Yorke Peninsula, South Australia - Warooka

Warooka
Further west is Warooka, To get there one crosses the Peesey swamp which stretches almost diagonally from near Port Moorowie north-westwards to end in the sandhills between Point Turton and Hardwich Bay. Many thousands of years ago there was a narrow sea strait, or 'rift valley' cutting off the 'bottom end' of the Peninsula from the rest of the Peninsula.

It is thought the Peesey swamp came about 25,000 years ago when the sand hills at each end moved across the sea entrance, and blocked the sea at both ends. The Peesey ranges to the west are only about 200 ft in height, yet to the traveller approaching from the Yorketown road they appear much higher, due to an optical illusion brought about by the lowness of the Peesey, as it is below sea level.

Salt was scraped on various sections of the Peesey for many years. The salty brine was pumped up from a gigantic natural underground reservoir at a rate of 30,000 gallons per hour 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week for up to four months at a time.

Up to the late 1870s it was impossible to cross the Peesey in wet weather, till the energetic local Member of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Ward, was successful in having a road made across the swamps. This was called 'Wards Crossing'. Today the bitumen road follows the same horse and cart track that was put down over 130 yrs ago!

During the 1930s oil drillers from the USA attempted to search the Peesey for oil, without luck, although they did find a good supply of underground water at one site.

Warooka was officially proclaimed in 1876 on the crest of the 'Peesey Ranges' and became better known as 'Warooka Hill' or on a cold windy day 'Windy Hill'.

The town grew slowly from a few houses, a shop and a hotel. The hotel was the first stop for many coming up the hill from all four directions as the hotel is town centre. Being on the south-west corner of the main intersection one cannot miss it! The first official school was opened in 1879. There were two schools previously, one a church school and the other the 'town' school. Warooka, although not large like Yorketown or Minlaton, still serves the farming community well with a well-stocked general store, Post Office, mechanical repairs, hardware store, butcher shop, several churches, café, town hall, etc.