Lochiel is a small town in the Mid North of South Australia 125 km north of Adelaide on Augusta Highway (National Highway One), between Port Wakefield and Snowtown. The town is set beside Lake Bumbunga salt lake and at the foot of the Hummocks Range. You can see the Loch Eel, the locals' version of the Lochiel monster in the Lake.
Salt has been mined at the salt extraction works most of the time since 1912 and is a major employer in the region. The lake is fed by surrounding hills and the Hummocks Range.
Coal was mined for a short time at the Lochiel Coal Mine a few kms east of the lake in the 1980s and 1990s.
Lochiel was named after Lochiel Forest near Inverness in Scotland and also the Chief of the Cameron Clan. The township was surveyed in 1869.
Crystal Brook (creek) supplied water to the Lochiel township until 1890 when the Beetaloo Reservoir was completed. At the time it was the largest concrete dam in the southern hemisphere.
The name of Lake Bumbunga, according to anthropologist Norman Tindale, was derived from the Parnpangka (local indigenous) term for "rain water lake".
Currently the little town has lost its local pub, after fire broke out in the early hours of Tuesday 15th of July 2014. Owner Mr Simmonds said he was sad to see the 150-year-old building almost burnt to the ground. “It was something that kept the local community together — it was a meeting place,” he said. “It was a good little hotel.” Currently he is looking to have the hotel rebuilt.