Middleback Station – End of an era

By Andrew

After more than five years of uncertainty and negotiations the Federal Government (Department of Defence)is compulsorily acquiring four of the working stations around Whyalla for the Army. These lands will be added to the Cultana Training Area, primarily for training with their new tanks.

The Nicolson family have been given six months to pack up and leave, after five generations of their family have worked these lands since 1905. The last shear was held on Middleback Station in March, the property is being destocked and the pack up is happening.

Middleback Station is only 20kms from Whyalla and with a group of others we went, with permission, to try and capture some final shots of the property and history.

The following are some of my favourites and I hope they do the property justice.

The view from the dam.


Last fleece at Middleback






Shearers’ quarters.




The holding yards.




The Bedford.





  1. Mick says:

    As usual, stunning photos Andrew, if I could pass a critique on the blog, the text would be easier to read if it was darker or change of background colour.

  2. Trevor Scroop says:

    A shameful turn of events.
    Great photos and I hope you have got many more pictures to show before they start blowing everything up.

  3. Steve Hinder says:

    Thank you for the memories Andrew, great shots mate…
    As a young fella of 19 yrs old, i spent 4 years back and forth to middleback Station, this was from 1974. I use to go out with the station hands (Ron & Lillian Hocking) Lil’s Daughter. Use to have great times there…Sad to see how it has ended up..

  4. beverley dunham says:

    Hi Mr Nicolson

    The photos are lovely. Thank you to the Nicolson family for the happy memories of Youth Camps (Methodist Church – Rev Harrison’s era) at the shearers quarters.

    My husband and I were able to attend the auction sale which gave us a great opportunity to revisit one of our favourite places.

    Growing up in Whyalla gave me wonderful memories of camps, rambling around looking for mushrooms, rabbiting with my parents,
    collecting wood and chop picnics. Thank you for tolerating all our visits over the years.

    It is certainly a sad time, the end of an era, lost forever. We wish you all the best in your new endeavours wherever they may be.


    Bev Dunham (nee George)

  5. Rod Kison says:

    Years ago I used to go to Katunga Station I knew quite a few people I used to dip sheep, used a push bike to muster sheep, etc. I also remember the wire cage which somebody killed it then they put heaps of salt to keep it.
    Now there was a girl that used to come back to Katanga Station, she and me went for a horse ride, but no saddles, no bridles, not too bad, but one horse bolted and I hit my head. Now I have never seen her again? I don’t know why?
    Maybe somebody can let me know whom the girl is, I would like to see her again.Her parents were managing the Katanga Station.