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Developing trade and port histories: Outports - Port Giles

Port Giles

In the late 1960s it was decided that a deep water port with bulk handling facilities was needed for the southern Yorke Peninsula. Rather than develop the existing facilities at Edithburgh, the decision was made to build a completely new port seven kilometres north at Port Giles, with the advantage of deep water. The first silos for the grain harvest were completed in 1968 and the port was opened in May 1970, with the first ship loaded in August 1970. Port Giles jetty is 617 metres long, with a depth of 11.6 metres. The five loading booms can handle 800 tonnes per hour. In 2005/06 0.648 million tonnes of grain and other seeds were exported through Port Giles, which is managed by Flinders Ports.

Further reading:

Collins, Neville  The jetties of South Australia:  past and present. Woodside, S.A.: Neville Collins, 2005

Website:  Flinders Ports; Port Facilities : Port Giles

Port Lincoln

This is undoubtedly one of the finest natural harbours in Australia and was considered the site for the capital of the new colony of South Australia, but because of the inadequate supplies of fresh water was discounted.

First charted by Matthew Flinders in 1802, in the years prior to the official settlement and proclamation of South Australia it was visited by sealers and whalers. Following settlement, in 1837 a whaling station was established in Sleaford Bay; but foreign whaling ships working along the west coast decimated the whale stock, and the shore based station became unprofitable and was abandoned in 1841.

The first settlers arrived in March 1839 and building began in an area called Happy Valley and at Kirton Point. In November of that year the first vessel to be built at Port Lincoln, the cutter Alice sailed to Adelaide, with three bales of wool and a load of fish. Port Lincoln was proclaimed a port on 27 June 1839 and in that year was visited by the British ship Recovery with a cargo of 1600 sheep and some horses from Holdfast Bay. (She left the port in ballast). The French whaler Mississippi also visited.

There was a hiatus in the town and port's development in the 1840s as a result of the aggression of the local Aboriginal people. Copper was mined in the area and for a while it seemed it might be the salvation of the town, but the mines were abandoned by 1850.

In 1854 money was allocated by the South Australian government for digging wells and building a jetty, with a bonus for a regular steamer service. The jetty was completed in 1857 and was the first on Eyre Peninsula. Originally 159 metres long, it was extended two years later to 201 metres and again in 1867 it was lengthened to 222 metres. Further extensions were made during the 20th century, but commercial use of this jetty, the Town Jetty, ceased in 1926 when Brennen's jetty was built.

In 1885 a fish factory was established at Porter Bay, and a slip was built locally for use by the factory but it only operated for two years.

A second jetty was built at Kirton Point in 1906, in conjunction with a railway line that was to service Eyre Peninsula. The depth of water at Kirton Point was nearly twice that at the Town Jetty.  It was 201 metres long, and in 1960 a 'T' head structure was added - this was of steel piles with a concrete deck and was an additional 61 metres long and gave 9.7 metres of water at low tide.

As the railway system was expanded in the 1920s, a third jetty was required. This was built between the Town Jetty and the one at Kirton Point. Known as Brennen's Jetty this was completed in 1923. It was 16 metres wide and accommodated 4 lines of rails. This jetty has been continuously upgraded, and now provides 10 berths. In 1958 bulk grain silos were built. The spur jetty is utilised by fishing boats, tugs and pilot vessels.

In 1924 Port Lincoln Freezing Works began operation and the following year Cresco Fertilizer Works was established. Tuna fishermen began operating out of Port Lincoln in 1949, and by 1963 more than twenty boats were employed.

BHP built a wharf, jetty and bulk handling facilities in Proper Bay in 1966 for transporting lime sand for its smelters. In 1969 it was decided that Port Lincoln would be the Eyre Peninsula Deep Sea Port - this would be accessed by vessels up to 100,000 tons dead weight. The main commodities handled are grain, petroleum products and fertilizers - bulk handling operates for these. In addition live sheep and frozen fish are exported.

Port Lincoln is now operated by Flinders Ports and handled 1.777 million tonnes of cargo 2005/06.

In addition to the shipping that operates from the port, the bays of the area sustain an aquaculture industry. Tuna and oyster farming have now been joined by mussel growing in Boston, Proper and Louth Bays. In February 2008 it was reported that 700 tonnes were being culled a year with the expectation for it to increase to 1000 tonnes very shortly.

Further reading:

Parsons, Ronald, Port Lincoln shipping Lobethal, S.A.: R. Parsons, 1990

Collins, Neville C The jetties of South Australia: past and present Woodside, S.A.: Neville Collins, 2005

Wanklyn, Neville. The early history of the city of Port Lincoln, 1802-1971 [Port Lincoln, S. Aust.: Corporation of Port Lincoln], 1971

The Advertiser 12 February 2008 page 39: Our best bay for mussels

Websites:

Flinders Ports: Port facilities: Port Lincoln

Eyre Regional Development Board: The essence of Eyre. Excelling in seafood

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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