One is for The Ghan, a train that goes from South Australia to the Northern Territory and the other is a small steam train that travels the foreshore from Semaphore to Fort Glanville, in South Australia.
The Ghan is 2979km long and has a standard gauge of 1435mm (Wikipedia). The origins of the name are disputed, although both theories mention the Afghans, who once operated a successful camel train through the centre of Australia.
Semaphore Steam Train track is 2km long and has a 457mm gauge. That’s ten times smaller than The Ghan.
A popular tourist or family activity, particularly during the holidays, it runs along the foreshore, parallel to both the road and the tide and is a great sight, whether you are on it or viewing the people waving from open carriages.
Semaphore Beach is home to the Palais, bar and bistro, built in 1922 and used for a time as the surf life saving club. Hence, there is a viewing tower at the top.
And can you see what’s on top of the flag pole, on top of the tower?
My grandmother walked several miles to attend dances at the Palais, in the 1930s. It is steeped in history and has been renovated keeping the original design. Facing the ocean, beside a playground and fair ground, it’s very popular.
The council of Salisbury, in which Parafield sits, has over 50 wetlands which have made it a leading centre for water conservation in the driest State, of the driest continent. Parafield is nestled between the Little Para River and Dry Creek, with the salt lakes a stone’s throw away, making it swampy 50 years ago, barren 20 years ago and now a beautiful habitat for wildlife we hadn’t seen before.
Mawson Lakes is 5 minutes away, with it’s higher education facilities, modern housing and opportunities for remote-controlled boats, walks and stunning sunsets.
Our small suburb is home to an airfield, that may have become Adelaide’s major airport, but was seen to be too far out of the capital city. It hosts one of the last pilot schools and many international students come here. If you’re very game, you can pay to have a spitfire flight over the nearby coast.
I personally think this was short-sighted, as Parafield sits on Highway 1 and the northern train line, the latter carrying The Ghan (to the Northern Territory) and the Indian Pacific (to Sydney). Why! Either a short, scenic walk, a shuttle or a personal chauffeur could take you there. Only a little fog in winter, as we are on the plains.
Did I mention nearby coast? Only 15 minutes by car and you are at Semaphore Beach. Ideal for families, dog-friendly and plenty of fish and crabs, not to mention to the huge range of eateries.
Parafield has the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines and is also home to a Khmer Buddhist Temple, the wall of which we watched being built by hand over a couple of years.
Multi-cultural, as old as the State, with delightful waterways, we have a forest of native trees that lure rosellas to the area all year long. We have sulphur-crested cockatoos in the warmer months but they fly west in winter.