Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in South Australia. It is bounded on the east by Spencer Gulf, the west by the Great Australian Bight, and the north by the Gawler Ranges. It is named after explorer Edward John Eyre who explored some of it in 1839-1841. The coastline was first explored by Matthew Flinders in 1801-1802. The west coast was also visited by Nicolas Baudin at around the same time.
The peninsula was explored by a party led by John Charles Darke in 1844, who was killed by local aborigines on the return to Port Lincoln.
The main towns are Port Lincoln on the southern point, Whyalla and Port Augusta at the north east, and Ceduna at the northwest. They are connected by the Eyre Highway which runs east-west across the peninsula. The Flinders Highway and Lincoln Highway follow the west and east coasts, meeting at Port Lincoln in the south. The Tod Highway bisects the peninsula, running north-south through the town of Lock from Port Lincoln to the Gawler Ranges.
The Eyre Peninsula has a growing population of around 55,390 people.
The major industry is farming - cereal crops, sheep, and cattle in the drier north and more water-intensive activities such as dairy farming and a growing wine industry in the south. Many coastal towns have commercial fishing fleet, the largest being located at Port Lincoln. The town has previously harbored a large tuna-fishing fleet, which is gradually transforming its practise to fish farming with the growth of sea cage aquaculture. Oyster farming was established in the 1980s and occurs in several sheltered bays including Franklin Harbour (near Cowell in Spencer Gulf) and Smoky Bay off the west coast.
There is a commercial nephrite jade mine near Cowell. Iron ore is mined by Arrium in the Middleback Range near Iron Knob, inland from Whyalla. Some of the product is smelted to produce feedstock for the Whyalla Steelworks. Increasing volumes of iron ore are also being exported from Whyalla directly to Asia.
The 2000's saw increased mineral exploration activity on Eyre Peninsula. As of 2013, some of the more advanced mine development projects include: Ironclad Mining Ltd's Wilcherry Hill, Centrex Metals Ltd's Fusion Magnetite Project and Iron Road Ltd's Central Eyre Iron Project.
To facilitate prospective mines, new freight corridors and ports have been proposed to export minerals from Spencer Gulf. New port proposals are in place at Port Bonython, Lucky Bay, Cape Hardy and Sheep Hill (Lipson Cove). A proposal to export iron ore from Port Lincoln by Centrex Metals Ltd was approved but abandoned after strong public opposition.
The peninsula is served by the isolated narrow-gauge Eyre Peninsula Railway. This line is separated from the main system by desert country, and there has therefore never been any need for a connecting link.
Port Bonython Fuels, a future fuel distribution hub has been approved to be constructed at Port Bonython to aid the development of the mining industry. Once constructed and operational, fuel will be delivered to towns and mine sites by road tankers up to A-triple class.
Eyre Peninsula features a variety of National Parks, Conservation Parks and Regional Reserves. The following list is not exhaustive.
Eyre Peninsula National Parks
Eastern Eyre Peninsula Parks
- Lake Gilles Conservation Park
- Ironstone Hill Conservation Park
- Munyaroo Conservation Park
- Heggaton Conservation Park
- Sheoak Hill Conservation Park
- The Plug Range Conservation Park
- Whyalla Conservation Park
Eyre Peninsula Island Conservation Parks
- Nuyts Archipelago Conservation Park
- Sir Joseph Banks Group Conservation Park
- Tumby Island Conservation Park
Other Eyre Peninsula Parks
- Calpatanna Waterhole Conservation Park
- Lake Newland Conservation Park
- Laura Bay Conservation Park
- Mamungari Conservation Park
- Pinkawillinie Conservation Park
- Point Labatt Conservation Park
- Venus Bay Conservation Park
- Wahgunyah Conservation Park
- Wittelbee Conservation Park
- Yellabinna Regional Reserve
- Yumbarra Conservation Park
In January 2005, the Eyre Peninsula was the site of major bushfires killing 9 people.
In the 1920's, seven people were killed during the construction of the Tod Reservoir, north of Port Lincoln.
The area is also known as the Eyre Coastal Plain, is part of the Eyre Yorke Block bioregion, and is a distinct physiographic section of the larger Eucla Basin province, which in turn is part of the larger West Australian Shield division.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Eyre Peninsula.|
- Eyre Peninsula – Australia's Seafood Frontier - Official Tourism Website
- Terraserver.com navigable satellite map of the Eyre Peninsula.
- Eyre Peninsula travel guide from Wikivoyage
- SouthAustralia.com Eyre Peninsula - Travel Guides, Accommodation, Online Booking