Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Edithburgh SA


Postcode: 5583

Edithburgh is a small town on the south-east corner of Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Edithburgh is about 50 km west of Adelaide across Gulf Saint Vincent, but about 300 km away by road. Edithburgh has a jetty which, like many others on Yorke Peninsula, was once used to load grain and unload supplies for the town, but is now used mostly for recreational fishing. There is a small fishing and prawning fleet based there too.

The town is now overshadowed by the 55 wind turbines of the Wattle Point Wind Farm, just out of town to the southwest, and opened in April 2005. Edithburgh is in the District Council of Yorke Peninsula, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Goyder and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Wakefield.

The first European to explore the area was Matthew Flinders who sailed along the coast and named the Troubridge Shoal near the present town. By 1847 John Bowden had moved into the area and controlled a large spread of land on which he ran sheep.

The area was first surveyed in 1869. It was named after Lady Edith Fergusson, the daughter of the Governor-General of India and wife of the South Australian governor of the time. After this survey people began buying farming land in the area and Edithburgh began to prosper as a major supplier of salt from the salt pans which lay inland from the town. Ships would arrive at the jetty and be loaded with salt. This industry reached a peak in the late 1920s when up to 24,000 tonnes of salt was being exported every year from the port. It was around this time that the town’s population peaked at around 1,000. At this time the town was prosperous and many of the notable historic buildings – the police station, the Troubridge Hotel – were completed at this time.

The Troubridge lighthouse was opened in 1856 but it still did not prevent shipping accidents in the area. Over the years the town has experienced a number of shipwrecks. None have been so devastating as the Clan Ranald which sank off Troubridge Hill with the loss of 40 lives (some of the victims are buried in the town’s cemetery).