South Australia: Key Industry Locations
April 6th, 2020
South Australia boasts some of the biggest mining projects in the country.
Roxby Downs, 570km north of Adelaide in central South Australia, was purpose-built in the late 1980’s to service the massive Olympic Dam mine now owned by BHP Billiton. With a resident population of 4500 and another 900 commuting workers who drive or FIFO, it boasts an average age of 29 years (28 per cent under 15), and one of the highest birth rates in Australia. Whilst in a very remote location, the town does provide a wide range of community facilities and government services, including:
- One of the largest area schools in South Australia.
- A 10-bed hospital, with accident and emergency, community midwife, doctors, dentist, chiropractor, hearing services and a resident physiotherapist.
- Visiting health services including an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, dietician and podiatrist.
- Two playgroups and two childcare centres.
- Large network of sporting clubs, plus a golf club, tennis and squash courts bowling green and tavern.
- Public swimming pool with toddler pool and water slide.
- Shopping centre with news-agency, pharmacy, a gift, clothing & jewellery store, hairdressers, hardware, furniture, electrical, nursery, auto accessories, video store, photo processing and a Woolworths supermarket.
The town is serviced by a good bitumen road and regular flights to Adelaide. The nearest regional centre is Port Augusta (256km). Aside from the immediate services and facilities of the township, the majority of employment is generated by the Olympic Dam mine site. The site operates as a residential operation but FIFO is available for those working for sub-contractors. Additionally, some elect to operate on a drive in, drive out arrangement to other locations such as Whyalla and Port Augusta, staying at the camp during shift.
Located about 400kms north of Adelaide near the top of Spencer Gulf, Whyalla has a population of some 22,000 people and was built on the back of mining, agriculture and manufacturing. Whyalla was founded in 1901 as a port for shipping iron ore extracted from the nearby Middleback Ranges. BHP had a massive impact on the town’s growth, processing natural resources, producing
steel and (until the mid 1970s) building ships. The result is a highly skilled workforce and spin-off industries in steel fabrication, manufacturing, construction, hydraulics and more. The two major resource-related industries in town are steelmaking (OneSteel) and Santos’ fractionation plant located at Port Bonython. Liquid hydrocarbons are pumped 659kms from the Cooper Basin oil
and gas fields, where they are processed into crude oil, condensate, propane, ethane and butane. Whyalla has become more widely recognised as a major hub and service centre for the region catering for major contracts, such as the Alice Springs to Darwin railway, the Port Augusta power station and the Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine. Whyalla is regarded as a friendly, thriving place and also gateway to the pristine coastline and outback wilds of Eyre Peninsula. Whyalla Hospital has more than 80 staffed beds (including two hospice units) catering for accident and emergency, surgical, theatre, women’s and children’s and high dependency. Additional services include a 20-bed day surgery unit, community, mental health, domiciliary care, palliative care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology.
There are more than 15 GPs, three pharmacies and a selection of dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists and other specialist health care providers. Whyalla Aged Care employs almost 170 people and offers a range of facilities and accommodation options for elderly residents. Whyalla Westlands is the largest undercover shopping centre in regional SA, with department stores, popular franchise outlets, supermarkets and a food hall. A number of other shopping strips are also located throughout the city, and Whyalla Cinema shows all the latest releases. Whyalla Leisure Centre has a 25m indoor heated swimming pool, squash and racquetball courts, sports hall, weightlifting facilities and the all-important cafe. Classes include aqua aerobics, circuits, aero boxing, tai chi, and swimming.
There’s an array of childcare centres, pre-schools and primary schools, plus four high schools. If you’re keen on returning to studies, TAFE SA has a campus here and so does the University of South Australia (attracting students from across regional SA but also as far afield as interstate and overseas). It’s the largest uni campus in country SA and home to UniSA’s Centre for Regional Engagement, offers fields as diverse as business and accounting to nursing and arid lands technology.