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In 1862, John McDouall Stuart successfully crossed the Australian continent from Adelaide to Darwin without loss of life. In doing so he accomplished his own long standing ambition of discovery and surveyed the route for the overland telegraph which, via an undersea cable, linked Australia with England.

Before long, pastoralists followed in Stuart's steps, taking up land for sheep and cattle grazing, further opening up vast tracts of land in Australia's arid inland.

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Mr. Stuart's surveyed route also became the route for the Ghan railway, linking Adelaide and Alice Springs, the train line passing through Hawker in the Flinders Ranges in outback South Australia.

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Following repeated flood damage to the rail line, it was rerouted via Tarcoola and the train ran through Hawker for the last time in October 1980, leaving Hawker without one of it's major industries.

The bore that supplied water for the stem engines is now the town water supply and the former railway station is a restaurant and art gallery.