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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Forgotten town wants asbestos dump gone

Terowie is a small town in the middle of nowhere, 220 kms north of Adelaide.  The town's claim to fame happened on 20 March 1942, when the Commander of the Forces in the Pacific, General MacArthur told waiting media on the Terowie railway station "I will return" but he never did.  Historic Terowie has five museums and is popular with historians, photographers and railway buffs.

But Terowie has a dark side, they have an asbestos dump, open to the air, that has been there for forty years. It's not illegal, it belongs to the South Australian government, yet there are no fences around it and no warning signs.  Roof sheeting and broken pieces of asbestos line a popular walking trail belonging to a camping site and it's not far from the local school.

In the 1970s, the town died when the train station was abandoned and dismantled, but they didn't take the rubbish away, they just left it there in a heap, and it's been blowing around in the wind ever since.

So what do the authorities say?  The asbestos pieces are safe and non-friable, they say, which means they cannot be broken up or crumbled.  So why are they having a meeting this week to discuss the problem? The Environment Protection Authority and the SA Environment Department should hang their heads in shame, they've had forty years to clean it up.

Main street, 1938

But Terowie doesn't just have the asbestos problem, you can't drink the water because it contains high levels of lead and e-coli.  So why on earth would anyone want to live there?  Curious, I looked up Terowie Real Estate and found this house with the following description. 

Possibly the best stone cottage available in Terowie.  This 3 bedroom stone cottage has been tastefully updated to include a modern kitchen and bathroom with 3 spacious bedrooms.  The slate features throughout the home grab your attention with large fireplaces and pot belly stove in the kitchen area.  Outside is a rear pergola and neat yard with a garden shed and open front garage. Only $128,000

So is it enough to temp you to move..... no I didn't think so.