Inspiration for The Min-Min

Kingoonya - "the capital of the north-west"

During her first trip to South Australia with Harold Darwin, Mavis Thorpe Clark visited Kingoonya, a shrinking hamlet in the middle of the South Australian desert, and the scene of a court hearing in her book, The Min-Min. She describes Kingoonya in her biography:

"In 1960 Kingoonya was still a railways-servicing siding for the East-West Transcontinental Railway. It was designated the capital of the north-west ... The majority of the population, 40-50 adults, 25 children, lived in the 14 railway houses fronting the line, their back fences forming one side of the town square. On the opposite side of the wide flat square were the hotel, the store, a hall which also served as a church about three times a year, the police station and the teacher's residence. The other two sides of the square were not as sharply defined, one giving front to the school and the other a garage-cum-cafe with a motley overflow of sheds. In the very middle of the square was a concrete cricket pitch...

As road-travellers from the south-east, our welcome to Kingoonya was through a half-mile avenue of bottle dump."

- Trust the Dream (1999) pages 103-104.

Kingoonya, as described in The Min-Min:

"The town of Kingoonya was not new to (Sylvie and Reg). They passed through it when they went up or down the (train) line, or when they went to such events as the Kingoonya Races. The town consisted of fourteen fettler's cottages, a school, a teacher's residence, hotel, store, hall and police-station. The buildings, forming a square, sat on earth that was flat, bare and red. In the centre of the two-chain wide square was a concrete cricket pitch. Vehicles either respected it and drove around it, or didn't respect it and drove over it. An incinerator, fashioned from a forty-four-gallon drum, stood in the open space, and those who wanted could burn their rubbish in it.

Vehicles approaching Kingoonya from any direction saw, from a distance, that the town was ringed with a shimmer of light. This proved to be a ring of the glass of broken bottles."

- The Min-Min (1966) pages 173-174.

See also The Min-Min

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Building, petrol pump, telegraph poles.

Photograph of the Kingoonya General Store, 1963.

Illustration of the photo above.

Illustration of the Kingoonya General Store from The Min-Min, 1966.

Kingoonya township.

Kingoonya, home to 40-50 adults and 25 children, 1960.

Railway line with houses in the background.

Kingoonya's three remaining railway houses, 1963.