"Port Augusta. Exciting." Port Augusta by australia2

Port Augusta Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 94 photos

Very interesting history.

(N.B. After you view the video clip here click your browser 'Back' arrow to return here and then onwards.)
For me Port Augusta, at the head of Spencer Gulf in South Australia, is a launching place. Coming from south or east, the traveller stands nervously at the Gateway to the real Australian Outback.
West to the Nullarbor Plain and beyond or north to Coober Pedy, Alice Springs etc.
In 1802 the coastline explorer/navigator, Matthew Flinders, an Englishman of course, experienced extreme disappointment here. He was, arguably, the most important man in Australia's history of exploration. Certainly from the maritime point of view. On his circumnavigation of Australia, the first such achievement, he sailed his ship, the 'Investigator' into Spencer Gulf from his charting and English naming of the Southern Ocean edge of the continent. He hoped to, at last, find the (non-existant but theorised) inland sea via this gulf. His ship was probably the first one just here.
He and his companions ended up hauling their cutter in river mud flats at this point and had to give up !
The nearby Flinders Ranges and Flinders Island remind us of his importance. He named the Island for his younger brother on board, Samuel.
History has it that Flinders was responsible for enthusiatically promoting the name 'Australia'.
His life ended tragically of sicknesses in London in 1814 at age 48. He had been improperly imprisoned by the Napoleonic French for five years at Mauritius. He called there for supplies as he was returning to England and to his wife, Ann. He was not aware that the war between England and France had re-commenced.
When he finally got back to England he had not seen Ann for seven years altogether.
The whole huge episode left him a destroyed man.
Ironically, the day he died, The Admirately published his mammoth work 'A Voyage to Terra Australis'.
A man of immense importance to the nation of Australia.

Overnight stay in Port Augusta and then Off west to Ceduna.

A unfitting aspect of Port Augusta.

Inappropriately to the attractive aspects of Port Augusta is the fact
that it was in the local shopping centre that the 'outback murderer' Bradley Murdoch was cornered and arrested.
See my 'Barrow Creek' page for the horrifying story.
A click is all it takes - but come back again.

  • Last visit to Port Augusta: May 1994
  • Intro Updated Jan 31, 2014
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Comments (2)

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    Hi Laurie,I enjoyed reading all your gr8 South Australia pgs. Interesting about the German influence in Hahndorf & Big Red the border guard's COOL. Bight & a bite, like that word play ; ) So sad that Matthew Flinders died a “destroyed man” WELL DONE Mate!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2004 at 7:54 PM

    your right, it is the place where one has to decide which direction to take......nervously, exactly right!!

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