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Cadelga Outstation Ruins, SA – Review

Name: Cadelga Outstation Ruins

Where: Between Innamincka and Birdsville, via the Cordillo Downs track

Price: Free

Facilities: suitable for self-contained 4WD vehicles only as there are no facilities provided, no mobile reception (either Telstra or Optus) available

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Cadelga Ruins

📍 Link to Google maps

Along the gibber plains of the Cordillo Downs track you will find the old Cadelga Outstation Ruins, roughly 90 km north of the historic Cordillo Downs Woolshed and 10 km south of the Queensland/South Australia border.

History of Cadelga

Built from stone and timber, the ruins sit on the northern side of the Cadelga (Uloonanera) Waterhole.

Originally known as Cadelgo Downs, the holding was taken up in 1877 by Robert Frew of Cunnamulla.  In 1903, Cadelgo Downs was taken over by Cordillo Downs and due to drought and depression, the station was completely abandoned between 1931 and 1936.  By 1950 the Cadelga Outstation was no longer required and fell into disrepair.

Visiting Cadelga Outstation Ruins

We visited the Cadelga Ruins on our way from Innamincka to Birdsville.  We arrived just before dusk so didn’t have much time to look around, however there was plenty of space for campers to set up for the night. With approximately 10 other caravans and campers there, it certainly didn’t feel like we were crowded in at all.  Other campers said that in the ‘off-season’ there is often no other overnight campers.

So after setting up, and with a few drinks in hand, we enjoyed what was a spectacular sunset.

The morning provided the opportunity to explore the ruins further.  Two stone and timber buildings formed the main house and separate kitchen building, with the remains of two stone sheds to the north and west of the main building.

A pastoral plan of 1898 described the outstation as comprising of the homestead, separate kitchen, shed, harness room, meathouse, garden and stock-yard.  The yard also has a relics of an old car and machinery (possibly a pump of some sort).

Cadelga Ruins


Rusted car at Cadelga Ruins

It is somewhat eerie to be walking among history, in the ruins of what was once a great homestead that housed countless families. Imagining how pastoralists of the past survived the remoteness of the location and the unforgiving harsh climate makes us truly appreciative of our modern-day conveniences.

Facilities at Cadelga Outstation Ruins

There are no facilities available to campers at Cadelga Ruins. All campers need to be self-sufficient, and take all rubbish with you. Campfires are allowed.

Note that there is no mobile phone reception at this location.

Visitors should also be aware that there is a great deal of wire and metal strewn around the ground, particularly closer to the ruins, so drive in with caution. One of the people we were travelling with sustained a flat tyre on their caravan due to wire on the ground.

Further information

Not much information can be found about the Cadelga Outstation, particularly about when it was actively being used.

However, the National Library of Australia has a couple of photographs of ruins from the Reverend Andrew Leslie McKay collection from 1972 that may be of interest.

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