Yorke Peninsula

Yorke Peninsula was christened by Flinders on March 30, 1802, after the Right Honorable Charles Phillip Yorke, one of the first Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty who honored the voyage of the Investigator with their patronage. Flinders described the peninsula as "singular in form, having some resemblance to a very ill-shaped leg or foot." The peninsula is 120 miles long and between 20 and 30 miles wide, extending from Port Broughton in the north to past Yorketown in the south.

Indigenous History of the Yorke Peninsula

General info



The Pastoral occupation years

During the first thirty years of white settlement, the South Australian Government sold Crown Lands only for cash with prepayment. Vast tracts of Crown Lands were leased by pastoralists to run their sheep.
Pastoral development began on Yorke Peninsula in 1846, with the first leases given in 1851. The leases had a term of 14 years which gave security to many of the squatter's and rent was set at 10 shillings a square mile.


The following persons having made application for Occupation Licences;


That's the place where theres neither water, grass, nor trees — only scrub, interminable horrible, dwarf scrub, maintaining an incessant struggle for existence in the parched, scanty, hard baked soil. That is the desert, country where even squatters were mined, where shepherds used to grow mad in their solitary existence, tending forlorn sheep, which vainly sought scanty consumptive looking blades of grass — a wretched, miserable place in where even a ghost would find it hard to live!

Farming begins

Strangways introduced a bill in 1868 which was eventually passed in January 1869, despite conflict with pastoralists. There was an increasing demand for more land to be available for farmers to clear of scrub for the purpose of more intensive agriculture such as growing grain crops and mixed farming. The legislation provided for the creation of agricultural areas and sale of crown land on credit. The Act allowed a person to purchase up to 640 acres (260 ha), with a payment of 20 per cent at the fall of the hammer at auction, and four years to pay the remainder.

The pastoralists who had been leasing the land for their sheep runs on easy terms for many years, were given six months notice of the resumption of their leases. The old regime was coming to a close, squatters runs were being cut up, and in 1874 the surveyors tents might be seen.

It wasn't until 1860, when a successful wheat crop was grown at Green Plains near Kadina that an explosion of interest in agriculture began. Many workers from the Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley and the Southern Districts came to try their luck on Yorke Peninsula.


  • The following list of Hundreds situted on Yorke Peninsula, with their areas in square miles and acres, together with names of principal towns and ports in each hundred will no doubt be found both interesting and useful. The list has been compiled from material supplied by the Land and Survey Department.
  • The pastoralists who had been leasing the land for their sheep runs on easy terms for many years, were given six months notice of the resumption of their leases. The old regime was coming to a close, squatters runs were being cut up, and in 1874 the surveyors tents might be seen.

New land was opened for selection...

  • MELVILLE (78,400 acres, or 112 sq. miles) includes Yorketown, Edithburgh, Coobowie, Honiton, Sunbury,
  • Hundred of Melville, Proclaimed 18/2/1869. Map
  • DALRYMPLE (62,080 acres, or 97 sq. miles), Stansbury, Oaklands, Wool Bay.
  • Hundred of Dalrymple, Proclaimed 20/6/1872. Map
  • MOOROWIE (64,640 acres, 101 sq. miles), Warooka, Pt. Moorowie.
  • Hundred of Moorowie, Proclaimed 18/2/1869. Map
  • PARA WURLIE (80,640 acres, 126 sq. miles), Point Turton, Point Soutar.
  • Hundred of Para Wurlie, Proclaimed, 18/2/1869. Map
  • COONARIE (66,560 acres, 104 sq. miles), Point Yorke, Tucockcowie.
  • Hundred of Coonarie, Proclaimed 24/1/1878. Map
  • CARRIBIE (83,840 acres, 131 square miles), Corny Point, Daly Head, White Hut Station.
  • Hundred of Carribie, Proclaimed 25/1/1878. Map
  • WARRENBEN (105,920 acres, 165 square miles), Cape Spencer, Stenhouse Bay, Marion Bay, PondaIowie Bay.
  • Hundred of Warrenben, Proclaimed 24/1/1878. Map
  • MINLACOWIE (70,400 acres, 110 sq. miles), Minlaton, Brentwood, Port Minlacowie.
  • Hundred of Minlacowie, Proclaimed 26/3/1874. Map
  • RAMSAY (62,400 acres, 97 square miles), Port Vincent.
  • Hundred of Ramsay, Proclaimed 20//61872. Map
  • KOOLYWURTIE (50,240 acres. 78 sq. miles), Koolywurtie, Port Rickaby, Brown Point.
  • Hundred of Koolywurtie, Proclaimed 31/12/1874. Map
  • CURRAMULKA (67,200 acres, 105 sq. miles), Curramulka, Port Julia.
  • Hundred of Curramulka, Proclaimed 31/12/ 1874. Map
  • WAURALTEE (74,880 acres, 117 sq. miles), Port Victoria, Wauraltee, Mount Rat.
  • Hundred of Wauraltee, Proclaimed 31/12/1874. Map
  • MULOOWURTIE (68,480 acres, 107 sq. miles), Sandilands, Pine Point, Muloowurtie, Black Point, Point Alfred.
  • Hundred of Muloowurtie, proclaimed 31/12/1874. Map
  • KILKERRAN (78,720 acres, 123 sq. miles), Kilkerran, Balgowan, Point Pearce, South Kilkerran.
  • Hundred of Kilkerran, Proclaimed 20/6/1872. Map
  • MAITLAND (84,480 acres, 132 sq. miles), Maitland.
  • Hundred of Maitland, was proclaimed 20/6/1872. Map
  • CUNNINGHAM (85,760 acres, 134 sq .miles), Ardrossan, Price, Dowlingville.
  • Hundred of Cunningham, Proclaimed 19/6/1873. Map
  • TIPARRA (171,520 acres, 268 sq. miles), Arthurton, Agery, Wetulta, Cape Elizabeth, Winulta.
  • Hundred of Tiparra, Proclaimed 12/6/1862. Map
  • CLINTON (87,680 acres, 137 square miles), Pt. Clinton, Port Price, Clinton Centre, Kainton, Yarroo.
  • Hundred of Clinton, proclaimed 12/6/1862. Map
  • TICKERA (), Tickera, Alford
  • Hundred of Tickera, Proclaimed 30/12/1874. Map
  • MUNDOORA (), Fisherman Bay, Clements Gap, Mundoora, Port Broughton
  • Hondred of Mundoora, proclaimed 25/3/1874. Map
  • WOKURNA (), Port Broughton, Wokurna
  • Hundred of Wokurna, proclaimed 30/12/1874. Map
  • WILTUNGA (), Bute
  • Hundred of Wiltunga, proclaimed 30/12/1874. Map
  • NINNES (), Ninnes, Thomas Plain
  • Hundred of Ninnes, proclaimed 30/12/1874. Map
  • KULPARA (), Kulpara, Paskeville, South Hummocks, Melton
  • Hundred of Kulpara, Proclaimed 11/6/1862. Map
  • WALLAROO (), Wallaroo, Kadina, Moonta
  • Hundred of Wallaroo, Proclaimed 11/6/1862. Map
  • KADINA (), Kadina, Willamulka, Thrington
  • Hundred of Kadina, proclaimed 11/6/1862.Map


    Fri 24 Feb 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

    The following additional valuations by Mr. Goyder of runs on Yorke's Peninsula and Port Lincoln Peninsula have been confirmed by the Government and the new rents have been published in the Gazette:—

    • No. 82. Yorke Valley Run (Yorke's Peninsula); lesse, Ann Rogers area 58 miles; old rent, &c, £72 10s. ; new rent, &c, column A £650, column B £295 8s.
    • No. 21. Oyster Bay Run (Yorke's Peninsula); lessee, Ann Rogers; area, 52 miles; old rent. &c, £96 6s. 8d. ; new rent &c, column A £520, column B £353 16s.
    • No. 71. Lake Sunday (Yorke's Peninsula); lessee, Ann Rogers ; area, 47 miles; old rent, &c, £90 1s. 8d. ; new rent, &c, oolnmn A £560, colnmn B £397 10s.
    • No. 63. Corney Point and White Hut Runs (Yorke's Peninsula); lessee, Ann Rogers; area, 33 miles; old rent, &c, £33 10s. ; new rent, &c, column A £125, column B £36 12s.
    • No. 111. Tucock Cowie Run (Yorke's Peninsula); lessee, William Gilbert; area, 104 miles ; old rent, &c, £190 13s. 4d. ; new rent, &c, column A £1300. column B £833.
    • No. 79. Moorowee Run, (Yorke's Peninsula); lessee W. Fowler; area, 41 miles; old rent, &c, £66 10s. ; new rent, &c, colnmn A £600, column B £184 16s.
    • No. 34. Penton Vale Run, (Yorke's Peninsula); lessees Anstey and Giles ; area 107 miles; old rent, &c, £231 16s. 8d; new rent, &c, column A £1,580; new rent, &c, column B £1,182 16s.
    • No. 18. Gum Flat Run, (Yorke's Peninsula); lessees Anstey and Giles , area, 167 miles; old rent, &c, £222 13s. 4d. ; new rent, &c, colnmn A £1,275 ; colnmn B £1,075.

    Newspaper Articles about Yorke Peninsula

    Farming History

    Pastoral development began on Yorke Peninsula in 1846, with the first leases given in 1851. The leases had a term of 14 years which gave security to many of the squatter's and rent was set at 10 shillings a square mile.

    It wasn't until 1860, when a successful wheat crop was grown at Green Plains near Kadina that an explosion of interest in agriculture began. Many workers from the Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley and the Southern Districts came to try their luck on Yorke Peninsula. Agricultural success was evident when production rose from 552 acres planted and reaped in 1870 to 180,000 acres by 1884.

    The experimentation of using superphosphate from trials by Professor Lowrie at Roseworthy College - saw Joe Parsons from Curramulka, drill seeds and phosphate together in the same hole in 1892. By 1896 other farmers in the area had followed his lead and they were averaging 4.5 to 5 bushells while the rest of the peninsula averaged only two bushells.

    The rich limestone soils and growth in agricultural knowledge from clearing the land to sowing seeds, produced bumper crops and the Yorke Peninsula soon became known as the 'Barley Capital of the World'.

    As a direct consequence of Yorke Peninsula's agricultural success, Ardrossan now has the third largest grain bulk-handling facility in South Australia.

    Stump Jump Plough.

    The ingenuity of early settlers was evident when in 1876 the 'stump jump plough' was invented to circumvent the laborious task of clearing mallee stumps from farmland. Invented by RB and Clarence Smith, the plough helped revolutionize the task of reducing the despised mallee scrub.

    This was also assisted by knocking down and burning the growth of the mallee trees discovered by Charles Mullens at Wasleys, and the improvement of scrub rollers by William Fowler which allowed a team to travel over already rolled scrub. Ardrossan is known as the home of the stump jump plough and the ingenuity of the Smith Brothers is remembered and showcased at the local museum.

    Maritime History

    Historic Ports.

    Since the settlement of Yorke Peninsula during the 1860s a flourishing shipping trade developed. Today Ardrossan, Wallaroo, Klein's Point and Port Giles are still thriving shipping ports with the export of grain and mining produce. They are serviced by large bulk carrying ships, quite different to the smaller ketches and windjammers of yesteryear. All of Yorke Peninsula's ports thrive as coastal holiday destinations. Whether you are dangling a line, reliving the history, diving on jetties or shipwrecks or relaxing on the coast you will enjoy our historical ports - a mixture of yesteryear and modern facilities.

    Historic Jetties.
    Yorke Peninsula is steeped in maritime history. Shipping was the main mode of transport for local produce for many decades, creating many colourful tales surrounding our jetties. Today they still abound with life, full of holiday makers and recreational anglers trying their luck. Yorke Peninsula's Historical Jetties brochure depicts many of these interesting tales.

    Yorke Peninsula's coastline is home to many shipwrecks and the fascinating history of their demise. The Wardang Island Maritime Heritage Trail has eight shipwrecks within 10 miles to explore in clear shallow waters making it ideal for novice shipwreck divers. The Investigator Strait Maritime Heritage Trail, between Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, features 26 shipwrecks dating from 1849 to 1982. You can download the Historical Shipwrecks brochure and waterproof dive trail booklets are available from The Farm Shed Museum & Tourism Centre in Kadina and Harvest Corner Information & Craft in Minlaton.

    Surviving earthquakes, fires and constant erosion from the wind and sea, Yorke Peninsula's lighthouses have withstood the test of time. They guided shipping safely through wild seas and around treacherous coastlines and have been an integral part of Yorke Peninsula's history. Read about Yorke Peninsula's lighthouses - and the lighthouses of South Australia - on the Lighthouses Australia website.

    Commonwealth Jubilee Year: Chronological Table of Principal Events 1901 to 1950

    • 1900Dec. 25—First Federal Ministry formed.
    • 1901Jan. 1—Proclamation of Commonwealth at Sydney. Old Age Pensions instituted in Victoria (passed 1900, came into force Jan. 1, 1901). May 9—First Federal Parliament opened at Melbourne by Duke of York. Oct. 8—Interstate Free Trade established.
    • 1902Oct. 8—First Federal Tariff (Bill assented to Sept. 16th, 1902. Operated from 8/10/01). Oct. 31—Completion of all-British Pacific Cable. Opening of Pumping Station at Northam (W.A.) for goldfields water supply.
    • 1904Dec. 15—Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act passed.
    • 1906Sept. 18—Papua taken over by Commonwealth.
    • 1907Nov. 8—Declaration of first basic wage in "Harvester" Award.
    • 1909June 15—Canberra chosen as site of Federal Capital. Dec. 10—Queensland University founded (Act received Royal Assent). Dec. 21—Visit of Lord Kitchener to report on defence landed in Darwin Dec. 21).
    • 1910Nov. 1 — First note issues. Commonwealth
    • 1911 Jan. 1 — Transfer of Northern and Capital Territories to the Commonwealth. Jan. 16—University of Western Australia founded. April 3—First Federal census.
    • 1913Jan. 20—Opening of Commonwealth Bank. Feb. 12—First sod turned for the Transcontinental Railway. March 12—Canberra named and foundation stone laid.
    • 1914 July 30—Double Dissolution of Federal Parliament. Aug. 4 — European War declared. Aug. 6—Australian Navy transferred to British Navy. Australia offers to furnish and equip 20,000 troops. German possessions in S.W. Pacific seized: Sept. 13, Rabaul surrender; Sept. 17, Capitulation of German N.G. signed; Nov. 6, A.N. and M.E.F. occupied Nauru: Nov. 4, Admiralty and Western Islands occupied; Dec. 9. German Solomon Islands capitulation. Nov. 9—German cruiser Emden destroyed by H.M.A.S. Sydney. Dec, 3—First Contingent lands in Egypt. Dec. 12 — Anzacs formed under General Birdwood.
    • 1916Oct. 28 — First referendum on compulsory military training defeated.
    • 1917Oct. 22—Kalgoorlie-Pt. Augusta railway completed.
    • 1918— Australia's population reaches 5,000,000. Nov. 11—Armistice with Germany.
    • 1919Oct 2—Peace Treaty signed at Versailles. Australia ratifies treaty. Oct. 10—England - to - Australia flight completed by Ross and Keith Smith. Return of Australian troops.
    • 1920May 26—Prince of Wales visits Australia.
    • 1921April 4—Second Commonwealth Census. May 9—First Australian Administration of New Guinea under the mandate issued by the League of Nations Dec. 17.
    • 1923Aug. 29—First sod turned on site of Parliament House, at Canberra.
    • 1925— Sydney Harbour Bridge commenced.
    • 1926June 21—Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was established. The population Australia reaches 6,000,000.
    • 1927May 9—Parliament House, Canberra, opened by the Duke of York. Seat of Government transferred from Melbourne to Canberra.
    • 1931Jan. 22—First Australian, Sir Isaac Isaacs, sworn in as Governor-General.
    • 1932Mar. 19—Sydney Harbor Bridge opened. May 17—Australian Broadcasting Commission established.
    • 1933April 8 — Secession referendum in Western Australia carried. June 30—Australia elected to the League of Nations.
    • 1934Oct, 14—The Duke of Gloucester opens the Victorian Centenary Celebrations. Oct. 23—Scott and Black fly to Australia from England In 71 hours. Dec, 8—Inauguration of England-Australia air-mail service
    • 1939April 7—Death of Rt. Hon. J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister. Sept. 3—War declared on Germany. Royal Australian Navy placed at the disposal of Britain. Dec. 15—Advance party of Australians embarked for Midddle East.
    • 1940— The population of Australia reached 7,000,000. Jan. 10—First Australian convoy (6th Division) sailed for Middle East.
    • 1941Feb. 8—Units of 8th Division land in Malaya. April 24-29—The Evacuation of Greece and Crete. June 8—Syrian campaign commenced. , Dec. 9—War declared on Japan.
    • 1942Feb. 15—Fall of Singapore. Feb. 19—Darwin bombed. March 14—United States forces land in Australia. June 1—Japanese subs sunk in Sydney Harbour. Aug. 8—Federal Uniform taxation adopted.
    • 1944Aug. 19—Referendum to give the Commonwealth' increased powers defeated.
    • 1945 Jan. 30 — Duke of Gloucester sworn in as Governor-General March 24—Captain Cook Dock opened in Sydney. July 5—Rt. Hon. John Curtin, Prime Minister, dies.
    • 1947Jan. 31—N.S.W. Premier, Mr. W. J. McKell, appointed Governor General : Announced on January 31. Sept. 8—Forty hour week approved by Arbitration Court. Nov. 28—First New Australians, from Baltic countries, reached Australia.
    • 1948Jan. 1—Forty hour week effective throughout Australia.
    • 1949Feb. 3—First aliens naturalised under new act. April 29—Melbourne selected for 1956 Olympic Games. Oct. 17—Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme began : Opening ceremony October 17.
    • 1950Sept. 27—Australian troops join united Nations force in Korea. Announced July 26, 1950; went into action Sept. 27th.