The view of regional South Australia from a truck driver’s cabin is a special one. Their windows look out on miles of rugged land, bitumen, tiny rural towns, and the characters in them.
“I was sick of people often saying here is nothing to see or do in Adelaide or South Australia.”
Truck driver Peter Lohmann clocks up over 2,500 kilometres a week transporting freight for Rapid Refrigerated Transport. He delivers to country butchers, bakeries, hotels, and supermarkets.
“In five years that’s at least a half a million kilometres around South Australia,” says the jolly chap. Work takes him through Balaklava, Blyth, Spalding, Booborowie, Jamestown, Caltowie, Booleroo Centre, Melrose, Caltowie, Wirrabara, Laura, Crystal Brook, Port Pirie, Port Broughton, Kadina, Port Wakefield and beyond.
When he stops for a breather, Pete takes photographs of local sights and uploads them to his Facebook page South Australia, Australia’s Best Kept Secret. “I made it up because I was sick of people often saying here is nothing to see or do in Adelaide or South Australia,” he says. “While I’m eating my lunch I’m usually eyeing out town murals, statues or reading about town history on plaques.” Not bad for a bloke originally from Queensland. Pete loves his new home and wants to tell the world about it. He’s no professional photographer but he captures the heart and soul of the towns he visits. We love his enthusiasm so asked Pete to regularly share his tales from the road. He was stoked and to kick things off chose to report in from Jamestown in the Southern Flinders Ranges. The small town hit global headlines when tech billionaire Elon Musk announced plans to build the world’s largest lithium ion battery there. According to Pete, there’s a lot more to love about the town than big batteries.
“They still make great bacon.”
“I have the advantage of not just driving through Jamestown once like many tourists and travelers,” he says. “Most South Australian country towns have a lot more to offer than first meets the eye.”
Like a strong sense of community.
Look hard enough and you’ll find Memorial Park where the Lone Pine Monument – grown from seedlings from the original lone pine at Gallipoli. There’s also a fully restored 1907 German Krupp Cannon captured by Australian troops in World War One. Anyone with a shoe fetish will enjoy the interpretative R.M. Williams display (Reginald Murray Williams was born here), and there’s a mural walk for art fans (the town hosts a mural festival during May). Two nearby wind turbines painted with indigenous art tell the story of the region’s Ngadjuri and Nukunu people. The old railway station (now a museum) is also worth a gander. Even the dead have interesting stories to tell.
“There’s a very unusual gravestone in the local cemetery,” Pete says. “Many years ago two workers were killed while working at the local quarry and they used the rock that killed them as their gravestone.”
“Most South Australian country towns have a lot more to offer than first meets the eye.”
When you’ve had your fill of history, grab a bite and pint. “Jamestown has three hotels (formerly four), a bakery, three cafes, two butcher shops (one being the oldest continuously-run butcher in South Australia) They still make great bacon.”
Pete also says the chemist is interesting, too. “It has a great display of old medicine in the shop window.”
Nearby towns also boast quirky attractions.
“The iron lung made by the Both Brothers in nearby town of Caltowie is worth a story of its own. The two brothers invented many things.” Like the world’s first heart monitoring electrocardiograph, a three-wheeled electric car, a fax machine, humidicribs, and electric scoreboards.
Pete also recommends Bundaleer Forest Reserve, nine kilometres south of Jamestown. The picnic and nature walk opportunities are spectacular. “In nearby Spalding they have the Barbed Wire Museum (part of the pub) and a great swing bridge. Gladstone has a great old goal that is not only open to the public but you can also stay overnight in it.”
Got the rural munchies? “Happy Rock Cafe at Gladstone has great meals at great prices. Happy Rock… get it? Glad/stone!”
Pete the Truckie will next check in with Fritz from Booleroo Centre. In the meantime, check out his adventures at South Australia, Australia’s Best Kept Secret.
Love regional South Australian towns? Tell us about your favourite in the comments, below.