Port MacDonnell, South Australia
31 October 1996 (locality)
|LGA(s)||District Council of Grant|
|State electorate(s)||Mount Gambier |
Port MacDonnell, originally known as Ngaranga is the southernmost town in South Australia. The small port located on the Not in the Great Australian Bight in the Limestone Coast region about 477 kilometres (296 mi) southeast of Adelaide and 28 kilometres (17 mi) south of Mount Gambier in the District Council of Grant local government area. The 2016 Australian census which was conducted in August 2016 reports that the locality of Port MacDonnell had a population of 847 of which 671 lived in its town centre. Once a busy shipping port, the town now relies heavily on its fishing and summer tourism industries, particularly rock lobster harvest industry, proclaiming itself "Australia's Southern Rock Lobster Capital".
The area was originally inhabited by the Bungandidj Aborigines, who referred to it as Ngaranga, possibly meaning "noisy" or "caves". Their oral history recorded that the dry land previously extended southwards from this area, before it was flooded.
The first Europeans to see the area were led by explorer Lieutenant James Grant in HMS Lady Nelson on 3 December 1800. In 1860 the area was proclaimed an official port, was given a name, and was surveyed. It is named after Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell who was Governor of South Australia from 1855 to 1862.
In the 1880s, it was one of Australia's busiest ports, shipping large quantities of wheat and wool to Europe.
The following have been listed as state heritage places on the South Australian Heritage Register – the Cape Northumberland Lighthouse, the Dingley Dell Museum and the Former Port MacDonnell customs house.
The town of Port MacDonnell is set on flat swampy land in a bay between rocky capes of spectacular wave eroded formations the most spectacular being those to the near west at Cape Northumberland. The port's harbour itself is formed by a large artificially constructed rock breakwater, while the coastline is sandy beaches and rock outcrops providing shelter to the port from the rough seas. The rock provides substantial habitat for the southern rock lobster which is the town's main industry and colonies of little penguin.
Cape Northumberland has a prominent lighthouse which dates to 1882. An earlier 1858 lighthouse was the first in South Australia however was demolished after it was in danger of collapse. A monument marks the site.
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- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Port MacDonnell (Urban centre)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Port MacDonnell (locality)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
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- "Cape Northumberland Lighthouse". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "Dingley Dell Museum". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "'The Customs House' (former Port MacDonnell Customs House, Courthouse, Telegraph Station and Police Station)". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 12 May 2017.