Port Germein, S.A.

Port Germein is a small sea-side town in the Australian state of South Australia located about 219 kilometres north of the state capital of Adelaide and about 19 kilometres north of the city of Port Pirie on the eastern side of South Australia's Spencer Gulf overlooking Germein Bay. Port Germein was named after Samuel Germein, who discovered it in 1840. though some credit his brother John with the discovery .

Where is it?: 251 km north of Adelaide.

Surrounding area

Port Germein Gorge

Take a sceinic drive through the gorge. Magnificent gum trees line the narrow creek with spectacular closeup views of the rocks on the cliff faces.

Telowie Gorge

Located 10 km east of Port Germein is Telowie Gorge, its diverse landforms having been created by Telowie Creek, which over time has cut a deep gorge through the range. Today, the gorge creates a rich variety of habitats for animals and plants from both the southern temperate and arid regions. During winter, Telowie Creek flows from the gorge onto the plains.


Located 242 km from Adelaide and 36 km from Port Germein, Wirrabara was originally settled by Europeans in 1844. A timber milling industry was established in Wirrabara during the early 1850s. The town was surveyed in 1874. In 1877 the first government forest nursery in Australia was planted in the nearby Wirrabara forest. The town's name is a corruption of the Aboriginal name Wirrabirra which means gum forest and running water. The Wilmington railway line was extended north from Gladstone and Laura through Wirrabara and Booleroo Centre to Wilmington in the 1910s after the locals had been pleading with the government to build it for many years. The Horrocks Highway (Main North Road) today passes through the town.

The historic Copper Mine Chimney, Wirrabara on Main North Road, a remnant of the former Charlton mine, is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

Brief History

Port Germein was once an important transport hub for the surrounding districts following the opening of its jetty in 1881 - at the time known as the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to the shallow water along the coast, the long jetty was built to allow sailing ships to be loaded with grain from surrounding districts. Bagged wheat came from the local area, the eastern side of the Southern Flinders Ranges via Port Germein Gorge (opened in 1879), and from the west coast in smaller boats. About 100,000 bags of wheat were loaded per year.

The jetty was extended to its full length of 1680m in 1883. With the opening of the port came an influx of workers from Adelaide, and by 1900 the town's population had grown to over 300. Use of the port declined when rail was extended to Port Germein in 1934, and the jetty was later reduced to its present length of 1532m due to storm damage. The historic Port Germein Jetty Site is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

A lighthouse was erected at the end of the jetty in 1894, replacing the Port Germein Lightship. The lighthouse was manned until July 1917, when it was replaced by an AGA flashing light. The lighthouse was re-established at its current site in 1975.

It formerly had its own municipality, the District Council of Port Germein; since 1980, it has been part of the District Council of Mount Remarkable.

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