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Developing Trade and port histories: Outports - Fleurieu Peninsula ports continued

Fleurieu Peninsula ports continued  

Normanville

Normanville was established in 1849. Part of the rich southern Fleurieu Peninsula, the region produced sheep, potatoes and wheat. Flour mills were erected at Second Valley, Yankalilla and Normanville, and dairy farming and timber were other industries. A seaport for all of this was required. In March 1853 the local community petitioned for a jetty. This was built by 1855 and was 115 metres long with a depth of 2 metres at low tide.

Not particularly well built, it was sited near the mouth of the Bungala River and during a flood in 1856 the sand beneath the jetty was washed away, exposing the jetty's construction and damaging it beyond repair. Another jetty was built but was considered unsatisfactory. In 1865 Normanville was declared a port and in 1866 work began on a new jetty, which was completed in 1868; this lasted until 1921 when a fourth jetty was built, this one at Haycock Point. The site was poorly chosen as the jetty was exposed to the wind and a constant swell. The jetty was demolished. Road transport had by this time largely taken over the role of the ketches in cargo carriage. The jetty remaining at Normanville was shortened, and is now only 67 metres long.

Second Valley

A wharf extending out from a rocky point was erected at Second Valley in 1855; from the end of this projected a wooden quay and there was a depth of 1.8 metres at low tide. A tramway ran along the wharf and quay to facilitate loading. A flour mill was erected at Second Valley in 1858/59, and flour became a major export from the little port, as well as wheat. In the 1860s a number of large sailing ships loaded at Second Valley for Sydney and Melbourne.

The wharf was severely damaged in July 1867 during a storm which washed most of the structure away. A jetty was built in 1871 to replace the wharf and quay. This was extensively repaired in 1907 and a cutwater was added to break the force of the waves. This jetty fared no better, was demolished in 1910 and a new jetty built in the same year. Its 45 metres length was inadequate and in 1911 it was extended an additional 23 metres and two dolphins were installed at the end. These were later removed. Coast Steamship Company's SS Karatta called at Second Valley on her way to and from Kangaroo Island for many years, but the main vessels using the little port were ketches. Exports included wheat, wool, wattle bark and general cargo. For a brief period ores from several local mines were exported. Timber, fertiliser and general cargo were the main imports.

The jetty was shortened in 1945 and 1953 and upgraded in 2001. Road transport, as elsewhere, took over the role of the ketch trade, and today the jetty is used by fishermen and holiday makers.

Rapid Bay

Rapid Bay was one of the earliest sites in South Australia to be settled. Colonel William Light, the colony's Surveyor General landed there in September 1836, named it after his ship and planted a garden there. This early settlement however did not develop beyond a small settlement. A jetty was not built at Rapid Bay until 1867. However it was badly sited and poorly constructed, giving a bare 80cm of water at its end. The jetty was destroyed in a storm in 1916. No replacement was erected until 1942. Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd (BHP) tested limestone deposits near the town, and finding it satisfactory, built a jetty for its export. This jetty was 487.7 metres long with a T head. It was built specifically to accommodate the conveyor belt and associated machinery.

BHP ceased mining the limestone quarries in 1981. These were subsequently taken over by Adelaide Brighton Cement, but use of the jetty for shipping the limestone ceased in 1991. Since then the jetty's condition has deteriorated, and in 1999 removal of 25% of the jetty was recommended. In 2003 the jetty was closed for use by fishermen and scuba divers, because it was considered dangerous. A public campaign was conducted by the Friends of Rapid Bay Jetty, and in September 2006 the South Australian government agreed to replace the jetty. Work on the concrete and steel jetty commenced in August 2008 and it was opened to the public in February 2009. The new jetty is 240 metres long, utilises solar panels for the lighting and stairs and platforms for scuba divers. It is expected that the old jetty will continue to remain in place alongside the new jetty as it supports a diversity of marine life including the leafy sea dragon.

Further reading

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

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

Towler, David J.  A fortunate locality:  a history of Noarlunga and District.  Kent Town, Peacock Publications, 1986.

Blum, Ron The Second Valley:  a history of Second Valley, South Australia.  Oaklands Park, Ron Blum, 2002.

Williams, RF To find the way:  Yankalilla and District 1836-1986.  Yankalilla, Yankalilla and District Historical Society, 1991

Manning, Geoffrey The tragic shore:  the wreck of the Star of Greece and a history of the jetties of Port Willunga.  Willunga, National Trust of S.A., Willunga Branch, 1988. 

Ash, Aidan  A nice place for a harbour or is it?  Investigating a maritime cultural landscape:  Port Willunga, South Australia.  Bedford Park, Dept. of Archaeology, Flinders University, 2005. 

Successful fight for Rapid Bay Tourist site:  3.9 m for a safe jetty.  The Advertiser, Saturday 9 September 2006, p.16

Rapid Bay jetty open The Times, Thursday 26 February 2009, p. 1

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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