Arkaroola's History

Explorer E.J. Eyre passes west to Mt. Hopeless.
1856 B.H Babbage explores for Gold; discovers copper.
1857 G.W Goyder & J.M Painter commence land survey.
1857 First pastoral selection made in Wheal Turn by J. Taylor, W.T. Gill.
1860 Yudnamutana copper mining field discovered.
1863-64 'The Great Drought' - properties & mines abandoned widely.
1876 Most local pastoral leases revert to the crown.
1903 W.B.Greenwood discovers rubies & sapphires near Mt. Pitt.
1910 Yudnamutana smelters constructed - but never fired!
1923 W.B.Greenwood discovers Mt. Painter uranium fields - it closes in 1924.
1924 Rich Congo uranium/radium fields discovered - radium prices tumble.
1935 Arkaroola area fenced in to contain animals and pests.
1937 Property awarded to "Smiler" & Bentley Greenwood for price of eradicating vermin - sheep introduced.
1944 First road constructed into Mt. Painter uranium area by the SA Mines Dept.
1945 Last wild camels, donkeys & dingoes eradicated on Arkaroola.
1967 Sprigg Family purchased Arkaroola for wildlife preservations and conservation of the environment.
1968 Arkaroola Village established - 132 miles of roads created. The Main Building, Service Station, Swimming Pool, Caravan Park, Greenwood Lodge and Thomas Wing were built (Thomas Wing was first accommodation).
1969 At Sprigg family request property gazetted as a private wildlife sanctuary under fauna conservation act of 1964-65.
1970 Sheep withdrawn with approval of Pastoral Board.
1970 Ridgetop track completed by exoil N.L.; later taken over and maintained by Arkaroola. New Arkaroola air field established.
1972 Official Sanctuary & Reserve status withdrawn by S.A. government without explanation.
1971-74 Unprecedented wet years and pgraded the 'government' entrance road.
1980 77 sq km over Arkaroola Gorge (as Aboriginal & wallaby preserve) & Mawson Valley (for Geological monuments) set aside & nominated by the Sprigg family for the Register of National Estate as defined by the Australian Heritage act 1975.
1981 Selected geological rock monuments accepted on to the Register of the Geological Society of Australia. (Includes Mt. Painter, the Armchair, Paralana Hot Springs, the Pinnacles, Sitting Bull, etc.)
1980-81 Extensive bushfires on Mawson Plateau by lighting strikes.
1982 Elva Dam with 20 megalitre capacity completed
1984 New "last chance" bore provides major new supply of improved water (tested at 50 kilolitres/hour).
1986-87 Main complex at village extended and reconstructed in local Quartzite feature walls with large tinted picture windows. Entire building airconditioned.
1987 December 1 - horrific hailstorm with cricket ball sized hail & hurricane winds stripped trees,killed birds and kangaroos, unroofed neighbouring station buildings and sheet eroded soils and grassland in a 2km wide swath west to east through Bolla Bollana to Lady Buxton and across neighbouring properties.
1988 Callitris Lodge with 10 luxury suites completed in early March bringing the total number of Motel buildings at Arkaroola Village to three lodges. Landscaping and tree planting continues in this area and at the caravan park. Also upgrading of all tracks by contract bulldozer. Arkaroola Scientific Research Facility created at the Station Shearer's Quarters.
1996 Official Sanctuary status re-instated after much negotiation.
1990-99 Continued development, landscaping and upgrading of roads.
1999 Renovations start on the Main Building and Mawson Units - reception, dining and all storage facilities moved to Ningana Interpretive Centre.
2000 Renovations to Main Building and Mawson Units completed and re-opened.

All-weather road from Copley to Arkaroola completed.

2004 Arkaroola's Ridgetop Tour, Waterholes Tour and Astronomy Tours (2) awarded the coveted Advanced Ecotourism accreditation, at this time, the only Tourist Resort in the Flinders Ranges to achieve this.














8 new tours: Bats & Boobooks • Weetbix & Wallabies • Written in the Rocks • The Village Walk • Echo Camp Backtrack Self-drive Tour • Scenic Flights 1 through 3, added to Advanced Ecotourism accreditation - total now 12 such tours.  Winners of SA Tourism Awards 2005 for Major Tourist Attraction and Ecotourism.

Winner of Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism, and Bronze Medal in Major Tourist Attraction at 2006 SA Tourism Awards.

Winner of Sustainable Tourism, Major Tourist Attraction, and Ecotourism, and Bronze Award for Festivals and Events with Arkaroola's Star Party DownUnder.  Entry into Hall of Fame for Ecotourism at 2007 SA Tourism Awards.

Grey water now recovered from all accommodation blocks and caravan park abultions and used for all local Village native plant species watering


After a long battle, Arkaroola received full legislative protection against all mining with the passage of the Arkaroola Protection Act.


Reg Sprigg

Reg Sprigg

Geologist, Biologist, Oceanographer, Conservationist and man of vision. Founder of Arkaroola - Mt. Painter Wildlife Sanctuary and Tourist Resort 28 years ago. Reg died in Scotland but his ashes were scattered over the crest of Mt. Painter, his favourite mountain, on the 29th December 1994.

In 1946 at Ediacara, he made the world's first discovery of the earliest living animal fossils (630 million years old). Most will remember Reg as a brilliant scientist, warm and fun loving.

Thirty years ahead of his time, he practised eco-tourism long before the word was invented. He was an inspiring leader of his profession and that of the petroleum industry. He lives on in the crystals of Mt. Gee, in the dimples of the Quandong seeds, in the shadowy niches amongst the woven branches of last year's eagles nest, in the open palm of a brittle native Callitris Pine cone and the crumbling charcoal fabric of an enduring yacca. An inspiration to all, he is a part of Arkaroola as Arkaroola is a part of him. His spirit is at peace. He is free where he belongs with a lone eagle as his guardian.

He gave generously. He expected nothing in return we shall miss him forever.

Griselda, Margaret, and Douglas Sprigg. January 1995.