Looking at the town today it is hard to imagine that it once had an airport where flights between Adelaide and Perth stopped regularly. The airport closed down in 1935.
The town was proclaimed in 1917. There is some confusion over the origin of the town's name. Some sources claim that the name was taken from a nearby hill 'Kutta kutta' which was probably the local Aboriginal name for the night hawk while others suggest that 'Kyancutta' was an Aboriginal word meaning 'water lying in holes in the rock'.