Whyalla // was founded as "Hummocks Hill", and was known by that name until 1916. It is the fifth most populous city in the Australian state of South Australia after Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Gawler and Mount Barker. As at June 2018, Whyalla had an urban population of 21,742, having declined at an average annual rate of -0.75% year-on-year over the preceding five years. It is a seaport located on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula and is known as the "Steel City" due to its integrated steelworks and shipbuilding heritage. The port of Whyalla has been exporting iron ore since 1903.
The city consists of an urban area bounded to the north by the railway to the mining town of Iron Knob, to the east by Spencer Gulf and to the south by the Lincoln Highway. The urban area consists of the following suburbs laid from east to west extending from a natural hill known as Hummock Hill – Whyalla, Whyalla Playford, Whyalla Norrie, Whyalla Stuart and Whyalla Jenkins. A port facility, a railyard serving the railway line to Iron Knob and an industrial complex are located to the immediate north of Hummock Hill. Whyalla Barson and the Whyalla Conservation Park are located about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the city.
The origin of the name Whyalla is disputed. In 1916 it was referred to as the "native" name, having been ascribed during a survey conducted a few years beforehand. During the 1940s, Mr Tindale, the ethnologist at the South Australian Museum believed that the name could have been derived from aboriginal words "Wajala" meaning "west" in a language common to Port Pirie, or "Waiala" meaning "I don't know" in a language more common to Port Augusta. In 1945, BHP advised that the name had been taken from nearby Mount Whyalla, which lies north-west of Whyalla, roughly midway between the town and Iron Knob. Other meanings ascribed to the word Whyalla include "dingo", "by the water" and "a place of water". Another hypothesis is that the name was brought by European settlers and was derived from a place called Whyalla in Durham, England.
A mariner named William Morgan Burgoyne purportedly recommended the site for the establishment of a port on False Bay to Harry Morgan of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company. Burgoyne had spent several weeks there on a trip out from Port Augusta hunting kangaroo with his brother and another man called Alf Rowarth. At that time there was no settlement between Middleback Station and the Point Lowly lighthouse and kangaroos were plentiful there.
Burgoyne recalled that the tug Florrie ferried a crew there a week later and pegged out the settlement first known as Hummocky. It was officially founded as Hummock's Hill in 1901 by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) as the end of a tramway bringing iron ore from Iron Knob in the Middleback Range to sea. Its first shipment was transported across Spencer Gulf to Port Pirie where it was used in lead smelters as a flux. A jetty was built to transfer the ore and the first shipment was sent in 1903. The early settlement consisted of small cottages and tents clustered around the base of the hill. The Post Office opened in 1901 as Hummock's Hill.
In 1905 the town's first school opened. It was originally called Hummock Hill School, and was subsequently renamed as Whyalla Primary School and Whyalla Higher Primary School. The school's current name is Whyalla Town Primary School.
The arid environment and lack of natural fresh water resources made it necessary to import water in barges from Port Pirie.
The Post Office was renamed Whyalla on 1 November 1919, and on 16 April 1920 the town was officially proclaimed with its new name. The ore conveyor on the jetty was improved, and the shipping of ore to the newly built Newcastle, New South Wales steelworks commenced. The town grew slowly prior to the development of steelmaking and shipbuilding facilities in the late 1930s.
The BHP Indenture Act was proclaimed in 1937 and provided the impetus for the construction of a blast furnace and harbour. In 1939 the blast furnace and harbour began to be constructed and a commitment for a water supply pipeline from the Murray River was made. A shipyard was built to provide ships for the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. The population began to rise rapidly and many new facilities, including a hospital and abattoirs, were built.
In 1941 the first ship from the new shipyard, HMAS Whyalla, was launched and the blast furnace became operational. By 1943 the population was more than 5,000. On 31 March 1943, the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline became operational. In 1945 the city came under combined company and public administration and the shipyard began producing commercial ships. In 1948, displaced persons began arriving from Europe increasing the cultural diversity of Whyalla.
In 1958 the Company decided to build an integrated steelworks at Whyalla and it was completed in 1965. In the following year, salt harvesting began and coke ovens were built. The population grew extremely rapidly, and the South Australian Housing Trust was building 500 houses each year to cope with the demand. Plans for a city of 100,000 were produced by the Department of Lands. A second water supply pipeline from Morgan was built to cope with the demand.
In 1970 the city adopted full local government status. Fierce competition from Japanese ship builders resulted in the closing of the shipyards in 1978, which were at the time the largest in Australia. From a peak population of 33,000 in 1976 the population dropped rapidly. A decline in the BHP iron and steel industry since 1981 also impacted employment.
The BHP long products division was divested in 2000 to form OneSteel which is the sole producer of rail and steel sleepers in Australia. On 2 July 2012, OneSteel formally changed its name to Arrium.
From 2004 northern South Australia enjoyed a mineral exploration boom and Whyalla found itself well placed to benefit from new ventures, being situated on the edge of the Gawler Craton. The city experienced an economic upturn with the population slowly increasing and the unemployment rate falling to a more typical level.
Whyalla has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Broadbent Terrace: Whyalla High School
- 13 Forsyth Street: 
- 5 Forsyth Street: 
- Gay Street: 
- 3 Whitehead Street: 
Since its beginnings as Hummock Hill, the town has served as a port for the shipment of iron ore from deposits along the Middleback Range.
The port's first conveyor belt loading system was installed in 1915, and was capable of loading 1,000 tonnes of ore per hour. In 1943, it took 5½ to 6 hours to load a single 5,000-ton freighter.
In 2007, new transshipment handling processes were implemented, which allowed Arrium (formerly Onesteel) to load iron ore onto larger capesize bulk carrier vessels in deeper water. The transshipment process involves the filling of barges with ore which is then transferred into the receiving vessels at one of three transshipment anchorages.
In October 2015 Arrium loaded its largest capesize cargo via transshipment. The FPMCB Nature was loaded with approximately 205,698 wet metric tonnes (wmt) of iron ore – significantly more than the average load of about 170,000 wmt.
The port's inner harbor receives shipments of coal which is used to produce coke for the Whyalla steelworks and exports smaller cargoes of finished steel products.
|Climate data for Whyalla Airport, Mullaquana|
|Record high °C (°F)||49.4
|Average high °C (°F)||30.2
|Average low °C (°F)||17.7
|Record low °C (°F)||5.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||17.5
|Average precipitation days||3.2||3.2||4.0||4.9||8.6||10.8||10.6||9.9||7.6||6.5||4.6||4.8||78.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||38||40||40||44||49||54||53||48||44||41||39||41||44|
According to the 2016 census of Population, there were 21,751 people in Whyalla.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.7% of the population.
- 73.8% of people were born in Australia. The nextmost common countries of birth were England 7.2%, Scotland 2.4%, Philippines 1.4%, South Africa 0.8% and Germany 0.7%.
- 87.0% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Afrikaans 0.7%, Tagalog 0.6%, Greek 0.5%, Italian 0.5% and Filipino 0.5%.
- The most common responses for religion were No Religion 38.7%, Catholic 19.5%, Anglican 10.5%.
- Of the employed people in Whyalla, 12.4% worked in Iron Smelting and Steel Manufacturing. Other major industries of employment included Iron Ore Mining 7.3%, Hospitals 4.2%, Supermarket and Grocery Stores 3.8% and Primary Education 3.4%.
- There were 9,452 people who reported being in the labour force in the week before Census night. Of these 52.5% were employed full-time, 29.5% were employed part-time and 12.5% were unemployed.
- The median weekly household income is $989.
The Lincoln Highway passes directly through Whyalla. The city is served by a coach bus service operated by Stateliner which operates four services to and from Adelaide (via Port Augusta) each week day (less on weekends) and one service each way to Port Lincoln. There are however occasional exceptions to the week day route due to lack of demand to travel through Whyalla.
The BHP Whyalla Tramway was built to Iron Knob to supply iron ore originally used as flux when smelting copper ore. This ore became the basis of the steelworks. As the Iron Knob deposits were worked out, the railway was diverted to other sources of ore at , , and Iron Baron.
To enable interchange between the BHP's other steelworks in Newcastle and Port Kembla of specialised rollingstock, the railway system within the Whyalla steelworks was converted to standard gauge in the 1960s.
Although the steelworks produced railway rail, for several decades there was no railway connection to the mainland system. Finally in 1972, the standard gauge Whyalla line to Port Augusta was completed and Whyalla railway station opened. The station was served daily from Adelaide till 1975, then again from 1986 to 1990 by the Iron Triangle Limited. The station was demolished in 2012.
Some iron ore is exported from Whyalla. In 2007, steps were being taken to export iron ore mined at Peculiar Knob near Coober Pedy, 600 km away. To meet this increased demand, a balloon loop was installed in 2012 at the port for both gauges.
Whyalla Airport is 4 nautical miles (7.4 km; 4.6 mi) southwest of the city. It is served by Regional Express flying into Whyalla from Adelaide a number of times a day, and QantasLink which operates twice daily services from Adelaide.
There is a small boat marina (populated by a number of dolphins), a sailing club, and a boat ramp on the coastline below Hummock Hill, where there is a fish-cleaning station situated nearby. Iron ore is exported through an off-shore facility.
Whyalla is served by several radio and TV stations. Radio stations include FM (Local community station), (Commercial station based in Port Augusta), and 5AU/5CS (Commercial station based in Port Pirie). The local TV station is Southern Cross TV.
The local newspaper, The Whyalla News, was first published on 5 April 1940, and is currently owned by Fairfax Media. Historically, another short-lived monthly newspaper called the Whyalla Times (January - October 1960) was also printed for the town by E.J. McAllister and Co., from their premises in Blythe Street, Adelaide. Another publication called Scope (May 1973–November 1982) was also printed in the town. According to the State Library, "Scope was a monthly regional magazine in newspaper format published by the Willson family of the Whyalla News. It was issued as an insert to six local newspapers: the Recorder (Port Pirie), Transcontinental (Port Augusta), Eyre Peninsula Tribune (Cleve), Port Lincoln Times, West Coast Sentinel (Streaky Bay) and Northern Argus (Clare)."
The industrial and cultural history of Whyalla is accessible to tourists via several museums and public tours.
Visitors can view the ex-HMAS Whyalla from the Lincoln Highway and take a guided tour of it via the Whyalla Maritime Museum. The ship is a retired World War II-era corvette and was the first ship built in the city of Whyalla during the war. It was relocated to the highway in 1987. The Whyalla Maritime Museum features various displays commemorating the town's ship building and mining history, including miniature replicas of various ships and a model railway diorama. Further displays introduce visitors to the region's natural and indigenous cultural histories.
Tours of the Whyalla steelworks allow visitors to view the production of long products at the working plant. Tours departing from the Whyalla Visitors Centre.
The town's development and social history is presented at the volunteer-run Mount Laura Homestead National Trust Museum, which is located near the Westlands shopping centre.
In the late 1990s the annual migration of the Australian Giant Cuttlefish Sepia apama to shallow, inshore rocky reef areas in Spencer Gulf north of Whyalla became recognized by divers and marine scientists. Divers and snorkellers can see the aggregation of animals from May through August each year, in water one to six metres deep. The most popular places to view the aggregation are Black Point, Stony Point and Point Lowly. Car parking and boardwalks or stairs to the waters edge are present at each location, making access easy.
Dolphins frequent the Whyalla marina, but concerns have been raised that their confidence around humans may increase their vulnerability.
The Whyalla Conservation Park provides an example of the natural semi-arid environment accessible via walking trails. A gentle climb to the top of Wild Dog Hill provides a view of the surrounding landscape and information on native vegetation via a series of interpretive signs.
Boat launching facilities exist at Whyalla and Point Lowly North marinas. The Whyalla Marina also has a jetty which is illuminated at night for the convenience of fishers.
Whyalla is home to an annual Snapper Fishing Competition, held over the Easter long weekend. People who have not fished commercially during the prior 12 months are invited to compete. Prizes are awarded bases on individual fish weights. Tagging also takes place at this time. Additional categories exist for other fished species.
State and Federal
|2006 State Election|
|2007 Federal Election|
Whyalla is part of the state electoral district of Giles, which is presently held by Labor MP Eddie Hughes. Giles was previously held by Labor MP Lyn Breuer from 1997 until her retirement in 2014. In federal politics, the city is part of the division of Grey, and has been represented by Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey since 2007. Grey is held with a margin of 8.86% and is considered safe-liberal. The results shown are from the largest polling station in Whyalla Norrie – which is located at Nicolson Avenue Primary School.
Primary schools in Whyalla include Whyalla Town Primary School, Fisk Street Primary School, Long Street Primary School, Hincks Avenue Primary School, Memorial Oval Primary School, Whyalla Stuart Campus, Nicolson Avenue Primary School, Sunrise Christian School, St Teresa's and Our Lady Help of Christians (both Samaritan College).
Secondary Education is provided by Whyalla High School, Stuart High School, Samaritan College, Edward John Eyre High School and Saint John's College, Whyalla. Saint John's College is one of the three schools that make up Samaritan College.
On 1 November 2017 a new high school was announced by DECD for Whyalla which will combine Edward John Eyre, Stuart High and Whyalla High Schools into a new purpose built facility located between UniSA and TAFE SA Campuses.
Tertiary education is provided by the Spencer Institute of TAFE, and the Whyalla Campus of the University of South Australia. UniSA Whyalla's academic programs include business, social work, nursing and research opportunities in rural health and community development.
The D'Faces of Youth Arts community youth arts organisation has run workshops and activities for young people aged 7 to 27 in theatre, dance, visual arts and music since 1994.
The Whyalla Recording Scholarship is awarded annually for Whyalla residents aged from 12 to 21. The Inaugural (2017) Winner was seventeen year old Breeze Millard from Whyalla. The Second (2018) Whyalla Recording Scholarship was launched on 23 April 2018 with 2 Winners (17 year old Liberty Tuohy from Port Neill and 19 year old Shakira Fauser from Whyalla) and 1 Runner-Up (15 year old Jaylee Daniels from Whyalla) being announced on 17 September 2018. On 24 February 2019 Jaylee Daniels' Debut Single "Papa's Song" reached Number 7, and Shakira Lea's "I Miss You" Number 18 on the iTunes Australia Country Chart 
The Whyalla Football League is an Australian rules football competition supporting half-a-dozen clubs. In 1998, Bennett Oval hosted an NRL match between the Adelaide Rams and Illawarra Steelers. The Steelers won 39–4.
Notable people from Whyalla
- Ben Pengelley - Cricketer
- Robert Bajic – soccer player
- Lachlan Barr - Soccer Player with Bradford City A.F.C.
- Edwina Bartholomew – journalist and television presenter
- Max Brown – politician
- Brett Burton – former AFL player with the Adelaide Crows
- Alan Didak - AFL player with the Collingwood Football Club.
- Karyne Di Marco – hammer thrower
- Alistair Edwards – Australian soccer player
- Connie Frazer – poet, feminist, and writer
- Gary Gray – Special Minister of State in the Gillard government
- Levi Greenwood – (AFL) player with the Collingwood Football Club
- Alison Hams – musician and recording artist; 2015 Whyalla Australia Day Citizen Of The Year.
- -- Mathematics Professor and Author
- Graeme Jose – Australian Olympic cyclist
- Alessandro Parisi – Guinness World Record Holder: "Longest Pinball Marathon". Record (28 hrs) set in January 2007 (inaugural).
- Rex Patrick – South Australian senator
- Ian Rawlings – television actor
- Barrie Robran 3 time South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Magarey Medal winner (1968, 1970, 1973) with North Adelaide Football Club. First South Australian to be granted "Legend" status in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
- Vern Schuppan – former Formula One driver and 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans winner (Schuppan was born in Booleroo Centre, but moved to Whyalla as an infant)
- Robert Shirley – AFL player with the Adelaide Crows
- Peter Stanley – historian
- Carl Veart – International soccer player. Played 18 games for the Socceroos.
- Len Vivian - pistol shooter: represented Australia 3 times including 1974 Commonwealth Games; National Champion 1973,1975,1977; State team member 14 consecutive years.
- Darryl Wakelin – AFL footballer
- Isaac Weetra – AFL player with the Melbourne Football Club
- Sean Williams – science fiction author
- Douglas Wood - engineer and Iraq war hostage
- Bianca Woolford - para-cyclist
- - South Australian Thong Throwing Champion (Born 1979)
- Stephen Yarwood – Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide 2009–2014.
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Media related to Whyalla, South Australia at Wikimedia Commons