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Yorke Peninsula has a diverse combination of industries.  While predominantly an agricultural based region, other industries include salt production, mining, commercial fishing, grain storage and handling facilities, and of course tourism.  

 

Tourism

One of the fastest growing industries on Yorke Peninsula, tourism benefits almost every business in the region.  Day trippers of all ages, people visiting friends and relatives, couples with or without children, travellers on extended caravan journeys and many others include Yorke Peninsula as a holiday destination.  Our beautiful region features spectacular natural attractions as well as wineries, heritage sites, and local produce.  We also boast a wide variety of recreational opportunities from diving to hiking, all within close proximity of Adelaide.

Yorke Peninsula offers ample opportunity to experience our rich agricultural and mining heritage as well as some of the states best surf beaches and magnificent Innes National Park.

Our largest winery, Barley Stacks Wines, produces top quality wines from the rich grey soils over limestone, with the grapes crushed, fermented, stored and bottled right on site.

 

Farming

canola-RobynClasohmFarming is a deliberate gamble each year with no certainty of a successful outcome. Weather, price fluctuations and global markets all impact a farmer's income significantly regardless of how much the crop costs to put in. Some years are rewarded with good yields and prices but there are many when farmers struggle to make ends meet and find the capital to plant the next year's crops.

Grain marketing has changed considerably in recent years with the deregulation of the market. Farmers are challenged to learn new methods to maximize their income, such as forward selling, warehousing grain for later sale and on-farm storage. Crop yields have increased significantly over the past 20 years due to improved varieties and techniques. Yorke Peninsula is well served with two ports, Ardrossan and Port Giles, and grain is exported from these ports to many parts of the world. There is also a storage facility at Maitland, where grain is stored prior to being trucked to the ports for export.

Although many farmers have moved toward continuous cropping, there are still a significant number who run mixed farms. Most run Dohne or South Australian Merino sheep for their wool, with some crossing them with a meat breed to produce prime lambs. There are a number of sheep and cattle studs in the area, as well as two alpaca studs - alpacas make very effective sheep guardians, protecting lambs from foxes.

For information about what happens on the farm throughout the year, read more here.

  

Commercial fishing

Gill Fisheries schnapperSouth Australia is considered a world leader in sustainable fisheries management, producing premium seafood in our clean clear waters.

Commercial wildcatch fisheries in South Australia include marine-based fisheries for species such as abalone, garfish, King George whiting, mullet, pilchards, prawns, rock lobster, snapper, tuna, tommy ruff and sharks.  

Sisters Amanda Wheeler and Shannon Gill are third generation fishers who took on their family's commercial fishing business in Port Victoria. These days, Amanda mostly stays ashore to take care of things while Shannon is up before dawn and out on the water whenever the weather makes it possible. Some are surprised by the female fishing duo but Shannon assures them that it's in their blood! It seems there's a fourth generation in training with some very dab little hands around too!

 

Aquaculture

Situated on the lower east coast of Yorke Peninsula and with views of Gulf St Vincent, Stansbury was originally known as Oyster Bay because of its claim to the best oyster beds in the state.  Captain Matthew Flinders mapped this coast line in 1802 but settlement was not until 1811. Oyster Bay was renamed Stansbury in 1873 by Governor Musgrave.  During the mid 1800's the area was heavily dredged for wild oysters, which eventually depleted stocks.

Today there are about 5 million oysters in the pristine gulf waters surrounding Stansbury with most oysters being marketed as "ongrown". These ongrown oysters are sold to other Oyster growing regions of the state predominantly Coffin Bay and Smoky Bay to satisfy the demand for juvenile oysters from these premier seafood regions. Stansbury oysters are slow grown – for strong adductor muscle and good shell development.

Southern Yorke Oysters are found in Brentwood Road Stansbury, with the shed open for sales when the sign is out, usually after the return of the boat.  Call them on 0407 189 121 to check opening times. 

Pacific Estate Oysters are found in Ceres Street Stansbury.  Tours for two to eight people operate by appointment, and are weather dependent. Call them on 0467 485 291 for further information.

 

Salt

Cheetham Salt

Yorke Peninsula has a long history of salt production with attempts being made to harvest salt from many of the 200 lakes near Yorketown as early as the mid-1870s. Scraping the salt was mostly done by seasonal workers in the short period before autumn rains.

In the 1890s, The Castle Salt Company of Edithburgh took up leases on Lake Fowler, the largest salt lake on southern Yorke Peninsula and soon a number of companies operated and shipped from the busy port at Edithburgh. At various other times, lakes near Port Vincent and Wauraltee were also harvested.

Today, Cheetham Salt Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of CK Life Sciences Int'l., (Holdings) Inc, is Australia's largest producer and refiner of high quality solar salt for the food and industrial markets. The company was founded in 1888 by Richard Cheetham.

Salt has been produced through the solar evaporation of seawater at Price since 1919. Massive ponds are filled with sea water which then naturally evaporates, leaving behind pure sea salt.

The operation comprises 1064 ha of evaporators and crystallisers and a processing plant which produces bagged and packaged salt for industrial and household use.  Bulk salt is sent to Cheetham's Geelong refinery in Victoria, or is shipped to overseas markets in New Zealand and South East Asia from BHP's loading facilities at Ardrossan.

  

Mining

GYPSUM

Yorke Peninsula's mining history started near Marion Bay followingthe discovery of gypsum in the early 1900s. It was a mineral highly sought after as an ingredient in plaster. Initially it was shipped to Melbourne from Marion Bay but later the processing was undertaken on site.

At the peak of its operations, the little town of Inneston's population grew to around 500 and was completely self sufficient. By the 1970s however, when mining operations ceased, it had become a ghost town. You can still visit Inneston, in Innes National Park to soak up the history and its fascinating stories.

LIMESTONE

In the early 1900s AWG Pitt founded Adelaide Cement Company Limited and used limestone from what we now know as Klein Point, shipping it to Adelaide via steam ship. In time, it merged to become Adelaide Brighton Cement.

Klein Point is seven kilometres south of Stansbury. The jetty was built in 1920 by the South Australian Harbors Board, on a lease back agreement. It was the first reinforced concrete piled jetty in South Australia, was 79 metres long, with a depth at low water of 3.3 metres. It was widened in 1927, and further alterations were made in 1953 to accommodate new shipping arrangements.

When Accolade I came into service in 1965 a 'T' section was added to the jetty with improved loading facilities. Further extensions have been made to accommodate Accolade II, which is some 14 metres longer and 6419 tonnes. Klein Point jetty is managed by Flinders Ports and is not open to the public.

Today it remains a single purpose port, transporting two million tonnes of limestone across the gulf for Adelaide Brighton Cement via the barge, Accolade II.

Blue stone is also a form of limestone, formed millions of years ago when Australia was part of Gondwana. Tiny jelly fish fossils can be seen, reflecting its development under an ancient seabed. There are two bluestone quarries on Yorke Peninsula, both near Curramulka.

DOLOMITE

dolomite-quarry-Ardrossan ErinMcWaters

 In 1950 BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary Ltd) began mining a deposit of fine grade dolomite just south of Ardrossan, and applied to the South Australian government for the construction of a crushing plant, a jetty and conveyer belt facility at Ardrossan. Permission was granted subject to the conveyor and jetty being made available for the shipment of the wheat and barley from the region and salt from the nearby salt pans at Price. This was agreed, and work consequently began on the grain silos and bulk handling facilities. The first shipment from these facilities was on 21 January 1953. Maximum vessel sizes of 50,000 DWT and lengths of 202.7m can be accommodated at the loading wharf (max draft of 9.2 m plus tide).

The dolomite mine is now owned and operated by Arrium Mining. Annual Production capacity is nominally 600,000 tonnes / annum. with a mine life being in excess of 10 years at current production levels. The mine supplies dolomite for the Company's company's Australian steel making operation at Whyalla, and also to BlueScope Steel's Port Kembla operation. OneSteel also supplies other international steel mills.

Dolomite is used mostly in the steel making industry as flux but also as an ingredient in the manufacture of plate glass and fibreglass and in the agricultural industry as fertiliser and soil conditioner.

There's a free lookout / viewing area at the site with plenty of room for vehicles with caravans, providing not only a bird's eye view of the mine but also spectacular views across the gulf

SAND

The sand quarry near Port Clinton operated informally long before requirements were made to meet specific standards and licences. Today it's efficiently operated by Clinton Sands who produce sands for concreting, asphalt, sandpits and play areas, horse arenas, paving and specialist products for a variety of building applications.

COPPER and GOLD

Rex Minerals Ltd ("Rex"), an Australian minerals exploration and development company, has made a large-scale copper-gold discovery near Ardrossan. Rex has a vision of developing a new large-scale, low-cost and long-life mining operation, with a strong commitment to the community and the region. More information about the project and community newsletters are available on their website. 

 

Grain storage and handling

Port Giles - ViterraThe Australian Barley Board developed on Yorke Peninsula from the local co-op, YP Barley Producers Ltd. This cooperative venture was undertaken by farmers on Yorke Peninsula in order to increase the prices obtained for barley on overseas markets. It involved the pooling and grading of barley for shipment overseas.

The international company Viterra acquired the Australian Barley Board in 2009. Viterra operates a grain storage and handling network throughout key growing regions in South Australia and Victoria.

On Yorke Peninsula, there are Viterra grain storage and port facilities at Wallaroo, Ardrossan and Port Giles. Port Giles is a naturally deep port, but with additional dredging, can now fully load gigantic Panamax ships up to 250 metres in length.

There is also a grain storage facility at Maitland, operated by Grainflow, accepting 70,000 to 100,000 tonnes of wheat and barley a year. The majority is shipped out via Port Giles, although some is trucked to Port Adelaide and Wallaroo.

During the peak harvest period, trucks can be seen lined up at the terminals, waiting to unload their grain.  The grain is checked for quality and graded accordingly.  It is also checked for weed screenings, chemical contaminants, snails and rocks. Growers help protect the market through the responsible use of chemicals, maintaining the integrity of their industry. This includes adhering to withholding periods, label instructions, application rates and safe operating procedures.

   

Bee Keeping

Many small operators in the region keep bees, and their honey may be purchased at local markets.

Australian Bee Services (ABS) is based on Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. The company formed in 2007 and aims to provide excellent pollination for the agricultural and horticultural sector, as well as carrying out research in order to develop best practice standards for pollination for Australian conditions and to support industry growth.  ABS employs specialist staff with experience in pollination, research, queen breeding and apiary management to provide the best possible service to the Agricultural and Apiculturist industry.

Over the last five years the company has developed the services and products it markets to include:  crop pollination through the use of honey bees in both broad acre and specialised horticulture; bottled and bulk honey; bees wax; propolis; queen bees and cells; and bee keeping equipment.

 

 

Visitor Information Centre

ASK THE LOCAL EXPERTS
Yorke Peninsula Information Centre
29 Main Street Minlaton South Australia
T: 1800 202 445
E: info@visityorkepeninsula.com.au

DIRECTIONS & MAP

29 Main Street Minalton South Australia

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