Day 272 – 12/2/2020 on a Midlife Adventure.
It was probably 20 years ago that I was last here and that was focused on working so this time I had the time to get to know more about the town.
Whyalla is South Australia’s mining capital and a few years ago the steelworks looked like it was going to close which would have devastated the town of Whyalla. However a owner was found and the town is firing again, so today I have the opportunity to look at both the Steelworks and some of the history in the ship building that built the town.
So with the bus loaded we head off to view the town.
The steelworks starts with Iron Ore that is both used at the steelworks and shipped out to other markets.
As the port is too shallow for the ships to land they stay out about 2km out to sea and the ore is taken out on barges.
The mine produces these Iron Ore pellets that helps keep the dust levels down that used to cover most of the town in a red dust.
The trains drop off at the pellet plant where they are both stored and moved to the steelworks where we head to now.
Following the production we view the historic ship building port long since dismantled.
The tour guide provides some pictures of what it used to look like in its hay day.
Making our way to the smelter where the pellets are converted to iron we see the trains that transport the very hot material.
In the bottom middle of the picture you can see them pouring the hot product.
These trains transport the hot material around the plant.
We then move to the oven where the product combined with all other bits and pieces is baked and then transported to a cooling plant.
Then through some magic formula they produce solid steel bars.
Some of these are shipped off by rail to Newcastle to be turned into steel wire and sheets, whilst some remains here to be turned into beams and rails.
The plant here is the only plant in Australia to produce rail tracks. So with the tour completed we head back to the information centre knowing much more about how steel is made.
Located at the information Centre about 2km from the sea is this big boat the HMAS Whyalla. This ship was the first built at the ship building yard.
About 40 years later it was returned to Whyalla where a major engineering feat brought it back to land at the home of the information centre.
We head on board to commence a tour which the ship is partially under restoration so not all areas are accessible but the tour is still pretty informative.
We get to see the galley and sleeping quarters of the officers and the toilet facilities… not a lot of privacy here.
So with the tour complete I head into the attached Maritime Museum where there is a 11min video on how they brought the ship back to land.
Half of the museum covers the various ships built locally.
The other half is much more fun a model train exhibit.
Moving off from the museum I head down to the waterfront where there are some local friendly dolphins that are known to come and say hello at the boat ramp.
They are building the new jetty in the background which you can see from the lookout.
I’m sure it will be great when it is finished.
Its a short but fun trip to Whyalla and after a couple of very windy nights I’ll be heading on tomorrow as I continue this Midlife Adventure.