Surveyed in 1910 and the first bore sunk a year later, Karoonda is a farming community in the mallee region, which became a thriving railway town by the 1920s, but has experienced population decline and now has a town/district population of about 300/1,100 people.
The society cares for the district’s historical collections on behalf of the Karoonda East Murray district council. Most of the large items in the collection are located at Pioneer Park on East Terrace, established in the 1980s to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the colony of South Australia, while the ‘Mallee Lands Railway Museum’ originally established for Karoonda’s centenary in 2011, is being developed at the disused Karoonda Railway Station.
Pioneer Park contains a fascinating collection of early mallee memorabilia representing aspects of pioneering history including railways, agriculture and associated community services. As well as agricultural machinery, there are several examples of railway carriages as well as restored relocated buildings including the original Methodist church at Wynarka, and the Hood family farmhouse, both dating from 1913; and the Kullara Post and Telephone office, first opened in 1915 and operating till 1953, probably the smallest in South Australia.