Roxby Downs

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"I was lucky enough to live in Roxby for four years, from when my children were four years and 19 months old. It took me a few months to settle in, as it does for me with every move. I went back to work for the first time since having the boys, and I think that was only possible due to the close proximity of everything and the childcare services available. I also became involved in a community organisation called "Strengthening Our Families", which is a fabulous support network for families. It is a great town to raise children - safe, friendly, supportive and with good amenities for its location and size. There is a large area school (Reception to Year 12), as well as a smaller Catholic school (Reception to Year 7, but there were plans for a middle school) in Roxby. My boys went to St Barbara's, as we are Catholic, and I really enjoyed the community feel of the school. I also spent some time at the area school through my job (which was running all the site visits for prospective new employees and their families), and it is also a good school. It really comes down to personal choice. There is a 12-bed hospital (you can not have babies there), a dentist, physiotherapist (I can personally vouch for his work!), two doctor's surgeries and visiting psychologists and speech pathologists. Shopping wise, there is a Woolworths supermarket (which we sometimes complained about the stock, freshness of the fruit and veg, etc. but it was generally pretty good - what I wouldn't give for a Woolies now!), a vet, a jeweller, clothes and gift stores, a Mitre 10/Retrovision, plus more. There are also two hairdressers/beauty salons. Sport is HUGE in Roxby, with clubs for just about everything - cricket, basketball, netball, karate, squash, AFL, swimming, tennis, even go carts! There is a great gym and large swimming pool. Roxby is the kind of community where you can become as involved as you want to, and like most small mining towns, everyone knows your business (or think they do!) but that is all part of the fun! I have so many amazing memories of our time there, and some truly wonderful friends that will always be with me. I still sometimes pine for the stunning scenery of the desert, it really does get under your skin!" - Pru, now in Mozambique

"Our move to Roxby was quite easy for me because we already knew a lot of people, from Yorke Peninsula in particular. However, most of them had small children and I needed to find my own friends as well. I am a firm believer in 'anywhere is what you choose to make of it' and I found that by joining in sports and activities I soon made friends, even just saying hello to people can lead to some great times. Because many mining town people are from other country towns, most are just naturally friendly and this shows in Roxby Downs. The town offers some great facilities including a recreation centre with a gym and fantastic pool that is great for afternoon catchups with friends in summer. Grocery shopping is much improved now with the opening of Woolworths and we were able to order meat from the butchers at Wilmington for a small cost once a week. Most things are available on the web nowadays, so there is really no need to go without. We found that we travelled out of town either to Adelaide or at least Port Augusta once a month anyway, so we just waited till then. Our time spent in Roxby was very enjoyable and I still miss the friends that we have up there and the camping nights out bush (even if they were only 10 mins from home, still felt like you were a long way away). My only real tip for young couples moving up there is to save all the money you can because even though you probably have never had this much money before, you must remember that it's not going to go on forever. You could set yourselves up for life in a few short years of working and saving up there, but we saw so many couples buy all the latest cars and gadgets etc and then leave Roxby with nothing. It seems such a shame." - Lyn, now back on Yorke Peninsula

"I had the opportunity to live and work in Roxby Downs from 1999 – 2001, it’s a great place to work and live, with modern facilities and a great bunch of people who are really community orientated." - Michele, now living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

"I spent quite a lot of time in Roxby Downs and loved and hated it. As ‘DINKS’ we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do on our days off, and as a one-mine town, socialising was a bit limiting too. Roxby seemed to have more kids riding scooters and bikes around the streets than I’ve ever seen anywhere – it was such a safe town. Not much in the way of shopping but who cares when you’ve got the internet. Woolworths in Port Augusta did delivery of a box of fresh fruit and vegetables for only $5, and the produce was cheaper than at Roxby prices. The club and the tavern were both friendly places for a drink and a meal – even as a single female in Roxby there was nothing intimidating about this town … and talk about stars at night. Babies ... yet another mining town you can’t deliver a baby in, mums are told to leave town four weeks before the baby is due (babies can be delivered in Port Augusta). Hospital … well there is one, the Flying Doctor is called when it’s something serious. We travelled to Adelaide to have our first born. Best thing about Roxby: the ability to explore the remote parts of SA, fantastic 4x4ing, only three hours to Port Augusta and four to the Clare Valley, and a really safe community to live in (and a great place to save for a house deposit). Really good pool (outdoor) open in the warm months (southerners will think the winter is warm too). Only 5½ hours to Adelaide." – Kathryn, now living in Kalgoorlie, WA

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Roxby Downs, 570km north of Adelaide in central South Australia, was purpose-built in the late 1980s to service the massive Olympic Dam mine now owned by BHP Billiton.

With a resident population of 4500 and another 900 commuting workers who drive or FIFO, it boasts an average age of 29 years (28 per cent under 15), and one of the highest birth rates in Australia.

Not surprisingly, then, it offers a wide range of community facilities and government services, including:

  • One of the largest area schools in South Australia
  • A 10-bed hospital, with accident and emergency, community midwife, doctors, dentist, chiropractor, hearing services and a resident physiotherapist.
  • Visiting health services including an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, dietician and podiatrist.
  • Two playgroups and two childcare centres.
  • Large network of sporting clubs, plus a golf club, tennis and squash courts bowling green and tavern.
  • Public swimming pool with toddler pool and water slide.
  • Shopping centre with newsagency, pharmacy, a gift, clothing & jewellery store, hairdressers, hardware, furniture, electrical, nursery, auto accessories, video store, photo processing and a Woolworths supermarket.

The town is serviced by a good bitumen road and regular flights to Adelaide. The nearest regional centre is Port Augusta (256km).

For loads of information on working in the expanding minerals, oil or gas sectors in South Australia, visit

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