 1861, with settlements continuing further north over the next decades.
A major change occurred in the area with the arrival of the Port Lincoln railway line in 1913. The area was serviced by a siding known simply as Terre Siding after one of the local properties. This was altered when the town was gazetted in February 1918, and named Lock after Corporal Albert Lock, a member of the South Australian Survey Department who had been killed in Belgium during World War I, in 1917.
The potential for wheat cropping was realised with the establishment of the railway, but the low rainfall kept any developments from happening until the pipline from the Tod Reservoir was connected. Strangely enough, a huge underground water reservior was discovered under the town two years later, capable of supplying all of the town’s water needs. The Lock Heratige Museum still displays a number of old war, farming and housing equipment used in the area many years ago.
The town is located in the geographic centre of the Eyre Peninsula, surrounded by mostly flat farming land, with patches of remnant vegetation. It is also located close to the Hambridge Conservation Park to the north and the Hinck’s Conservation Park to the south, where the areas original ecosystem is somewhat preserved.
Agriculture, predominantly cereal cropping and to a lesser extent, sheep grazing is still the areas main econominc input, with a minor input from tourism during school holidays. Mining potential in the area is promising, with iron ore having been discovered in banded iron formations, only 20km away from Lock to the southeast at Wilgerup by Centrex Minerals Limited.