And while I’m here, check out the fantastic hat that the ladies at Port MacDonnell Library presented to me as a thank you gift (along with some other lovely goodies).
Complete glamourpuss. Yep, that’s me!
For those unfamiliar with the area, Port MacDonnell is a fishing village about 30 kms south of Mount Gambier and “Australia’s Southern Rock Lobster Capital.” The town recently celebrated the opening of its new Port MacDonnell and District Maritime Museum, which I was lucky to catch a sneak peek of during my visit, and it’s wonderful! Full of interesting exhibits and artefacts from all around the district, but what fascinated me the most were all the shipwreck displays, especially that of the SS Admella in 1859, which claimed 89 of the ship’s 113 passengers and crew.
Two days after the steamer hit Carpenter Reef two brave seamen finally made it to shore. Exhausted, they trekked to the lighthouse at Cape Northumberland, only to discover the lighthouse had no telegraph and the keeper had lost his horse a few days before. It took another trek to a farm followed by a ride to Mount Gambier before authorities were alerted. Thanks to severe swells and inaccurate communication, it wasn’t until 8 days after the wreck that a lifeboat reached the Admella survivors, of which, by now, there were very few. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying that must have been.
The history of this wreck and its social and political impact is well worth exploring. So next time you’re planning a trip to South Australia, make sure you include the Limestone Coast and Port MacDonnell. A visit to the museum, fish and chips (or maybe a crayfish sandwich) on the foreshore followed by some local adventuring and you have yourself a mighty fine day.