Ports & Jetties
In the early days of settlement, Yorke Peninsula's ports were full of life with boats loaded up with cargos of wool, lime, gypsum, grain and general supplies that traded as far away as England.
Imagine the scenes of windjammers, steamships, ketches and schooners tied up to town jetties or moored off shore.
A visit to the historic jetties and some of our fascinating museums gives you an insight into an era when communities were almost entirely dependent on sea transport.
Today, Yorke Peninsula's ports and jetties are alive and thriving with holiday makers and fishers. Whether you are reliving the history, dangling a line, diving on jetties or shipwrecks or relaxing on the coast, we hope you enjoy our historic ports with the remnants of the past, mixed with more modern facilities of today.
Ardrossan, Wallaroo, Klein Point and Port Giles are still thriving shipping ports with the export of grain, salt and mining produce. They are serviced by large bulk carrying ships, quite different to the smaller ketches and windjammers of yesteryear.
Download more information on Yorke Peninsula’s Ports & Jetties.
Built in 1876 and proclaimed a port in 1878.
The South Australian Government gave the Broken Hill Proprietary Company permission to build a jetty and conveyer loading system at Ardrossan to export the dolomite they mined just south of the town - as long as it was used for loading other bulk produce including grain.
Grain was previously carried along the jetty by horse-drawn trolleys to the ships and hand loaded by skilful deckhands to ensure the load was secure in rough seas. South Australia’s first silo was erected at the site in 1952 and today the silos can handle in excess of 250,000 tonnes of grain.
Steamers provided a passenger service to Port Adelaide on Tuesdays and Fridays, which took 4 hours to make the crossing in good weather. Still a thriving sea port today, Ardrossan is now operated by Viterra and is the 3rd largest grain handling facility in the state with the largest elevator tower standing at 74 metres high. The jetty is 924 metres long with a 'T' head of 244 metres and a water depth of 8.2 metres.
The Zanoni is a wheat clipper that sank 10 nautical miles of the coast of Ardrossan and is one of the most complete 19th century shipwrecks in South Australia. Popular with divers, permits can be obtained from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B 4609
Built in January 1873.
Once a thriving salt producing town, Edithburgh's jetty was erected to ship salt, gypsum, grain and lime from the district and in the 1920's became the 3rd busiest port on the peninsula. It wasn't unusual to see three or four large ships tied up along side the jetty.
In 1930 Gypsum bins were erected on the cutting above the jetty, which also stored grain and salt, the bins were transported to the ships on 'jetty trucks'.
In 1973 the port of Edithburgh closed and is now a major tourist attraction for fishers and divers.
The steamship Clan Ranald sank off Troubridge Hill in 1909 drowning 33 of the crew who are buried in a mass grave in the Edithburgh Cemetery. The Clan Ranald left Port Adelaide in the morning and for unknown reasons listed until she turned over and sank, fully laden with wheat and flour.
For more information visit the Edithburgh Museum - open Sundays, Public Holidays and School holidays 2 - 4pm. Ph: (08) 8852 6187
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/44/635.
Built in 1889.
Farmers shipped their grain and wool and mining companies shipped salt and gypsum creating a hive of activity on the Marion Bay Jetty. In 1889 steel tracks replaced the old wooden ones and by the 1920's it was a thriving port. The mining companies moved their shipping to Stenhouse Bay in the 1930's which saw the shortening of the jetty however it was still used to ship grain and wool until 1969.
The jetty continues to be used today for recreational fishing and sailing.
Two ships called Marion have been wrecked of the coast here, it is unsure as to which one Marion Bay was named after. The first Marion was a sailing vessel wrecked in 1851 on Marion reef, south of Troubridge Shoals. The second Marion was a steamer that was wrecked in 1862.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B 61191
Built in 1868.
The jetty was erected to encourage people to settle in Moonta and purchase building blocks where the township had been surveyed. There was grave concern over the site of the jetty as it was shallow even at the head.
There was a proposal to build the jetty at Port Hughes instead but that was rejected and Port Hughes was built many years later.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/11/230
Built in 1903.
Five landings were originally built by Mr JF Harvey who owned the Thomas, Annie, Florence Maud, Malcolm and the Annie Watt to assist with the loading and unloading of his fleet.
Cargo was ferried by horse and dray until the 1920s when the Harbours Board upgraded the wharf for easier loading. In 1927 a slide was added for loading bags from the cliff top to ketches on the landing. Amazingly the channel leading out to sea was dredged by buckboard with two Clydesdales pulling a scoop.
The Yongala was the last ketch to leave Pine Point with a load of grain heading for Port Adelaide on the 4th of October 1967.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/12/26
Built in 1876.
Grain was shipped to Port Adelaide and directly overseas from Point Turton. 120,000 tones of limestone was also quarried here between 1906 and 1919 and shipped to Port Pirie for use as flux in the smelting works. The Point Turton Caravan Park has now been established on the old quarry site.
The James Comrie a mail steamer served both sides of Yorke Peninsula in the 1800's and was later converted to a tug boat and renamed the Yulta. The Yulta ran aground in 1926 coming into Point Turton, and her boiler can still be seen south of the jetty.
Today, Point Turton is a seaside holiday destination; the jetty is used by recreational and professional fishers who unload their catches from salmon and prawn boats. The sheltered bay and updated boat launching facilities allow year round boating opportunities.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/43/250
Built in 1874.
The original jetty was built so cargo could be wheeled to the ships instead of the slow task of rowing it out in dingies. Due to the poor condition of the jetty it was replaced in 1876 after the opening of the Mundoora to Port Broughton railway line.
Ketches shipped wheat, steamships ferried supplies and windjammers including the Pamir plied the waters between here and England. As in many other ports the great windjammers anchored about a few miles out and their cargo was loaded from smaller ketches.
In the 1930's and 40's the jetty was alive with ships and traders and home to a fleet of over 40 fishing boats.
Today, Port Broughton is a major port for prawn boats and fishing vessels that work in Spencer Gulf, oysters are also cultivated in the clear waters of the bay.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B 23077
Built in 1968.
Built by the South Australian Government as a deep sea port for the farmers of Southern Yorke Peninsula, the jetty was officially opened in 1970.
The jetty stretches into the sea for 609 metres, is 11.5 metres deep for the last 250 metres and can handle ships up to 40 tonnes.
A favourite for local recreational fishers; the Port Giles jetty is closed to the public when there is a ship in port or maintenance activities but accessible at other times. Visit http://portmis.flindersports.com.au for access information.
Built in 1914.
The Port Hughes jetty was built in 1914, forty years later than many other trading ports on Yorke Peninsula and was seldom used for trading.
Local fisherman reaped the benefits of the jetty in the 1890s when the steam railway was extended to Moonta and they could pack their catches in ice and send them to the highly lucrative markets in Melbourne.
Today, the jetty is enjoyed by recreational fishers and divers.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/44/343
Built in 1860.
A thriving port from the 1860s, ketches sailed in for their cargo of wheat or barley until the last harvest of 1967 when the ketch Annie Watt sailed out with the last load. Port Julia was also the main port for incoming cargo to the peninsula.
During the height of trade long queues of horse drawn vehicles would line up to unload their stacks of grain as deck hands skilfully placed the cargo to enable a safe passage.
Today the jetty and cargo shed are all that remain of the past era; both are enjoyed equally by recreational fishers and family picnickers.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/16/29
Built in 1879.
The jetty was 122 metres long with a low tide depth of 3.3 metre, which allowed sailing ships to be loaded directly from the jetty, instead of cargo being ferried out to them by smaller ketches.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B 25058
Built in 1876.
Known as the 'last of the windjammer ports' - Port Victoria was the last port in Australia to load a 'windjammer' (a square rigged ship) and is steeped in maritime history.
The windjammers would often anchor a mile off shore to save on wharfage fees and ketches would ferry their cargo back and forth carrying 800 to 1,000 bags of grain at a time. Some of the larger ships carried up to 60,000 bags of grain and would take 6-8 weeks to load!
Many ships left Port Victoria bound for the English Channel by way of Cape Horn, in 1932 twenty ships left for this journey and began what was known as the "Great Grain Races".
The last large sailing ship to dock here was the Cardigan Castle who left in February 1879 loaded with 1,800 tons of wheat from the recent harvest.
The last square-rigger to use the port was the Passat who left laden with 56,651 bags of wheat on the 2nd of June 1949.
Today Port Victoria is a mecca for scuba divers, there are 8 shipwrecks off the coast around Wardang Island forming an underwater trail.
For further information visit the Port Victoria Maritime Museum, housed in the original general cargo store along side the Port Victoria jetty.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/38/102
Wharf was built between 1902 and 1909.
An old time port where ketches plied the waters with their cargos of grain, loaded from the Port Vincent Wharf, this was the only port on Southern Yorke Peninsula with a wharf until the 1920s. The northern end of the wharf was extended in 1926 and navigational lead lights were added soon after to assist night shipping.
The steamship Karatta was a familiar visitor to Port Vincent bringing passengers and supplies, regular steam services ceased in 1949.
Today Port Vincent is a holiday playground and the bay is filled with yachts, luxury cruisers and fishing vessels. The Port Vincent marina development is situated at the northern end of the town with 90 berths ranging in size and excellent facilities including a modern public boat ramp.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/14/603
Built in 1905.
Bags of grain were stacked on the cliffs tops and a slide was used to slip the bags down to the jetty and onto waiting trucks. The horse drawn trucks then ferried the cargo 300m along the jetty to waiting ketches.
In 1914 limestone from the Stansbury cliffs was shipped to the Birkenhead depot of the Adelaide Cement Company. Gulf trips to Stansbury from Adelaide operated twice a week carrying mail, passengers and supplies.
The jetty ceased trading in the 1960s but is still utilized today by recreational fishers and visiting yachts.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, PRG 280/1/1/30
Once a thriving port, bagged gypsum mined from Inneston was delivered by tramway and loaded onto ketches from the now heritage listed Stenhouse Bay jetty. A high quality of gypsum was found in this region; it was washed, roasted and ground for use in plaster of paris and cement.
After the depression in the 1930s gypsum producers amalgamated their operations at Stenhouse Bay, which enabled the port to flourish.
The vessel Hougomont was scuttled at Stenhouse Bay in 1933 on the southern tip of land in the bay. This acted as an artificial reef to help shelter the waters around the jetty for easier access and loading of cargo.
Trade ceased in 1969 but the bins and loading facilities are still intact today as a reminder of this thriving era. The jetty is now a favourite fishing and diving spot.
Photograph courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, B 32081
Built in 1862.
With the district prospering from the Wallaroo Mines and Wallaroo Smelters the jetty was built in 1862 to dispatch copper, wool and general cargo from the township.
By 1878 railway lines had been established linking Wallaroo, Moonta, Kadina and finally Port Wakefield, which brought more produce into the port.
The jetty soon became inadequate and was doubled in width in 1879 to accommodate six vessels at once. A second jetty (1880 - 1927) was erected to service the increasing size and volume of vessels with a third jetty built in 1927 after the introduction of broad gauge railway to Wallaroo.
Wallaroo became one of the busiest ports in the state with schooners, cutters, barques and steamers arriving with supplies and leaving laden with copper ingots, wool and wheat. Bulk grain loading facilities were added in 1958 and a fishing wharf in 1971.
This role continues today with the export of grain - a channel has been dredged to allow the berthing of large bulk carriers.
Built in 1882.
Established to ship wool and grain from the nearby pastoral runs, Wool Bay was named because the cutting down to the beach was just wide enough to roll a wool bale through!
A steamship serviced the town twice a week bringing in supplies.
In 1970 nearby Port Giles introduced bulk grain handling facilities and the importance of Wool Bay as a port soon declined.
Charles Dry, a lime burner from Stansbury also exported lime from here and later built the Wool Bay lime kilns. For unknown reasons the kilns here never worked properly, the remains can still be seen in the foreshore cliffs as a reminder of past history.