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The township of Inneston developed as a mining settlement following the discovery of gypsum in the early 1900s, by William Robert Innes, after whom the mining village and the National Park are named.  Innes had formed the Australian Gypsum and Whiting Company in the 1880s, with a view to mining the gypsum leases in and around the Marion Bay area.

Gypsum, a mineral used as in ingredient for plaster, was sought after for building construction and the manufacture of plaster mouldings.  At first the gypsum was shipped to Melbourne from Marion Bay for processing, and eventually the processing was undertaken at the extraction site. 

At the peak of its mining operations the population of the township reached about 500, but over time averaged approximately 150. As the settlement was so isolated from other larger service towns, it was necessary for Inneston to be fully self sufficient, and the town had its own school, post office, bakery and general store, plus an oval for cricket.  

The town was wholly sustained by the demand for gypsum, and by 1970 Inneston had become a ghost town as mining operations ceased.  Today the partially restored, heritage listed Inneston village provides an excellent insight into the mining history of the region.  The post office building has been restored and it is possible to explore the remains of the village buildings, old plasterworks and the other structures that supported the mining and gypsum processing activity.

Innes National Park, dedicated in 1970, has now developed into a recreational area, offering swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, and bushwalking.  The park is widely regarded for its spectacular and unforgiving coastline and the protection of rare birds, especially the Western Whipbird, the rediscovery of which was integral to the establishment of the park.

Further reading:

Nelson, Keith Kitchener. The history of Marion Bay, Inneston and Stenhouse Bay, 1922-1939 [Warooka, S. Aust.: Warooka District Council], c1994

Department for Environment and Heritage - Innes National Park

Flinders Ranges Research: Inneston

Lake at Inneston
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Plaster factory, Inneston
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Pupils, Inneston School
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Wreck of the Ethel
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