Our History

A NOSTALGIC WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE

SCHOOLS, CHURCHES AND THE RAILWAY OF OWEN AND SURROUNDS

Owen and the Adelaide Plains is steeped in history. To explore the region simply follow the GPS coordinates here and tour the picturesque countryside.

RAILWAY

From 1845 to the late 1870s a major problem for miners and farmers was the need to get their product to market efficiently.

One system was centred in the lower north and had no connection to Adelaide. It was also narrow gauge (3'6") compared to the Adelaide broad gauge (5'3"). Obviously, this created a problem where the two met.

The government decided to build a railway to fill the gap - from Balaklava through Owen to Hamley Bridge which was the point for the meeting of the gauges.

This remained from the opening in 1880 to the mid-1920s when the lines were converted to broad gauge.

Through those 45 years, all passengers and freight had to be transferred from one train to the other at Hamley Bridge.

In the early 1880s, the railways had proposed Stockyard Creek to be the centre of the district and the site for a station. Some four years later, however, it became clear that Owen would be that centre and a station was provided in this town.

The railway line was then extended from Balaklava to Gladstone. Passenger trains ran to and from Gladstone through Owen to Adelaide. This service used steam trains until the 1940s, when diesel locomotives replaced steam engines.

There were at least two passenger and freight services a day, up and back. The last passenger services used Bluebird railcars until they were withdrawn in 1983.

Special trains ran to the Balaklava races and Railway Society charter trips - the last in 1999.

From earliest days, the station yard at Owen was used to load mallee stumps, which provided much needed early income from land clearing in the district. Once subsequent crops had been harvested, the grain was bagged - until bulk handling commenced - and taken by train to market. Stock was also transported by rail.

After gauge conversion in 1927, freight movements up and down the line were well patronized with general freight and grain for the next 78 years.

Irregular services moved significant quantities of grain till 2005 when all freight services ceased with deterioration of the line to the point where it is now unfit for use. All grain is now transported by road.

SCHOOLS

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CHURCHES


The Original Alma Church of Christ

The original church, which was also a school, was built in 1862, the church grew rapidly on account of more migrations from the south, and from the churches influence in the district.

This, however, got too small very soon, as the members increased so, that there was little room for any others.

Just ten years after the first, the present commodious structure appeared.

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The New Alma Church of Christ Chapel

In 1872 membership had grown to 60 and the new chapel was built.  Later the church membership reached 140 and closed in 1938, but the original chapel still stands.

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Alma Plains Primitive Methodist Chapel

Built in 1866 on the western corner of section 115, Hundred of Alma, on the Owen-Hamley Bridge road.

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Alma Congregational Church

Services commenced in 1866. The Church was later relocated to Alma in 1928. The last service was in 1972.

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A cairn was placed near the original site, immediately north of the Alma Plains Cemetery.

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Barabba Methodist Church 1867-1967

The original building was constructed of pug and pine and, in 1876, a new stone church was built. A cairn now marks this site.

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The Owen Churches of Christ

The church started as an amalgamation of two groups in 1881, worshipping in a chapel built at the eight cross-roads on the Pinery -Owen road, (a cairn now marks this site).

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In 1906 the church was dismantled and rebuilt in the main street of Owen, closing in 1985.

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Dalkey Hill Wesleyan Church

The residents of Dalkey Hill held religious services after a chapel was built on section 87, Hundred of Dalkey during the mid-1890's and closing in 1909.

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Dalkey Methodist Bible Christian Chapel

Built in the 1870's in the Dalkey area on the Nine Mile, west of Owen. From 1879 till its closure in 1946, the chapel was also used as a school.

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Owen Methodist Church

Worship commenced in 1905 in the Dalkey District Council Chambers and later in the Owen Institute. In 1908 the present church combined with the Churches of Christ in 1985. It is now known as the Owen Community Church and is the only active church in the town today.  It is part of the Plains Community Churches, linking with Hamley Bridge and Windsor Churches under the umbrella of the Uniting Church of Australia.

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St. Luke’s Anglican Church

Worship first began in the schoolhouse in 1909. a wooden church was built in 1910 and a new stone church was dedicated in 1916.  Worship ceased in 1987 and the building is now a private home.

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Pinery Methodist Church

A Bible Christian Chapel was built in 1880 and this building was used as a school on weekdays and for religious services on Sundays.  At the turn of the century this became the Methodist Church, until its closure in 2004.  This building is now used by the Pinery Community Church.

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Salter Springs Wesleyan Chapel

Little is known except that it was built in 1865 and served the Salter springs District for 35 years, closing in 1900.

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Take a Break.

Explore.

We’re just down the road, a world away within the hour.
Accommodation, things to see and do, natural attractions, local industry, history and cultural heritage, and places to eat.
A short break in Owen is the perfect spot for a leisurely drive exploring the Central North.
No matter in which direction you explore, we guarantee you'll uncover something new, something unique, something interesting and something unexpected.

See you soon.