Robe

An historic port which today has become a popular holiday destination.

Where is it?: South East. 336 km south east of Adelaide on Guichen Bay.




Robe is surrounded by conservation parks and offers outstanding off-road experiences. Drive along the famous 17 kilometre Long Beach, a fantastic spot for fishing, swimming and surfing. Explore the many four-wheel drive vehicle tracks through Little Dip Conservation Park. The park provides peace, solitude and a truly Australian escape - allowing visitors the opportunity to see the beautiful, rugged environment up close. Stay on the tracks to avoid damage to the sensitive coastal ecosystem.

Between Robe in the north and Beachport in the south stretches a series of coastal lakes which have been recognised as the Lake Hawdon System Important Bird Area because of their global importance for waterbirds.

Robe is known for its crayfish, which can be purchased from local outlets, or ordered at local hotels and restaurants. Anglers will delight at the quality and choice of fishing locations. Choose from rock fishing, surf fishing wharf or open water fishing.

Heritage features: Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church (1859); Moorakyne House (1856); Karatta House (1860); Old Gaol ruins (1861); Court House (1855); The Bush Inn, Robetown (built 1852, licensed 1855); Historic Interpretative Centre; The Lodge and The Old Cottage (1850); Caledonian Inn (1859); Robe Hotel; former Telegraph Station and Post Office (1858); former Customs House (1863) and Signal Cannon; 'Grey Masts' Woolstore (1853); The Ormerond Cottages (former Barracks, c.1863); Obelisk on Cape Dombey (originally built to help shipping); 'Lakeside' and Stables (c.1881); Nora Creina Historic Reserve (Aboriginal middens)

Built features: Cape Dombey lighthouse; Narraburra Woolshed; Koenig Cannon; Chinese Monument; Monument to Matthew Flinders; Drainage system; (constructed in stages since 1862 to the completion of major works in 1969, incorporating Lake Fox, Lake Nunan, Lake Battye, Lake Ling).

Cape Dombey obelisk

About Robe

Natural features: Baudin Rocks Conservation Park (8 km north); Guichen Bay Conservation Park (8 km north); Little Dip Conservation Park (3 km south); Lake Fellmongery (fellmongery means woolwash); Cape Dombey; Doorway Rock; Little Dip Conservation Park (4 km south); Reedy Creek Conservation Park; Long Beach (17 km-long); Hawden Lakes North and South; Lake Eliza; Lake St Clair.

Robe Customs House

Origin of name: named after Gov. Frederick Holt Robe who sailed into Guichen Bay in 1846 aboard the Government cutter, Lapwing in search of a site for the town. In 1846 it was surveyed by Thomas Burr. Governor Robe was one of South Australia's most unpopular governors. The bay had been named after Admiral De Guichen in 1802 by French explorer Nicholas Baudin as he sailed the South Australian coast.

Brief history: Guichen Bay became a popular entry point for new arrivals from Europe, particularly those seeking their fame and fortune on the Victorian goldfields and Robe became the third busiest port in South Australia after Port Adelaide and Port Macdonnell.

In the late 1840s substantial numbers of Irish and Scottish immigrants reached the port. In 1857 the town gained widespread infamy when Chinese gold miners trying to avoid a 10 tax imposed at Victorian ports landed at Robe and walked to the Victorian goldfields. In that year some 20,000 Chinese miners landed at Robe so as to avoid paying the tax which was more than most had paid for their sea voyage to Australia.

Robe's importance as a port declined as the goldrush declined, after which it became established as a fishing port. A major swamp clearing project began in 1863 that turned previously useless marshy ground into rich wheat and barley farmland by the creation of an elaborate and deep drainage system. There are 1450 km of drains and 500 bridges in the area.

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