Ardrossan is a small town on the east coast of the Yorke Peninsula, about 150 km (90 mi) from Adelaide, South Australia.
The town was largely initiated by wheat farmers and wheat transporters in the late 19th century who needed infrastructure to ship their produce across the Gulf St. Vincent to Port Adelaide. The site was chosen near an old boat landing at Parara. It was named by Governor Fergusson after the Ardrossan seaport in Scotland and it was proclaimed on 5 November 1873.
A jetty was constructed in 1878 to accommodate the steamships and windjammers used to ship grain.
It is famous as the location of Clarence Smith’s factory where he manufactured the Stump-jump plough between 1880 and 1935, one of South Australia’s first and most important inventions.
During the early 1900s, the town expanded significantly due to income from the surrounding farms.
After the depression in the 1930s, the town and its businesses were largely stagnant until a large open-cut dolomite mine was opened by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) in the 1950s for use in its steel manufacture at Whyalla on the Eyre Peninsula and Port Kembla in New South Wales. A new one kilometre (3,300 ft) long jetty was added and at the same time construction was started with grain storage silos. The new jetty currently services ships loading dolomite, grain and salt from the solar salt pans at Price, approximately 10 km (6 mi) north.
Today, tourism plays a large part in Ardrossan’s economy with the town being a popular destination for Adelaide residents on weekends. While it doesn’t have an attractive swimming beach, it is a popular location to catch fish and blue crabs which are abundant during the months of September to April each year.
The historic shipwreck of the Zanoni is located approximately 15 miles offshore and is a popular scuba diving location. This ship originally sank on 11 February 1867 and was discovered on 17 April 1983 after 126 years. It is one of the best preserved examples of 19th century merchant sailing vessels in Australia.
Ardrossan is in the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, the state electorate of Goyder and the federal Division of Wakefield.