Festival StateSouth Australia, a state rich in minerals (iron, copper, uranium, gold, silver, opals, coal, oil, natural gas), occupies a central position in the southern half of the continent. In the arid west of the state are the vast expanses of the Victoria Desert and the Nullarbor Plain; in the dry northwest are the Musgrove Ranges; to the northeast are the Simpson Desert, the Sturt Stony Desert and the Strzelecki Desert, with numerous salt lakes; and to the southeast are the beautiful Flinders and Mount Lofty Ranges.
Half way along the south coast of Australia the Eyre Peninsula projects like a broad triangular spur into the Southern Ocean, separating the Great Australian Bight to the west from Spencer Gulf to the east. At the corners of the triangle are Ceduna in the west, Port Lincoln in the south and Whyalla and Port Augusta in the east. The northern boundary of the peninsula is formed by the Gawler Ranges in the arid north. The east coast, on Spencer Gulf, has safe and sheltered beaches and good fishing waters. The peninsula is named after the explorer John Edward Eyre, who in 1840-1, starting from Adelaide, surveyed the coastal regions on the Great Australian Bight. After traveling north as far as the huge salt lake which bears his name he turned west and south to cross the Nullarbor Plain close to the coast and reach Albany in Western Australia.In the interior of the Eyre Peninsula the Koppio hills in the south give way further north to great flat expanses of farming land, and in the thinly inhabited far north the horizon is bounded by the Gawler Ranges. To the west is the desolate, treeless Nullarbor Plain, ending on the coast in cliffs of dangerously friable sandstone. Between June and October whales can be seen passing along the coast close to the land.
The Clare Valley features a number of towns and attractions.
From 1845 to 1877 copper mining brought prosperity to the area round Burra (pop. 1200), which has preserved evidence of its past in the form of miners' cottages, mine buildings and chimneys. Burra is now the center of a sheep-farming area.The town features a courthouse, police lockup and Bon Accord Mine buildings (museum).
Clare (pop. 2600) is the chief town of the Clare Valley. Documents show that there was a settlement here, named after County Clare in Ireland, as early as 1832.The mid-19th C courthouse is now a museum of local history. The Sevenhill Cellars, still run by priests, can be visited.
Mintaro is classified as a Heritage Town. In the past a staging post for the transport of copper from Burra to Port Wakefield, it declined after the construction of the railroad. Features of particular interest are Robinson's Cottage, a settler's house, and Martindale Hall, a neoclassical mansion that is now a hotel.