The original Aboriginal owners of the land have documennted the previous 40,000 years in their Dreaming. However, all of Australia's post European history, from the first settlement at Sydney Cove until today, is crammed into around 225 years. The residents of Whyalla have a similar, if not more hurried and compacted history.

Hummock Hill, a small rise on the western shores of Upper Spencer Gulf, was named by Matthew Flinders on 9 March 1802. The catalyst for the early European settlement, and the eventual explosion in population after World War ll, was the discovery of iron ore at Iron Knob in the mid 1800's.

looking towards McByde tce HH

The then Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP) acquired leases to work ore in the region in November 1899, as iron ore could be used for flux in the company's smelter in Port Pirie. In January of 1901, men began arriving from Port Pirie to build a tramway to the ore deposits at Iron Knob, and the town of Hummock Hill was born. The construction of a jetty to load the ore onto barges begun and by the end of the year the population of the town was almost 50.

For a long period, Hummock Hill was a small , remote settlement and shipping port concentrated around the base of the hill. Some of the population lived in tents and the houses that did exist were constructed of basic materials. Popular methods of cladding houses were flattened kerosene tins or whitewashed wheat bags.

The few roads in the town were unsealed, but there were no cars to drive on them anyway - transport was still by horse and cart. Water was brought from Port Pirie in barges and sold for two shillings per 100 gallons. A small store opened in 1903 at the end of McBryde Terrace and a community hall was built in 1905 at Hummock Hill in which the first school opened.