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History

Port MacDonnell - Short History 

 

Port MacDonnell is located 450km south east of Adelaide, and is the southern most town in South Australia.

The District Council of Grant is privleged to be on Boandik Country and acknowledges the contributions of Aboriginal Australians and non-Aboriginal Australians to the development of all peoples in this country we live in and share together - Australia.

Port MacDonnell was first sighted by a European when Lieutenant James Grant, sailing the HMS Lady Nelson down the coast on 3 December 1800, observed the coastline.  It was at this time that he named Cape Northumberland and Mount Gambier, which is only 28 km inland.

The town's name comes from Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell who was the Governor of South Australia from 1855-1862.  The town officially became a port on 4 April 1860. 

For the next twenty years, servicing the local district, it gained a reputation as one of the state's busiest ports (second only to Port Adelaide) shipping wheat and wool from the local area around the world.  Clippers arrived to carry the wheat and wool to England.  In the 1880s the port became so important that the jetty was extended to reach 1700 feet into the harbour.

As part of the critical infrastructure of early maritime trading, the south east coast of South Australia has seen many vessels come to grief, and there is a rich maritime history to be discovered at the Port MacDonnell & District Maritime Museum.  Today Port MacDonnell is famous for its lobsters, having the largest lobster fishing fleet in Australia.

Find out more about Port MacDonnell's history by visiting the Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum - The entrance is located within the Port MacDonnell Community Complex and is open to the public daily.

 

Stories of Port MacDonnell Brochure

Port MacDonnell Historic Trail Brochure

Cape Northumberland Lighthouse 

 

 

Port MacDonnell celebrated 150 years as a Port in 2010