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Developing trade and port histories: Outports - Fleurieu Peninsula ports

Fleurieu Peninsula Ports

A number of small ports operated along the Fleurieu Peninsula coast from Port Noarlunga to Rapid Bay. Among the earliest ports in the state they were at first little more than open roadsteads where small craft beached on the sand between the tides, or drays were driven into the sea to carry cargo to the cutters and ketches. Later jetties were built to make loading and discharging cargos easier.

Port Noarlunga

This small port adjacent to the mouth of the Onkaparinga River catered to the farmers of the region. Wheat and flour was exported through the port, some going direct to Melbourne and to New Zealand. The first jetty was built in 1855 and was 122 metres long. It was connected via a tramway through the sandhills to the river where barges brought the grain and flour down from further upstream.  By the 1870s trade through the port had been abandoned. The jetty was damaged by storms in the early 20th century and a new 'promenade' jetty was built for the growing tourist trade. The jetty is now a popular spot for divers on the reef, the Onkaparinga Aquatic Reserve that extends across the bay.

Port Willunga

Port Willunga serviced the needs of the region to the east - at its peak the port was one of the busiest in the colony with chiefly wheat exports, but also slate from the Willunga mines. The first jetty was built in 1853 and was added to several times to give a length of 145 metres. This however gave little depth at low tide and a new jetty was petitioned for. This was constructed in 1867 and opened in February 1868. It was built 400 metres south of the old jetty and gave a depth of between 3 and 3.6 metres at medium low water. Local farmers petitioned for a further extension and a T-head but this was not acceded to. By the early 1870s the grain trade was depressed: slate became the main export from the jetty. By the early 20th century the jetty was in ruins. The opening of the Willunga railway in 1915 provided a new outlet for the region's product.

The wreck of the Star of Greece at Port Willunga in 1888 (see Shipwrecks) is commemorated in a memorial in the car park, and the site is marked by a buoy. Some of the piles of the jetty remain, as do the caves dug into the cliffs behind. These were used by fishermen as store sheds and they are a poignant reminder of the past.

Myponga

Grain, wattle bark, livestock and usually, water were exported through Myponga. The jetty was built in 1859, after several years of discussion into how the jetty could be constructed on the rocky seabed. When completed it was 109.8 metres long with a depth at low water of 1.8 metres.

By the 1880s trade through this port had largely ceased. The jetty was damaged in a storm in 1900, and eventually the decking was removed.

Ardrossan jetty
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Arrival of 'S.S. Morialta' at Port Lincoln.
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Australian warships at Victor Harbor
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Barque Lawhill
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Boats moored at American River
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Cargo ships at Wallaroo wharf
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Channel leading into Lake Butler
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Customs House, Port MacDonnell
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Glenelg jetty 1850
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Grain ships at Ardrossan jetty
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Jetty at Murat Bay
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Jetty Port Lincoln
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