Weeroona Island

Weeroona Island: Ron explores this island in the Outback region of South Australia

On the drive down the eastern side of Spencer Gulf you come across some amazing landmarks - some man-made like the Port Augusta Power Station and others sculpted by nature like the flat top hills which frame this part of the Gulf. And on the other side of the highway the majestic Flinders Ranges provide a stunning backdrop for the Adelaide bound motorist.

But one little landmark has long intrigued the Postcards crew on our travels down this part of the South Australian coastline so we decided to take a detour to what's called Weeroona Island. The drive over the largely land locked causeway got us wondering how it got its name.

"A couple of times a year the water actually covers the causeway so that makes this place an island," said our guide, Steve Vormister. "We call it a tidal island."

Steve Vormister's passionate about this place which, he also describes more generically as a "geographical feature". A former New South wales businessmen, he's settled on this little piece of Spencer Gulf paradise.

Island, headland, "geographical feature", whatever you call it the place has certainly got something special. Including great fishing and spectacular views from the town with the intriguing name of Port Flinders. Just one thing wrong - there's no port!

"There were intentions to build a port here," explained Steve. "In the 1800s they planned a jetty out to the deep water channel. It was to be used to convey copper ore from Mount Remarkable and Melrose in the Southern Flinders. But the dreams came to nothing - they were superseded by Port Pirie."

And Pirie owes a lot to this secret of Spencer Gulf thanks to another one of its many unusual features - the wreck of the York. The Adelaide Steam and Tug Company bought her her in 1877 for use in Port Adelaide as a lighter but finally made her way her to the southern side of Weeroona.

"It was deliberately run aground to be used as a loading platform to take rocks from the island to build the harbour at Port Pirie" said Steve.

Some think Weeroona might have been a little more imposing had the York's final resting-place been some place else.

"The York played a part in one of the great land grabs of South Australia, the little known theft of part of Weeroona Island."

From the loading platform ketches could moor in high tide to take away tonnes and tonnes of rock. In fact Steve Ormiston reckons the high point of his little Gulf hideaway at Port Flinders has been reduced by eight feet.

"I live on the top of the island and I'd like that eight feet back. I'd get a much better view," he laughed.

Port Flinders is located on Weeroona Island - just look for the causeway road that runs off the main highway between Port Germein and Port Pirie. If you have any further questions please email info@postcards-sa.com.au

Weeroona Island
Port Flinders Causeway between Port Germein and Port Pirie

Published 18th March 2007

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