The rural city of Georgetown is approximately 200 kilometres North of Adelaide in South Australia. Whilst it is relatively close to Adelaide it is most definitely in rural Australia.
Our arrival was around lunchtime, and as it was warm for May we decided to stop, have a rest and check out the place.
An overhead view of Georgetown, clearly shows that the township is surrounded by farming properties.
Georgetown is in the heart of farming land, the town is well maintained considering that we are in the middle of a serious drought, and the number of people living on farms has reduced considerably over the years as large corporations buy out smaller farming acreages.
We took a number of pictures of the township, each of which gives a clear picture of the struggle in areas such as this in Australia.
This area has been dry for many years, the result is usually shown in buildings by the earth shrinking, thereby causing cracks to form in buildings.
The General Store
As it was Saturday afternoon we didn’t expect that any store would be open, but we were lucky as the General Store, on the opposite corner to the Georgetown Hotel, had its doors open.
We did note that there were 30 solar panels on the roof of the General Store, a touch of the modern world, but also an indicator of the lack of money in the region.
In complete contrast, the sign reflects times when this area was more prosperous. The wording at the top of the sign states:
“World’s Record at Georgetown 1906”
and at the bottom:
” 3 Sunshine harvesters reaped 356 Bags (sewn) from Sunup to Sunset in a 21 Bushel Crop”
By way of explanation a Bushel is: A measure of capacity equal to 36.4 litres (8 Gallons or 64 US pints)
Inside the store
Not knowing what to expect we walked in to immediately be transported back to the 1970s and 1980s as the store was packed with goods from floor to ceiling. The floors were uneven, and the floorboards creaked and groaned as we wandered to the counter, to be greeted by a fellow as old as the building itself (it seemed).
We ordered a coffee and pie each, sat down at the only table when the old man came out with some cardboard to balance the table.
Naturally, we asked him about Georgetown, and whilst he was not all that forthcoming he did say that “back in the day” Georgetown was a busy place. He had owned this store for nearly 50 years and the building had not changed at all since those days!
He also told us that the stairway to the “cellar” which we saw at the entrance to the shop, was once upon a time just as packed with goods as the ground floor is now. It hasn’t been used for anything but storage for 20 years or so.
Whilst sitting there sipping our coffee’s, we noticed that the table on which the coffee maker was sitting was held level by phone books on one end, and a brick on the other end. We couldn’t see behind so we don’t know what it sat on at the back!
Back to Georgetown
It is clear that the people of Georgetown take pride in their little place as the footpath, roadside curbs and streets were all clean, and free of rubbish.
Equally, so, the ravages of time are evidenced by the buildings left vacant and some signs for the Heysen Trail which runs right through the township.
Dotted along the footpath are sign boards which detail the history of the township, they make interesting reading.
Everyone of us, as travellers, passing through this town should make the effort to support the locals by stopping in for a coffee and meal at the general store, or the pub next door. In fact, where possible we should all take the time to support every small town and community where we possibly can.