Why-alla? Well, if you like sunshine, wilderness and water, this South Australian regional city could be right up your alley.
Located a solid four hours’ drive from Adelaide near the top of Spencer Gulf, it’s a friendly, thriving place and also gateway to the pristine coastline and outback wilds of Eyre Peninsula.
Built on the back of mining, agriculture, manufacturing and (in more recent times) tourism and aquaculture, Whyalla now boasts all the facilities you’d expect from a growing city of 22,000-plus people.
Whyalla Hospital has more than 80 staffed beds (including two hospice units) catering for accident and emergency, surgical, theatre, women's and children's and high dependency. Additional services include: 20-bed day surgery unit, community, mental health, domiciliary care, palliative care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology.
There are more than 15 GPs, three pharmacies and a selection of dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists and other specialist health care providers. Whyalla Aged Care employs almost 170 people and offers a range of facilities and accommodation options for elderly residents.
As for retail therapy, Whyalla Westlands is the largest undercover shopping centre in regional SA, with department stores, popular franchise outlets, supermarkets and a food hall. A number of other shopping strips are also located throughout the city, and Whyalla Cinema shows all the latest releases. Whyalla Leisure Centre has a 25m indoor heated swimming pool, squash and racquetball courts, sports hall, weightlifting facilities and the all-important cafe. Classes include aqua aerobics, circuits, aero boxing, tai chi, and swimming.
There’s an array of childcare centres, pre-schools and primary schools, plus four high schools. If you’re keen on returning to studies, TAFE SA has a campus here and so does the University of South Australia (attracting students from across regional SA but also as far afield as interstate and overseas). It’s the largest uni campus in country SA and home to UniSA’s Centre for Regional Engagement, offers fields as diverse as business and accounting to nursing and arid lands technology.
And now the history lesson: Whyalla was founded in 1901 as a port for shipping iron ore extracted from the nearby Middleback Ranges. BHP had a massive impact on the town’s growth, processing natural resources, producing steel and (until the mid 1970s) building ships. The result is a highly skilled workforce and spin-off industries in steel fabrication, manufacturing, construction, hydraulics and more.
For loads of information on working in the expanding minerals, oil or gas sectors in South Australia, visit www.hotrubble.com.au.
Why does Whyalla rock? You tell us...
"When I moved to Whyalla, I was amazed by how many locals said they moved there for a two-year contract, 25 years ago! If you're prepared to get involved and take advantage of the diverse offering, you'll soon discover how infectious Whyalla's community spirit is. Whether it's sport, art, fishing, language, wine, the environment, shopping, crafts, theatre, tourism, education or culture, you'll find something of interest. The city is far enough away from Adelaide that people stay and create their own fun on the weekends, rather than head out of town every chance they get. My tips: the community arts program is fantastic, with some great national shows passing through town; Pt Lowly is the best spot for swimming; and the foreshore at sunset should be a regular destination.”
- Mardi, now living in Melbourne