Leigh Creek is a former mining town located in a picturesque part of the Northern Flinders Ranges. The town was purpose-built to service operations at the nearby open cut brown coal fields, which began in 1941. The current township is the second location of Leigh Creek, having been relocated in the late 1970s to early 1980s to allow for an expansion of mine activities - the old town was built on a coal seam.
In its heyday, in both its original and present location, Leigh Creek had a population in excess of 2,500 people. With increased mechanisation in the extraction and railing of the coal to the Port Augusta power station, the town population has decreased signifcantly over the years. The population decline was attributed to the introduction of Fly-In-Fly-Out rostering for mine workers, which resulted in many mining families moving from the region. Coal mining in Leigh Creek ceased in late-2015 as the operation became increasingly uneconomical. The cessation of mining would pose significant challenges, each with social and economic effects, for the town which was built to service the mine.
The township transitioned to State Government management on 1 January 2017 and continues to provide essential services to over 700 community members, pastoralists, business operators and Government employees living in the Northern Flinders Ranges. It is a well-planned and laid out town, with footpaths, sealed and kerbed roads, and street lighting.
The significant amenity includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, sprung floor stadium, grassed recreational areas, and an all-weather airport equipped with two runways and multiple navigation aids. As part of the transition, the Leigh Creek Airport is now operated and managed by the OCA. It is available for 24/7 access for emergency and private use, with refuelling services (via the self-serve bowsers). Landing fees for the aerodrome are: $15.00 per tonne (minimum $20.00); helicopter $20.00 flagfall. Full details on charge rates can be downloaded here.
Leigh Creek is still a township in transition toward becoming a vibrant, self-sustaining town. Click here for the latest updates.