Tatiara. The first taste of South Australia





The Tatiara region is ideally positioned on the main Adelaide to Melbourne Dukes Highway. Less than three hours drive from Adelaide and five hours from Melbourne.

Tatiara was the name given by the Aboriginals to this patch of good country which lies between the Bangham bushland north of Naracoorte and the lower heath of the Ninety Mile Desert east of the Adelaide Hills. Having heard about “the good country” from the Aboriginals, pastoralists sought and first settled in the district in 1846. The District Council of Australia with an area of 6,525 square kilometers.

The Tatiara region today includes the highway towns of Bordertown and Keith plus the townships of Mundulla, Padthaway, Willalooka and Wolseley. You will experience this ‘good country’ as you turn off the Dukes Highway at Wirrega or Bordertown and find yourself in the Big Gum Country where the 200-300 year old majestic red gums grow to great heights. These trees follow the meandering water courses and surround the swamps, whilst magnificent blue gums follow the road.

You can reach this gum tree paradise from Keith by turning off the Riddoch Highway at Mount Monster and travelling to Bordertown along the route taken by the gold escorts of 1852-53. Admire the rural scenery and marvel at the varied and natural beauty of the giant gum trees. The bright yellow patchwork of canola paddocks in spring and the purple Lucerne in summer add to the enjoyment of a drive along local roads.

Golf courses, croquet and bowling greens, gliding clubs, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), squash and tennis courts, boating and fishing lake, adventure playgrounds and canoeing venues all allow for a variety of activities.

Libraries, museums, gardens, national parks, scenic historic drives, nature and art walks are available for visitors to enjoy at their leisure – check out the bikes and wine trails. Motels, hotels, caravan parks, bed and breakfasts, holiday farms, restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops all provide excellent accommodation and eating facilities.


Alexander Tolmer established a half way stopover camp for the police troopers of his gold escort on the banks of the Tatiara Creek near Scott’s Woolshed in 1852. The gold escort was given the task of safely delivering the gold mined by South Australians at the Victorian goldfields back to Adelaide to rescue the State from bankruptcy.

The township of Bordertown was surveyed adjacent to this camp the same year. Development was slow until the wheat farmers arrived in 1872. This coincided with the establishment of Mundulla which was proclaimed a town in 1873.

The railway from Kingston via Naracoorte arrived at Custon, just inside the Tatiara, in 1881. This encouraged more wheat farmers with further areas being resumed from the original stations.

A railway siding was established at Wolseley in 1883. When the railway arrived from Adelaide in 1886, Wolseley became an important trans-shipping station with goods from the narrow gauge line from the South East having to be transferred across the platform to the broad gauge line from Adelaide and Melbourne. The Wolseley Fuel Tanks were constructed by the RAAF during World War II and camouflaged to look like farm buildings. The depot ceased operation in 1944. A railway siding was established on the Adelaide line near Mount Monster to serve the surrounding district which had been taken up as pastoral leases in the 1850’s. The pioneering farmers in some parts of the Tatiara found farming difficult due to the poor soil types. It was not until the 1930’s with the use of superphosphate and later the introduction of trace elements that farming became a viable proposition.

In 1950., the AMP Insurance Company funded development of vast areas of bushland into farmland which resulted in a large growth period for Keith and Bordertown. Part of Padthaway Station was reclaimed for soldier settlement blocks in 1949. The township of Padthaway was surveyed in 1952 on a site opposite the beautiful Padthaway Homestead which was built in 1882. The remaining railway sidings of Wirrega (1886) and Cannawigara (1912) take their names from the original stations but are situated many kilometers from the homestead sites.


Potaruwutj country lies from Struan, along the third inland dune to Taratap, Bordertown, Wirrega and Keith.

To the north lies Ngarkat country, people closely related to the Potaruwutj, occupying the Mallee bushlands belt east of the Murray River, extending into Victoria to Murrayville where they share a border with the Wergiara people. These groups form the western most part of the Wotjobuluk nation.

Aboriginal names still exist today in the district; Wirrega, Cannawigara, Challa, Munkoora, Kongal, Pooginagoric, Mundulla, Nalanghee (Nalang), Tatiara, Brinbago and Padthaway.

There are also the swamps such as Poocher, Cannawigara and Moot-Yang-Gunya which are of significance to Aboriginal people and should be treated as such.

There areas have a rich aboriginal culture throughout, with an abundance of food sources and plenty of water.

Tourists may want to visit Moot-Yang- Gunya and walk the trail. Along this trail are canoe and toe trees, used to access birds nests or honey. Please treat these fragile trees with care.



Got 30 minutes?

Got an hour?

Staying a day?

Staying awhile?

with us

Find our
wifi hotspots

Tatiara District Council

43 Woolshed Street

Bordertown SA 5268

T: (08) 8752 1044


Wifi Location: Front foyer

Morning Loaf Bakery

81 North Terrace

Bordertown SA 5268

Wifi location: Front foyer

Tolmer Park

North Terrace

Bordertown SA 5268

Wifi location: Park

Keith Institute

Heritage Street

Keith SA 5267

Wifi location: Park

Don Moseley Park

Memorial Avenue

Keith SA 5267

Wifi location: Park

Download the
Tatiara Visitor Guide

Click here (PDF 20mb)