Rapid Bay, South Australia
|Time zone||ACST (UTC+9:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||ACDT (UTC+10:30)|
|Location||100 km (62 mi) S of Adelaide|
|LGA(s)||District Council of Yankalilla|
Rapid Bay is the name of both a locality (postcode 5204) including a small seaside town and a small bay on the west coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. It lies within the District Council of Yankalilla and its township is approximately 100 km south of the state capital, Adelaide. It is well known for its limestone quarry and its pair of jetties which are popular sites for recreational fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling.
South Australia Colonial Surveyor General Colonel William Light made his first landfall on mainland South Australia at Rapid Bay on 8 September 1836. The site was named after Light's ship, the 162 ton brig Rapid. To mark this historic landfall the Colonel's initials, "W.L.", were carved into a large boulder – a replica is visible in the township, while the original is stored in the South Australian Museum, in Adelaide. The first European child born on mainland South Australia was delivered at Rapid Bay on 7 November 1836. His name was John Rapid Hoare.
BHP constructed the town, an ore-loading jetty and a high voltage power line from Willunga during the period 1938 to 1942 as part of the works undertaken to establish the limestone quarry. Mining commenced in 1942.
The BHP Jetty was 1,600 feet long, with a 650 ft long 'T' section for ship-loading. The jetty terminates in 30 feet of water (at lowest tide). Above the water, the jetty is slowly decaying and is off-limits to the general public. Below the water, the jetty provides habitat for a variety of temperate marine life. Since its closure, the above-water structure has also become a valuable roost for seabirds.
Rapid Bay is known for its imposing cliffs, caves and beach. It has a pair of jetties with a resident leafy seadragon population. It is a popular recreational fishing site and is considered to be one of Australia's premiere scuba diving sites. The older jetty built by BHP was damaged by storms in 2004 and was progressively closed in stages to prevent public access for safety reasons.
In 2002, HMAS Hobart, a decommissioned guided missile destroyer, which was scuttled in 30 metres (98 ft) of water, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north-northwest of Rapid Head (i.e. the headland at the west side of the bay), is also a popular scuba diving site.
Rapid Bay shoreline looking towards Second Valley.
- City of Holdfast Bay: Tjilbruke Heritage & the Kaurna People
- Elder, David F., 'Light, William (1786–1839)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, , accessed 11 October 2012.
- Cowan, David. "History". Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- The Recorder "B.H.P. at Rapid Bay - Limestone Plant Near Completion" (1942-04-17) Retrieved 2013-11-20.
- Australia 'the best destination for shore diving'
- 'Rapid Bay', , retrieved 11/10/2012.
- 'The Location', , retrieved 11/10/2012.
- Friends of Rapid Bay Jetty, retrieved 11/10/2012.
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