The woolshed is located about 116km north of Innamincka in South Australia, and 155km south-east of Birdsville in Queensland, and is along the Cordillo Downs Road.
Name: Cordillo Downs Woolshed
Where: Cordillo Downs Road, South Australia
Facilities: there are no facilities for travellers at the woolshed, 4WD accessible only
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Cordillo Downs, or Cardilla as it was originally known, was first taken up in 1875 by John Frazer. It was then acquired by the the Beltana Pastoral Company in 1883. At this time it was stocked with 10,000 sheep, nearly 600 cattle, 28 horses and one camel. The woolshed was built in 1883 and provided stands for 120 blade shearers. A meat house, managers house, kitchen and blacksmith shop were also built to support the station. In 1903 Cordillo Downs amalgamated with nearby Cadelga and Haddon Downs, and by 1905 was running 85,000 sheep. Drought and depression hit the area hard, with the station completely closing down from 1931-1936. Once conditions started to improve, unsustainable sheep losses due to dingo attack resulted in the station turning to running cattle in 1942.
Over the years Cordillo Downs has endured many dry seasons which has reduced stock numbers, and survived isolation, drought and flood.
In 1981 Cordillo Downs was sold to the Brookman Holdings Pty Ltd for $1.2 million. Bill Brook, who bought the property, worked as a ringer on the station back in 1918.
Today, Cordillo Downs is an organic property stocking about 7000 head of poll Hereford cattle.
The Cordillo Downs woolshed
Work on the woolshed began in 1883. The woolshed, which provides stands for 120 blade shearers, was built from sandstone rubble and is buttressed in order to support the large vaulted iron roof. The structure is self supporting, dispensing with the need for wooden internal frames. As all supplies had to be bought up the Strzelecki Track by camel teams, sometimes taking months to travel the 600km route from the Farina railhead, building material was largely sourced from the local surroundings.
The woolshed is now listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.
Visiting Cordillo Downs woolshed
The owners of the station have opened up the woolshed for the public to visit and learn about the history of the region. Visitors are permitted to walk around the woolshed, and interpretive panels have been erected with information about the wool industry at Cordillo Downs.
It should be noted however that the woolshed is immediately next to the station homestead. The homestead and other buildings on the station are not open to the public.
There are no facilities for travellers at Cordillo Downs Woolshed. Overnight camping is permitted at Cadelga Outstation Ruins, just north of the woolshed.
Further information about the history of the woolshed can be found here.
The Cordillo Downs woolshed is a continued reminder of the significance of the area to the South Australian wool industry and an absolute amazing sight to take in.