Knob is located 68 kilometres Southwest of Port Augusta, and 90
kilometres East of Kimba. Europeans first ventured into the remote
Iron Knob area during Edward John Eyre's expedition of 1839. Somewhat
predicting future developments Eyre reported the discovery of
vast "Iron Stone" hills. Permanent settlement of the area had
to wait another 25 years. In 1854 James Patten was granted a pastoral
and grazing lease over Corunna Hill, 7 kilometres North East of
present day Iron Knob.
The year 1880 saw a Caltowie wheat buyer named Ernst Siekman supplying
large quantities of flour to the rapidly burgeoning lead, silver
and zinc mining community at Broken Hill. Aware of the possibilities
of new mining ventures Ernst Siekman, his wife and other family
members pegged out a lease at Iron Knob. In doing so the Siekman
family's Mount Minden Mining Company was born and the company
extracted Iron Ore from the area for the next 16 years.
Ernst Siekman and his family were of Prussian descent, and the
name of the Mount Minden mining company reflected the fact that
Ernst Siekman's birthplace was in Minden - a town within Westphalia
province. In many ways the Mount Minden mining company was
a pioneer in the development of a modern Australian iron ore mining
industry, and by the standards of the day Iron Knob's ore deposits
were rich pickings indeed, often obtaining metallic purities close
Iron Knob Mine
From 1899 BHP worked the mining lease at Iron Knob for the next
100 years. And one hundred years of mining has certainly left
its mark - with the height of Iron Knob Hill being reduced by
more than 150 metres. For the traveller Iron Knob may not be the
most scenic of towns, but it certainly is a town of historic significance.
Iron Knob played a crucial role in the birth of Australia's commercial
Steel making industry at nearby Whyalla. For those of you with
a keen interest in mining history Iron Knob may well be worth
a rest stop and visit for a couple of hours.
Iron Knob is a small settlement with
basic facilities for the traveller. On the edge of the town is
a Roadhouse. Travellers should be aware this Roadhouse is not
open 24 hours a day. To the west the next 24 hour Roadhouse is
in Ceduna, and to the North East the next 7/24 Roadhouse is Port
Augusta. Located by the Iron Knob Roadhouse is Motel Accommodation.
Iron Knob also has a general store and Post Office facilities
situated on the main street - don't worry you won't get lost!
The Iron Knob Community Tourist centre also provides information
and advice to the traveller although opening hours may vary. Situated
between Iron Knob and Port Augusta is Pandurra Station which has
Motel and camping accommodation.
Iron Knob Attractions
The Iron Knob Tourist centre has a display of items relating to
the mining history of the area. For those of you with a geology
bent there is also an interesting display of mineralogical specimens.
Apparently tours of the mining site are also possible. Please
check with the Iron Knob Motel Roadhouse by telephoning (08) 8646
2058, or contacting the Tourist Information Centre on (08) 8646
Typical Saltbush Country
To the Northwest of Iron Knob is the
Gawler Ranges wilderness. The roads in this area are poorly maintained,
and from the travellers point of view this area is really only
suitable for reliable 4 wheel drive vehicles. At all times it
is recommended travellers should observe the usual precautions
when travelling in the Outback. Take a reliable vehicle and plenty
of food and water. Drive at slow speeds - especially if you are
unfamiliar with these roads. Within the Gawler Ranges camping
is permitted within 30 metres of public roads.
If you are travelling from Iron Knob
To Ceduna and points west - or vice versa - there is an alternative
route that passes through The Gawler Ranges from Iron
Knob to Wirrulla. Basic accommodation is also available at
Mount Ive station for those of you who wish to spend some time
in this unique area. The Iron Knob Roadhouse should be able to
advise you of road conditions and hazards in this area.