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Stenhouse Bay

The gypsum industry of southern Yorke Peninsula was established in 1913 at Inneston or Cape Spencer as it was originally called. It was conducted by the Permasite Manufacturing Company. The gypsum was shipped through Stenhouse Bay, being transported there on a wooden rail tramway. The jetty at Stenhouse Bay was 164 metres long and the gypsum was stockpiled at the top of the cliff. Ore trucks on rails and cables transported the gypsum down the steep cliff. Later a cutting was made through the cliff which allowed the ore to be transported directly to the jetty. Subsequently the mining at Inneston was transferred to nearby Marion Lake and later again the mining operations were amalgamated at Stenhouse Bay. Many of the buildings from Inneston were transferred to Stenhouse Bay; there were 37 houses, a community hall, school, post office, a licensed general store, and administration buildings.

The township of Stenhouse Bay was named after Andrew Stenhouse, who operated Permasite Manufacturing. This later became the Waratah Gypsum Company which had works here for the quarrying and exporting of rock gypsum. Gypsum - after being washed, roasted and ground - as used in the manufacture of plaster of paris and cement. Many of Adelaide's old houses have plaster ceilings made from gypsum from this part of Yorke Peninsula. The quality of the gypsum in this area was of high quality and supplied most of Australia's needs.

The Waratah Gypsum Company closed its works in 1972 and the town was sold to the South Australian Government which demolished the town except for the few houses required for the rangers who administer Innes National Park.

Reading:

Nelson, Keith Kitchener The history of Marion Bay, Inneston and Stenhouse Bay, 1922 -1939 [Warooka, S. Aust.: Warooka District Council], c1994

Normandale, Harold  To and about Eyre Peninsula [Adelaide : H. Normandale], 1986 pp.47-48

 

Gypsum factory at Stenhouse Bay
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Jetty at Stenhouse Bay
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School children at Stenhouse Bay
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Steel barque Hougomont
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Stenhouse Bay jetty
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Truck loads of gypsum
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