George Town was surveyed, on a grand scale in the midst of the rich lower Broughton plains in 1869, by Conrad Wornum and offered for sale on 15 September 1870. The town was laid out along the Adelaide pattern but with variations in lot sizes. There was the core surrounded by parklands and North, South, East and West Terraces. This whole area inturn was surrounded by small residential blocks and around those the much larger suburban area. It had the distinction of being the largest township surveyed in the north with a total area of 5,523 acres.

The land was owned by C.R. Fisher and several of the streets were named after his family. They were Fisher Street, Hurtle Street, James Street, Charles Street and William Street. As early as 1872 auctioneer Peter Rowland was there to sell whatever was going. In October he sold a mob of horses belonging to McColl, but they were not really suitable for the heavy conditions of the area and as a result did not fetch a good price.

Thomas Hynes
died at Georgetown on
7 August 1911 aged 93.

In 1873 the town was listed as a postal town but without money order facilities. A year later the Catholic Parish of George Town was founded by Father Pallhuber of Sevenhill, which included Gladstone and Laura. On 2 July 1874 Miss Hendry, daughter of one of the earliest residents, laid the foundation stone for the Baptist Chapel.

In 1876 the town had a telegraph station. When George Town was proclaimed a district in 1876, its first Council members were James D. Wiltshire, the town's chemist, George Inglis, Thomas Hynes, J.Murphy and W.Brinkworth with Inglis elected Chairman in April of that year. George Inglis would later become Chairman of the State Bank. More than 100 years later, in 1979, its name was officially changed to Georgetown.

In its early days, Georgetown was a major changing place for the mail route between Adelaide and Port Augusta. With the excellent seasons of the early 1870s with good rains there were superb crops. Sixteen or more bushels to the acre were common all over the mid north. There was soon a scarcity of labour and railtrucks to the south. Georgetown faced an intense competition for labour and tradesmen. By the mid 1870s the town had three retail stores, including one run by Patrick Martin Keville, two butchers, two blacksmiths, one baker and a hotel. Henry E. Comyn was the medical practitioner and Thomas Nibbs the local carter.

Unfortunately, Georgetown never went ahead and prospered like some of its neighbouring towns. As early as 1874 Patrick Keville looked for better opportunities when he bought a block of land in the newly proclaimed town of Wirrabara. When a bill was introduced in 1878 for a railway line from Gladstone to Georgetown it was soundly defeated as the town was only eleven kilometres from a line and not at least fifteen, which was a sort of prerequisite at that time.

Georgetown Map

During 1878 one local factory employed thirty-five people and produced hundreds of ploughs and numerous harrows, reapers and scarifiers for the farmers. During the 1880s when everyone who had land produced wheat, numerous bullock teams were employed to cart it to the nearest port. After harvest the main street was filled with teams and their whip cracking bullockies. In 1881 the population was around 260, and the town had two commercial banks, a savings bank and a flour mill. The population must have been a law abiding lot as the government decided to close the local court. Most of the locals were against this and on 14 January 1889 a public meeting was held at the Institute, chaired by George Inglis, to do something about it.

By the turn of the century, and after a severe drought followed by a depression, Georgetown was only a shell of its former glory. The National Bank had closed its doors and several businesses and people had left town in search of better prospects. However by the early 1930s some of the original families, like the Inglis' and Smallacombes, were still living in the town. In 1932 Charles Dunn, bank manager, was transferred to Yorketown and was given a party at the residence of Mrs Ray Treasure attended by some sixty people. Mr E.Buckenara lived for more than fifty years in Georgetown.

On 26 July 1936, a new Branch of the Mother's Union was formed. St George's church was filled to capacity when the Rev A.White conducted the admission service. The Willochran reported that Mrs F.L.Collins of Gulnare had been elected President and Mrs C.Wilkins Secretary. After the service the Georgetown ladies provided an afternoon tea in the Institute.

Many of Georgetown's early pioneers
are buried in the local cemetery.


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