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. The collection is 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.
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 Kunlara Post and Telephone office, first opened in 1915 and operating till 1953, probably the smallest in South Australia.
In recent years, a new shed was funded by the District Council of Karoonda East Murray which now houses the old manual telephone exchange, vintage tractors, railway memorabilia, a collection of antique farm machinery, a shearing shed display featuring a steam driven shearing plant and much more!
The park is open to visitors during daylight hours, 7 days a week. Secure buildings are accessible during open days and working bees only, or can be opened by prior arrangement by contacting the District Council of Karoonda East Murray on Ph: 08 8578 1004.
For information on open days, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pioneerparkkaroonda/
Entry to the park is via donation to the bright yellow box located under the notice-board shelter towards the entry of the park.