Port Elliot, South Australia

From colonial port to seaside town

Horseshoe Bay, where a seaport was established in the 1850s for the cargo that came down the Murray River. The Murray mouth was too dangerous for ships to navigate so the cargo was offloaded at Goolwa and then went overland to what became Port Elliot. Horseshoe Bay is now a very popular beach for holiday makers.

Port Elliot was only used as a port for a few years as a number of ship wrecks in Horseshoe Bay meant that a safer port was established at Victor Harbour by the mid 1860s. These ruins are those of the harbourmaster's cottage. It was a tiny little cottage overlooking Horseshoe Bay.

The Harbourmaster's walk which leads down to the jetty, and now also leads to other walking paths along the coastline.

View from one of these paths, the Southern Ocean, next stop Antarctica.

The Port Elliot train station, once the end of the line and now a stop on the Goolwa to Victor Harbour line. A little steam train travels along the line for tourists  (and locals!) to catch on weekends and public holidays.

As Port Elliot was at the time a major town, the main street has the buildings that reflect its importance.

It had a courthouse, with the decline of the town it was no longer used as a courthouse and the building was given over to the RSL, the Returned Services League.

The Council Chamber, to me this is the smallest council chamber I've ever seen! A war memorial to those who died in World War I next to it.

The Institute building, in the early years of colonial South Australia, towns built Institutes as gathering places for the townspeople, places where cultural performances could be attended, local dances be enjoyed.

The main street called The Strand which now is a historical precinct, looking down away from the water and over to the rolling hillside in the background.

When Port Elliot was no longer used as a port, the town went into decline, but by the beginning of the 20th century, it became one of the towns on the south coast where holiday makers from Adelaide would come to enjoy the sea air.

At the top of The Strand is this old guest house, the faded sign gives the original name of the Arcadia Hotel, currently it's a YHA hostel for young holiday makers.

Closeby the railway station is the art deco, Hotel Elliot.

The town is still a popular holiday spot, a very Australian beachside town, with no fast food chains, no high-rise buildings, just holiday homes.

All part of the streetscape that is The Strand.

Port Elliot has a very well known bakery, it's always crowded! One of the days I was there recently it was cold and windy, not exactly a day for day-trippers to visit the local area, and it was still full of people!

This bun is called a Kitchener Bun, it's a local South Australian delicacy. (A particularly large version from the Port Elliot bakery!) It's called a Kitchener Bun to reflect solidarity and patriotism during World War I in South Australia. The original bun was a German one called a Berliner, a type of round jam centred donut. South Australia had a large German population and with the xenophobia of World War I, place names that were German were changed, people from German backgrounds were interred and even a humble bun was renamed.

Along with the renaming it was sliced open on the side and cream was added (there's still jam in the centre) And in a fit of patriotism, it was named after Lord Kitchener who was the British commander of troops. The name remains, though I don't think many South Australians who eat a Kitchener bun even realise the origin of the name, it's just what this bun is called!