Arltunga. The first town in Central Australia.
After leaving Ruby Gap I pull in to Arltunga Historical Reserve. Arltunga was central Australia’s first official town founded in 1887 after gold was discovered nearby in a dry creek bed. The sudden rush of prospectors grew the population to around 300. It lasted until 1913. The town ruins are located 110km east of Alice Springs. The government spent a good deal of money building infrastructure including a police station which was manned until 1944 long after the town had died. Several of the buildings underwent restoration and were rebuilt. There are a good dozen buildings and ruins to admire. It is insane to think a town was started here in the middle of nowhere. There is a nearby parks interpretation centre with plenty of info and an interesting short documentary. There are also a couple bushwalks and some mine shafts you can go down into, although the main shaft was closed when I was there due to safety concerns. It may stay that way forever.
The gold in the mountains never lived up to expectations with the best mines getting about 1 ounce/tonne of ore. Back in those days gold was worth 3 times as much as current prices so was worth the effort. There is still at least one mining company operating in the area reprocessing much of the spoils from the old ore dumps using newer more efficient methods to extract the gold.