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Ketches loading grain at Port Wakefield about 1912
Title : Ketches loading grain at Port Wakefield about 1912 Ketches loading grain at Port Wakefield about 1912
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Source : Edwardes Collection, volume 39, part 5, number 24
Date of creation : 1912
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Six ketches moored at the wharf at Port Wakefield. They are loading grain from the piles stacked alongside the sheds. Port Wakefield was the first port established outside of Port Adelaide and was created because of the copper boom at Kapunda and Burra in the 1840s.

The port was officially proclaimed 12 September 1850: basic facilities were rapidly established. Prior to its proclamation Port Wakefield had already trans-shipped 6,000 tons of coal, and 1,156 tons of copper as the mine owners sought the quickest and cheapest method of getting their ore to the world market.

Railways were built and took the copper trade away from the port. However Port Wakefield found a new product to ship: wool and later wheat. In 1866 the port was second only to Port Adelaide in its wool exports, exporting over 3,300,000 pounds of wool. As the land inland from the port was farmed and agricultural production increased with the use of fertilizers the wharfs of Port Wakefield became stacked high with sacks of wheat waiting for shipment.

The ketches of the mosquito fleet carried the grain to the large ships anchored in deep water, or directly to Port Adelaide. In 1909, 300,000 bags of wheat were exported. But Port Wakefield's heyday had passed. The railways were cheaper and more efficient, allowing farmers to cart their wheat and wool to nearby railheads or sidings.

Coverage year : 1912
Period : 1884-1913
Place : Port Wakefield
Region : Yorke Peninsula
Further reading :

Donovan, P. F. Port Wakefield and district, a history: commemorating a century of local government [Port Wakefield, S. Aust.]: Port Wakefield District Council, 1978

Gillespie, James, Captain. Traders under sail: the cutters, ketches and schooners of South Australia Largs Bay, S. Aust.: J. Gillespie, 1994

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

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

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



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