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Port Pirie wharves in 1910
Title : Port Pirie wharves in 1910 Port Pirie wharves in 1910
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Source : Edwardes Collection volume 39, part 3, number 8
Date of creation : c.1910
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

The busy port of Port Pirie about 1910. The wharves are built along a tidal creek. The site for the future port was discovered in 1839 by Captain Germein in the government cutter Water Witch while on a supply run for the explorer Edward Eyre. It was re-discovered in 1846 by Captain Thompson in the John Pirie. A harbour in this region of the colony was considered to be an advantage to the pastoralists for shipment of their wool clip and the bringing in of supplies.

The harbour was in a creek, and was compared to Port Adelaide on its river - it would be sheltered from all winds. The first landing stage was built shortly after. Others followed. Canned meat was being exported from the harbour in 1869 and two years later the South Australian government surveyed a town. The wheat crops of the interior needed an export hub and a railway was built to the port to bring the harvest to the port.

Three hundred thousand bushels of wheat were shipped in the season of 1872-73. Improvements to the harbour were needed. Government sponsored dredging began in 1875, wharves were built, many replacing the jetties that had jutted out into the harbour. In the late 1870s nearly 300,000 tons of silt was removed from the creek enabling larger vessels to use the port.

The opening of the mines at Broken Hill and the laying of the railway line from there to Port Pirie was another boost for the town and port. The association with Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd was an ongoing advantage as the mines' needs for coal and timber were imported through Port Pirie, and the mines' ores exported through it.

During the 20th century further improvements were made; steel sheet piles replaced the old wooden wharves and bulk handling facilities were built in the 1960s. The chief exports are lead and zinc concentrates, grain and seeds.

Coverage year : 1910
Period : 1884-1913
Place : Port Pirie
Region : Mid North
Further reading :
Flannery, Nancy.Reluctant harbour: the romance of Pirie Jamestown, S.A.: Nadjuri Australia, 1976

Parsons, Ronald.Southern passages: a maritime history of South Australia Netley, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1986

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Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing exhibitions. Wooden Walls and Iron Sides August 2004-



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