Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

We invite organisations to submit information for inclusion on this site. Please click here to email your information to the Directory Editor, Ros Stirling.



Find Beachport

Beachport, 385 kilometres south-east of Adelaide, was settled by the Henty brothers in the 1830s, who established the first whaling station in South Australia's south east at this site.

Beachport Primary School circa 1890 (courtesy Beachport National Trust)

The area was known as 'Wirmalngrang' by its indigenous Aboriginal occupants. Rivoli Bay was named by French navigator Nicholas Baudin when he surveyed the coast in 1802.

Following the 1876 shipwreck of the 'Geltwood' at the southern end of Rivoli Bay, the Parliament passed a bill to set up a port at the location.

Beachport 1909 (courtesy Beachport National Trust)

Beachport was officially recognised by its current name in 1878. It was named in honour of the then-Secretary of State for the Colonies, M.E. Hicks-Beach, rather than for its beaches.

Work on a jetty also began in 1878. It now stretches more than 700 metres into the sea and is the second longest in the state. A railway line between Beachport and Mt Gambier opened in the same year, but closed in 1956.

Beachport Railway Station circa 1930 (courtesy Beachport National Trust )

The 'Bompas' building (1878) was constructed by Peter McQueen not long after Beachport was declared a town. A liquor license was held for the building until 1889. The Bay View Hotel (now Beachport Hotel) was built in 1879-80 and has been extended since its initial construction.

The Beachport Post Office was constructed in 1879-80, replacing a tin shed where the postal service had previously been housed.

Beachport Foreshore 1935 (courtesy Beachport National Trust)

Beachport's first school opened in 1879, though the first permanent school building at the corner of Chambers and McCourt Streets opened in 1881. The town's other early intellectual needs were catered to in temporary premises until the Institute main building and reading room were completed in 1882.

Beachport's original police station (now privately owned) was established in 1881.

National Trust Museum (courtesy Beachport National Trust)

In April 1882 the District Council of Beachport came into existence. The original council chambers are now used as holiday units.

A customs office was established in the late 1800s to collect customs duties on goods being transported between the states. After interstate tariffs were abolished when Australia federated in 1901 it became a railway office. The building has since been restored to resemble its 19th century functions.

Beachport's industries today include tourism, fishing, viticulture, agriculture and aquaculture.

Beachport & District National Trust of SA 'Old Wool & Grain Store Museum'
Information: The mission statement of the Beachport & District National Trust of SA 'Old Wool & Grain Store Museum' states that: 'Our vision is to honor and recognize the Boandik people who were the original inhabitants of this area (and) the lives of our forebears through collecting and displaying artefacts which are used by of important to the people of the Beachport town and district. The building in which the collection is housed is in iteself a unique part of the history of life in the early days of Beachport. The Branch is committed to the preservation of this historic building'. The Museum itself contains upstairs rooms furnished in the manner of the period as they were once home to the various managers of the Wool Store. The main body of the building, where wool and produce were stored, now has displays showing a large range of blacksmith tools, farming and fishing gear. The three rooms in the rear contain relics from local shipwrecks, copies of diaries and early household equipment. A new whaling display and old tractors, which will form part of a proposed agricultural display, are held in the extension through to Lagoon Road.
President Phone: 08 8735 8029
Contact: Elaine M Donaldson (President)
Phone: 08 8735 8038

c/- Post Office
Beachport SA 5280

Email: elaine.donaldson@wattlerange.sa.gov.au
Beachport Visitor Information Centre
Information: Open daily. Mon to Fri from 9am to 5pm; weekends in summer from 10am to 4pm; and weekends in winter from 10am to 1pm.
Phone: 08 8735 8029
Fax: 08 8735 8309

Millicent Road
Beachport SA 5280

Postal Address:

PO Box 27
Millicent SA 5280

Email: beachport@wattlerange.sa.gov.au
Website: http://www.wattlerange.sa.gov.au



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