|LGA(s)||Yorke Peninsula Council|
|Region||Yorke and Mid North|
Edithburgh // is a small town on the south-east corner of Yorke Peninsula situated on the coastline of Salt Creek Bay, in the state of South Australia. Edithburgh is about 50 km (31 mi) west of Adelaide across Gulf St Vincent, but 226 km (140 mi) away by road. At the 2016 census, the locality had a population of 516 of which 454 lived in its town centre.
The first European pioneers arrived in the 1840s and were sheep graziers and pastoralists. With closer settlement, in 1869 the Marine Board fixed a site for a jetty to service the developing farming district. An adjacent town was then surveyed, the layout closely emulating (on a smaller scale) that of Adelaide, with a belt of parklands. Edithburgh was named by Governor Sir James Fergusson after his wife Edith. The new jetty opened in 1873.
2019 November Fires
From 20 to 21 November 2019, at least 11 homes were destroyed or damaged by fires burning across the Yorke Peninsula. On 21 November, a stubble fire threatened Edithburgh, Coobowie and Wool Bay as it burnt towards the coast, fanned by strong south-westerly winds. At the height of the emergency, many residents of the area took shelter overnight in the Edithburgh Town Hall. No lives were lost, and it was found to have been caused by a power network fault.
Edithburgh originally developed as a port for servicing the pastoralist pioneers. In the 1870s grain farming became a mainstay of the local economy, which it still is. At the turn of the 20th Century additional industries were established in the form of gypsum mining and salt refining. There are vast salt lakes in the area, from which salt was scraped and exported as far as Russia. Among those refineries was the Standard Salt Company, operated by C.T. McGlew. The jetty became a busy hub for exporting these commodities, as well as unloading supplies.
Nowadays the jetty is used mostly for recreational fishing and is a popular scuba diving site. There is also a small fishing and prawning fleet based there. The town is now overshadowed by the 55 wind turbines of the Wattle Point Wind Farm, located southwest of the town and opened in April 2005.
Occupying a commanding position on the coastline at semi-circular Salt Creek Bay, Edithburgh is noted for its magnificent seascapes which include steep rocky cliffs and sandy beaches. Troubridge Island can be seen offshore. As a result, tourism is now a growth industry. It is a popular holiday destination with a variety of accommodation types available including a caravan park. The Troubridge Hotel and the Edithburgh Hotel sit diagonally opposite each other at the intersection of Blanche and Edith Streets, both named after Governor Fergusson's daughters.
For those who prefer not to swim in the open sea, the town has a unique seawater swimming pool constructed at the shoreline. Its sheltered waters are refreshed with each rising tide.
Diving and snorkelling
The jetty extends eastwards into Gulf St Vincent and is 170 m in length. The jetty is supported by pylons in groups of four. Divers and snorkellers can safely and closely observe dense, multi-coloured colonies of temperate corals and sponges on the jetty pylons. The pylons also provide refuges for various fish, crustacea, nudibranchs and other marine invertebrates.
The maximum dive depth is 10–12 m and site is rewarding for visitors of all experience levels.
Jetty maintenance and habitat loss
In December 2013, maintenance works were conducted at the Edithburgh jetty by a contractor working for the local council. An estimated 50 jetty pylons were removed from the periphery of the jetty. They were either sawed off at the seabed, or pulled up from the substrate. This resulted in an immediate loss of habitat and marine life, upsetting many members of the scuba diving and marine conservation community.
Jetty pylons had been assessed some years prior by the State Government's Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (now known as the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure) and identified as a public liability risk. Impacts to the marine environment or the site's iconic status as a dive tourism hotspot do not appear to have been considered by DPTI or the local council.
Recreational divers from M.E. Dive Club witnessed the early works and arranged a group of divers to informally assess the damage the following weekend. The pylon removal works were not publicly advertised nor was the dive or tourism community consulted on the works. The Scuba Divers Federation of South Australia and the Marine Life Society of South Australia both responded to the issue by drafting letters to responsible Government bodies.
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- Adams, Gabrielle (21 November 2019). "Entire South Australian town evacuated as bushfire rages". 9News. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- on YouTube
- Siebert, Bension (22 November 2019). "Emergency services hailed as bushfire recovery begins". InDaily. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- "SA bushfire that damaged 11 properties caused by 'power network fault'". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 20 November 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
- "Edithburgh" Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine Country Getaways (accessed 2013-12-14)
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- "Edithburgh Jetty" Archived 21 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine SouthAustralia.com
- "Pylons removal next to Edithburgh jetty angers marine and dive groups on Yorke Peninsula" ABC News 2013-12-17.
- Robertson, Kim "Dive anger over jetty work" ABC News 2013-11-17.
- Oldland, Jenny "Pylon removals impact marine life" Archived 3 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Yorke Peninsula Country Times (17 December 2013). Retrieved 2014-01-03.
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