Parachilna was formally surveyed in 1890 within the surrounding Hundred of Parachilna which had itself been surveyed in 1863. The settlement had, however, been established in 1881 as a maintenance station on the Great Northern railway line which reached Beltana to the north in that same year. In 1882 a post office was established there.
Situated 174 ‘rail’ km north of Port Augusta Parachilna lies at the western end of the Parachilna Gorge on the plains to the west of the Flinders Ranges. In addition to supporting railway maintenance gangs Parachilna provided a rail outlet for sheep from the central Flinders Ranges and from the eastern Lake Torrens pastoral districts.
Today the small permanent population of 15 are almost all engaged in servicing and supporting the Flinders Ranges and outback tourist industry.
Parachilna ‘houses’ the Prairie Hotel which has a national and international reputation for accommodation and for the provision of Australian bush cuisine. It has hosted concerts and provided and catered for major outback events and for feature and documentary film crews. For most of the travelling public Parachilna is a ‘must’ visitor stop-off from the adjacent sealed road from Hawker to Lyndhurst.