Our delightful town is nestled in the eastern slopes of the southern Flinders Ranges. 218kms North from Adelaide and 40kms East of Port Pirie.
The township of Laura was surveyed in 1872, when a section of Booyoolee Run, a pastoral holding which was leased by the pastoralist Herbert Bristow Hughes, was surveyed and subdivided. In 1872 the new town was named Laura after Laura Hughes, Herbert’s wife. Prior to the establishment of the town the area had a number of large pastoral holdings most of which dated from the 1840s. Beetaloo Station had been established as a cattle run in 1844.
The town grew as it became an important supply post for the workmen building the Beetaloo Reservoir. Two Chinese market gardeners settled there and implemented South Australia’s first irrigation system to grow vegetables and fruit at Laura. Beer, ice and dairy products were later produced in the town for shipment to Broken Hill after its mining operations were established in the 1880s. Flax was also produced in the area.
The town hosts the annual Laura Fair, a two-day festival.
During the Laura Fair, Hughes Street becomes a large mall lined with art, craft, hobby and food stalls. There is non-stop entertainment suitable for the whole family.
Australian poet and writer CJ Dennis, of ‘The Sentimental Bloke’ fame, is a much respected early identity of Laura. His father was the licensee of the Beetaloo Reservoir Hotel from 1892 to 1910. Clarrie Dennis spent much of his youth in Laura.
Situated on the banks of the southerly flowing Rocky River, amid stately red gums, Laura is a perfect base from which to visit the many surrounding attractions and scenic drives.
One of these would take you 10kms north to Stone Hut.
Stone Hut was named after the old stone cottage built in the 1850s on the banks of the Rocky River for Frederick White and his bride. It still survives as a relic of the mail coach days, when it was also a stopping place for teamsters busily carting wood from the forest to the mines in Burra.
The town was surveyed in 1874 and trade expanded the little settlement. Coach passengers would have stayed at the Royal Mail Hotel on the main road but this has since been demolished, as have many of the larger original buildings.
With the advent of the railway line in 1910 Stone Hut became a major marshalling area for grain which was trans-shipped from the Stone Hut siding. The town became a home for railway workers although it was never known as a railway town. The railway closed in 1986.
The community slowly declined after the first 20 years due no doubt to the droughts of that decade, acces by rail to larger trading centres and later the ravages of World War 1 on the male population.
In 1926 the residents raised money for the erection of a building as a memorial to the soldiers of World War 1. This became known as the Stone Hut Soldiers Memorial Hall and it is still used today for social events and markets.
- Accommodation & Motel Accommodation
- Gifts | Antiques | Bric-a-brac
- Art Gallery
- ATM | EFTPOS
- Baptist, Lutheran & Catholic Church
- Family | Recreational Cycling
- Mountain Bike Cycling
- Information Centre
- Local Produce Outlet
- Parks | Playgrounds
- Diesel, & Unleaded Fuel
- Post Office
- Public Toilets
- Hiking | Trekking Walking Trails
- Family | Recreational Walking Trails