Aroona Valley, South Australia
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The Aroona Valley is within the
Flinders Ranges National Park in South Australia. It is about 25 km north of
Wilpena Pound. The name Aroona is from an Aboriginal word meaning running water or place of frogs.
The Aroona Valley is a long open valley between the Heysen Range and ABC
Range. It is considered to be the most beautiful place in the
Flinders Ranges by many people. The scenery in the valley has been painted by Hans Heysen and other artists.
There are forests of northern cypress pine in the valley. River red gums are found along the creeks.
The Aroona Springs are west of the Aroona hut.
Things to do:
Camping is permitted in the Aroona Valley. Toilets are only provided near the Aroona Hut. Water is also available here.
The Heysen Trail, a long distance trail which starts near Cape Jervis, crosses the valley.
The Aroona sheep run was taken up by Johnson Frederick Hayward in the 1850s from the Brownes, who leased the Wilpena, Aroona and Arkaba Stations. Hayward arrived in South Australia in 1847 from Somerset England, with only 40 pounds. He began as overseer of the Pekina run, in the southern Flinders. Hayward Bluff,
False Mount Hayward, South Mount Hayward, as well as Mount Hayward (865 m) are all named after him. They are all within a 3 km stretch of the Heysen Range. Hayward sold out in the early 1860s, before the great drought. He returned to England, settling in Bath, where he acquired an estate he named Aroona.
Hayward had problems with Aboriginal people 'stealing' his sheep. His idea of justice was to recover the uneaten animals, flog the first man he caught, and burn any weapons or implements he found. When Robert Richardson was killed he raided an Aboriginal camp and killed some of the people.
In the 1920s Aroona became an outstation of Oraparinna. Spring water was used to grow extensive gardens here.
Artist Hans Heysen made many trips to the Flinders Ranges, beginning in 1926. He described the Flinders Ranges as "a very old land where the primitive forces of Nature were constantly evident." He made studies while on location and developed these into finished works in his studio in Hahndorf. Heysen's The Three Sisters of Aroona was developed from studies painted here. He used the Aroona Hut, built in the 1920s by shepherd Eddie Pumpa, as his base. The Aroona Hut is now a ruin.
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