Middleback station is run as a joint venture between the University of Adelaide, the South Australian Government and Middleback Investments.
Middleback was originally a working sheep station set in the north-west pastoral district of South Australia. It has accommodation in shearer's quarters with kitchen and dining areas. There is also a well-equipped field laboratory, originally set up by Dr Bob Lange of the University of Adelaide and now maintained by the University.
Middleback station, Iron Knob Road, 14 Km from Whyalla, 390 Km by road NW of Adelaide via Pt Augusta.
- A Brief History
In the early 1980's Dr Bob Lange from the former Department of Botany with the support of BHP mining set up the Middleback Field Research Centre.
The site was ideal for rangeland studies looking at how grazing impacts on an arid system landscape. The area has an interesting historical perspective given that adjacent Roopena lease and Middleback were the first properties to manage sheep grazing by fencing small area and controlling grazing by access to watering points. This was achieved by piping water from the reliable Whizzo Well on Roopena and distributing it through metal pipes that were imported from Scotland.
- Research at Middleback
In recent years the Rangeland focus has moved to a broader look at the ecology of terrestrial plants in this landscape headed by Jose Facelli from the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.
Desmond Coleman from the School of Agriculture, Food & Wine also maintains an active interest in some rangelands teaching and maintains continuing data on photo point vegetation monitoring locations.
The field station is also used for other work including mammal population studies and honours student projects
The field station comprises of two buildings. Within these there is a laboratory, lecture room and basement darkroom. There is also a large storage barn with mezzanine floor. The property has an independant rainwater supply.
There is a self contained unit available that includes 4 beds, heating & cooling, kitchen and bathroom facilities. In addition to the unit there is also the shearers quarters which can accommodate 30 people in bunk beds plus swag area on verandas. These quarters have access to large kitchen and catering facilities, toilet and bathroom blocks.
- Enquiries and Maintenance