A birthplace of the Australian Steel Industry
Iron Knob, just off the Eyre Highway, is synonymous with the early development of BHP (now OneSteel) and the birth of the Australian steel industry. It was here in 1894 that the first iron ore deposit was discovered and the town consequently developed between the sister quarries of Iron Knob and Iron Monarch. These two quarries supplied ore for the Whyalla Steelworks, 52 kilometres away, and over the years other mines (Iron Baron, Iron Prince and Iron Queen) opened in the Middleback Ranges to meet demand.
Iron is currently being mined from Iron Duke, which opened in 1990 about 50 kilometres south of Whyalla. After nearly 100 years, mining at Iron Knob ended in June 1998 when the last ore was taken from the Iron Monarch open cut pit. Facilities in Iron Knob include a post office with limited provisions, internet access and public toilets. There is a spacious camping area adjacent to the post office (entry by donation).
Things To Do
Part of the Iron Knob Community Tourist Centre, the museum displays old mining equipment, mineral specimens and interpretive photographs. There is also a theatre with an informative video showing the mining and steelmaking process.
Opening hours vary, so please call ahead - (08) 8646 2129.
Mine Lookout Tours
Look down into an open cut mine on this interesting tour. Operating from the Iron Knob Community Tourist Centre, tours run on weekdays between 10am and 2.30pm. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide in their vehicle and enclosed footwear is essential. Book at the Iron Knob Community Tourist Centre 08 8646 2129.