Kanyaka Station was a cattle and sheep station in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia located at Kanyaka, approximately 40 km north-north-east of Quorn, South Australia. along Hawker-Stirling North Road (B83)
The area was inhabited by Aborigines for thousands of years before European settlement. The name of the station is taken from the Aboriginal word thought to mean Place of stone.
Kanyaka Station was established as a cattle station in February 1852 by Hugh Proby. He was born on 9 April 1826 at Stamford in Lincolnshire, England, the third son of Admiral Granville Leveson Proby (the third Earl of Carysfort of Ireland) and Isabella Howard. He emigrated on the ship Wellington, which arrived on 30 May 1851 at Port Adelaide, South Australia.
The Flinders Ranges is very dry country, so it is both tragic and ironic that on 30 August 1852, Proby drowned when he was swept from his horse crossing the swollen Willochra Creek while trying to herd a mob of cattle during a thunderstorm. He was buried the following day. Six years later in 1858 his grave was marked with an engraved slab shipped from Britain by his brothers and sisters; it was said to weigh one and a half tons and posed a significant challenge to transport it to the grave site.
Under subsequent owners, the station grew in size until it was one of the largest in the district with 70 families living and working there. Because of the difficulties of transport, the station had to be very self-sufficient and Kanyaka station grew to include a large homestead, cottages for workers, workshops, huts and sheds, mostly built from local stone due to limited supplies of workable local timber. The station switched from cattle to sheep, but had cows, pigs, and vegetable gardens to supply food for the residents. There was also a cemetery. Hugh Proby was not buried in the Kanyaka cemetery, as it had not yet been established at the time of his death.
Severe droughts resulted in massive losses of sheep and eventually the station was abandoned. Due to its stone construction, many of the buildings survive today as ruins and are a popular tourist attraction.
Grave of Hugh Proby, founder of Kanyaka Station
Death Rock and waterhole
- "Kanyaka Station".
- "Death Rock and Kanyaka Waterhole". Government of South Australia. 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Family Notices.". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900). Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 22 September 1852. p. 2. Retrieved 4 March 2013.