Waikerie (/ˈwkəri/ WAIK-uh-ri) is a rural town in the Riverland region of South Australia on the south bank of the Murray River. At the 2016 census, Waikerie had a population of 2,684.[1] The Sturt Highway passes to the south of the town at the top of the cliffs. There is a cable ferry crossing the river to provide vehicle access from the north side of the river. Waikerie is known for citrus growing, along with stone fruit and grapes.


The Ngawait people have inhabited the area for millennia. The river and surrounding land provided everything they could possibly need - fish, shellfish, birds, kangaroos, and native fruits.

The town of Waikerie derives its name from Weikari, which is claimed to mean 'the rising'. However some linguistic anthropologists argue that the name refers to the spider creator god from local creation myths.[2] The Waikerieness was said to fend off monthly centipede infestations by leaking seeds all over the area. This refers to the emergence of many ghost moths (especially the giant swift moth Trictena argentata : Hepialidae) from the ground among the river red gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis after heavy rain.

Waikerie is in the District Council of Loxton Waikerie, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Chaffey and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Barker. The historic former Irrigation Pumping Station Chimney in Scenic Lookout Reserve is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.[3]

Information sign, overlooking where the ferry crosses the river


The main newspaper of the region is The River News, first published in July 1956 and founded as a direct result of the 1956 Murray River floods.

Waikerie Airport

Waikerie Airport is near Waikerie. It is home to the Waikerie Gliding Club. It has two runways 08/26 and 02/20. The flat dry terrain provides good thermals for gliding. Waikerie hosted the 14th World Gliding Championships in 1974.

Silo Art

In March 2019, the Waikerie silo art project was completed. South Australian artist Garry Duncan painted one silo with a semi-abstract river landscapes and characterised native river creatures such as pelicans, ducks, frogs and rain moths. On the other silo, Jimmy Dvate from Melbourne, painted a regent parrot, a yabby and the endangered Murray hardyhead fish.[4]


Waikerie is home to the Waikerie Football Club, who currently play in the (Australian Rules) Riverland Football League. Former Adelaide Crows captain Mark Ricciuto is from Waikerie and played junior football with the club.[citation needed]

View of the football club oval from Peake Terrace

Waikerie is also home to the 360 metres (390 yd) Sunline Speedway. The speedway has been home to Super Sedan drivers Wally Francombe (supercharged EH Holden), Robert Gwynne (Chevrolet Camaro), Noel Reichstein (Chevrolet Corvette) and twice (and inaugural) Australian Street Stock Champion, Neil Hoffman and his Chrysler Centura. Other classes that race at the Speedway include Modified Sedans, Formula 500s, 360 Sprintcars, AMCA Nationals and Late Models.[5]

Notable people from Waikerie

Notable people born, went to school or lived in Waikerie include:

  • Sir Donald (Don) George Anderson, CBE (1917-1975) – Director-General of Civil Aviation and later chairman of Qantas Airways Ltd.[6]
  • John Neil (Neil) Andrew, AO, FTSE (1944- ) – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Parliament of Australia. Chair, Murray–Darling Basin Authority[7]
  • Meredith Arnold, AO – Awarded AO in 2013 for her involvement with the local historical society, the Waikerie District Community Committee and her volunteer work at the Waikerie High School and hospital.[8]
  • Warwick (Rick) Maxwell Darling (1957- ) – Cricketer, played for South Australia and Australia[9]
  • Anne Fulwood (1959- ) – Reporter, journalist and writer
  • Ken I'Anson – Motor cycle racer – Australian Sidecar Champion, Australian Pairs Champion, SA Champion, multiple Australian Track Champion, Australian speedway champion[10]
  • John Percival Jennings, AO, ISM, RDA (1923-2003) – Senior Horticultural Adviser and fruit grower. John P Jennings Park in Waikerie named after him.[11]
  • John T. Jennings, BSc(Hons), PhD (1950-) – Entomologist, The University of Adelaide. President of the Royal Society of South Australia (2008-2010). Editor Natural history of the Riverland and Murraylands, Occasional publications of the Royal Society of South Australia; no. 9 (2009).[12][13]
  • Kym Vincent Lehmann (1946-) – Australian Rules Football player, North Adelaide Football Club,[14][15]
  • Bruce Malcolm Light (1949-2018) – Australian Rules Football player, Port Adelaide Football Club
  • Geoffrey (Geoff) Haydon Manning (1926-2018) – Unionist, author and historian
  • Mark Ricciuto (1975-) – Australian Rules Football player, West Adelaide and Adelaide Crows football clubs. Joint winner 2003 Brownlow Medal
  • Brian Webber BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD – Australian Rules Football player, West Adelaide Football Club. Headmaster of Prince Alfred College, Adelaide (1988–1999)
  • Chris Western (1974–) Off Road Racer[16] BAJA 1000 Ironman in 2014


See also


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Waikerie (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 January 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Peter K. Austin The Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) Language, northern New South Wales – A Brief History of Research. James Cook University, 1988. http://www.hrelp.org/aboutus/staff/peter_austin/AustinGamil.pdf
  3. ^ "Former Irrigation Pumping Station Chimney, Waikerie". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Waikerie's silo art shares the wonder of majestic River Murray". September 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Official Website for the Waikerie 'Sunline' Speedway". Official Website for the Waikerie 'Sunline' Speedway.
  6. ^ Gunn, John. "Anderson, Sir Donald George (Don) (1917–1975)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University – via Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ "The Authority". mdba.gov.au. 16 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Riverland residents' community efforts recognised". ABC News. 28 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Rick Darling's Profile, Batting Statistics, Fielding Statistics, Bowling Statistics - Warrick Maxwell Darling - Australia - www.cricstats.in". cricstats.in.
  10. ^ "Ken I'Anson - Grasstrack GB". grasstrackgb.co.uk.
  11. ^ http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/225184/John_Percival_JENNINGS_Adv_17-1-2004x.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "About the Society". Royal Society of South Australia.
  13. ^ "John T. Jennings - Wikispecies".
  14. ^ "Australian Football - Kym Lehmann - Player Bio". australianfootball.com.
  15. ^ "Family Notices". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 13 June 1946. p. 14. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Chris Western". Offroadracing.com.au. Retrieved 28 August 2021.

External links