Pioneer Park, situated on MacDonnell Street, Naracoorte is a great spot to view the township of Naracoorte.
Stop for a picnic or BBQ and enjoy the wide green lawn and undercover barbeque area. Of interest to train buffs is the 1877 V9 class steam locomotive - the only one in Australia! From Pioneer Park it's only a short walk to the CBD.
Explore the 50th anniversary memorial of the municipality of Naracoorte and the commemoration of the pioneering families of Naracoorte. The Park was the former Naracoorte-Kincraig Cemetery (scroll down for more information).
1877 V9 class steam locomotive
Naracoorte is home to the only 1876 V class steam locomotive in Australia and the oldest preserved South Australian steam locomotive.
V9 was lead engine in a class of four light, narrow guage locomotives built by Beyer Peacock (Manchester UK), for the new Kingston – Naracoorte line. Ordered by the SA Government, V9-12 were constructed in 1875 and delivered, crated, in 1876. Re-assembled in Kingston, V9 first steamed over the new line on 9th December 1876. (Four more engines, V143 – 146 were built in SA in 1893).
V Class were 0-4-4BT (Back Tank) engines based on an American design Beyer Peacock had modified for Norwegian Railways, but 25% smaller. This design maintains a consistent weight and traction effort over the driving wheels on the light track, which at 35 lbs/yd, was the lightest used in SA.
The new line was celebrated when V9 successfully hauled a special New Year’s Day 1877 Picnic Outing to Kingston carrying around 500 passengers in open wagons with the town band playing!
V Class continued mainline service until 1879 when the larger W Class took over. V9 remained as shunting engine at Kingston until 1888, when it was transferred to the Northern Division of SAR, as V 10 – 12 had been. In total V9 steamed 488049 miles (785439km).
V9 was to be condemned in Peterborough, but in 1955, it was presented to the Corporation of Naracoorte as a historical relic and placed in Pioneer Park, alongside engine WX18, which was sold in 1985.
In 1984/5, Naracoorte Lions Club, supported by the Corporation, undertook a full restoration of V9 ready for the State Jubilee 150 Year. In 1986, V9 was placed in the “station” where we see it today.
Pioneer Park covers what remains of the settlement’s first cemetery. It was used for burials from 1850 to 1878, when the present cemetery on Stewart Terrace was established. Of possibly 200 people buried here, sixty percent were children, with April 1878 seeing 50 deaths, of which 37 were children. The most common cause of death was dysentery, possibly from contaminated water from the Naracoorte Creek.
In 1890, Council applied to the Government to declare the area a Public Square…in fact it became ‘a tree-planting reserve’. Friends and relatives of those buried here were given the option of removing the remains to the new Stewart Terrace cemetery, but none chose to do this. In 1928, the Naracoorte Council took control and the surviving headstones were transferred to the Pioneering section of the new Stewart Terrace cemetery,
In 1965, the Lions Club of Naracoorte undertook the development and care of the area, now known as Pioneer Park, transforming it into a pleasant and well-used green space (217)
In 1949, the cemetery was move to its current location on the Riddoch Highway and the MacDonnell Street Cemetery was converted to a parks and gardens area known as Pioneer Park.
To find out more about the history of the cemetery at Pioneer Park click the link below: