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Port Augusta

Port Augusta
South Australia
View across Spencer Gulf to Mount Brown
Port Augusta is located in South Australia
Port Augusta
Population 13,504 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1852
Postcode(s) 5700[2]
Location 322 km (200 mi) from Adelaide via
LGA(s) City of Port Augusta
State electorate(s) Stuart[3]
Federal Division(s) Grey[4]

Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia.[5] It is a seaport and railway junction city mainly located on the east coast of the Spencer Gulf immediately south of the gulf's head and about 322 kilometres (200 mi) north of the state capital. The suburb of Port Augusta West is located on the west side of the gulf on the Eyre Peninsula.[6] Other major industries include electricity generation.


  • Description 1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Transport 4
  • Climate 5
  • Economy 6
    • Electricity generation 6.1
    • Tourism 6.2
    • Shopping 6.3
  • Education 7
  • Politics 8
    • State & Federal 8.1
    • Local 8.2
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The city consists of an urban area extending along the Augusta and Eyre Highways from the coastal plain on the west side of the Flinders Ranges in the east across Spencer Gulf to Eyre Peninsula in the west. The urban area consists of the following suburbs laid out from east to west - Port Augusta and Davenport on the eastern side of Spencer Gulf and Port Augusta West on the Eyre Peninsula.[7]


It is a natural harbour which was founded on 24 May 1852 by Alexander Elder and John Grainger who selected the location for the port. Mr. Grainger was a member of Government from Adelaide. The port was named after Augusta Sophia, Lady Young, the wife of the Governor of South Australia, Sir Henry Edward Fox Young.


According to the 2006 Census the population of the Port Augusta census area was 13,257 people, making it the second largest urban area after Whyalla on the Eyre Peninsula. 50.2% of the population were female, 85.2% are Australian born, over 88.6% of residents are Australian citizens and 17.3% were Aboriginal.

The most popular industries for employment were Technicians and Trades Workers (16%), Community and Personal Service Workers (15.4%) and Clerical and Administrative Workers (13.8%), while the unemployment rate is approx. 7%. The median weekly household income is A$789 or more per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide. 17.4% of the population identify themselves as Catholic, while a higher 26.2% identify with no religion at all.[8]


In 1878, the town became the southern terminus of a proposed North South transcontinental line, headed for Darwin 2,500 km (1,600 mi) away. This 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge railway was later taken over by the Commonwealth in 1910 and later renamed the Central Australia Railway. In 1929 it was extended to its last terminus at Alice Springs.

Between 1913 and 1917, a 2,000 km (1,200 mi) long east–west transcontinental railway (the Trans-Australian Railway) was built from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. This was built to standard gauge as part of a long term plan to harmonise gauges between the mainland states, causing a break-of-gauge at Port Augusta until it was extended to Port Pirie in 1937.

The standard gauge Adelaide-Darwin railway was finally completed in 2003. Port Augusta is a stop on the Indian Pacific transcontinental train service on the Sydney–Perth railway and on The Ghan service between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin. One service a week for each train in each direction serve the station.

In the 1990s the narrow gauge line between Port Augusta and Quorn was re-opened as the Pichi Richi Heritage Railway.

Port Augusta is served by Port Augusta Airport. Sharp Airlines connects the city to Adelaide twice daily.


Port Augusta has a warm desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and damp.

Climate data for Port Augusta
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 47.7
Average high °C (°F) 32.0
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
Record low °C (°F) 9.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 22.9
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[9]


Electricity generation

Electricity is generated at the Playford B (240 MW) and Northern power stations (520 MW) from brown coal mined at Leigh Creek, 250 km to the north. The only coal-fired electricity generating plants in South Australia, in 2009 they produced 33% of the state's electricity, but over 50% of the state's CO2 emissions from electricity generation.[10]


Port Augusta has been able to capitalise on the growing eco-tourism industry due to its proximity to the Flinders Ranges. The Pichi Richi Railway is a major drawcard, connecting Port Augusta to Quorn via the Pichi Richi Pass.

Within Port Augusta is the City of Port Augusta's Wadlata Outback Centre, providing tourists with an introduction to life in the Australian outback. The centre recorded over 500,000 visitors in 2006. North of town, on the Stuart Highway, are the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. The gardens have a cafe/restaurant with views across the saltbush plains to the escarpment of the Flinders Ranges. The PACC annual report shows more than 100,000 people visited the gardens in 2006.

Southwest of town is the El-Alamein army base.


Commercial Road is the main shopping street. Some of the stores situated in or near Commercial Road include:

  • Supermarkets and chain stores: Big-W, Woolworths, Coles, Foodland, Target, Cheap as Chips, The Reject Shop
  • Banks: ANZ, BankSA, Beyond Bank, Commonwealth, Credit Union SA, NAB, Westpac
  • Clothing: Just Jeans, Uptown Girl, Target, Saltbush Surf and Leisure
  • Food and drink: The Hannahville, Wendys, Subway, French Hot Bread Shop, Tassie Tavern, Caffe Primo, Thirsty Camel, The Flinders Pub, The Office Cafe and Catering, Ian's Western Hotel
  • Leisure: Sanity Music, Sportscene, Saltbush Surf and Leisure
  • Consumer goods: Telstra dealer, Radio Rentals, Home Hardware, EB Games, Electrical Discounters
  • Other: Chemmart, Australia Post, Oasis Apartments, KD's Hair Flair, Ben Jenkin CPA, Acacia Art Florist


There are six public primary schools:

  • Augusta Park Primary School,
  • Carlton R-9 School,
  • Flinders View Primary School,
  • Port Augusta West Primary School,
  • Stirling North Primary School and
  • Willsden Primary school.

There is one secondary school, Port Augusta Secondary School, located on Stirling Road. There is one private school for reception to year 12 students called Caritas College.

Port Augusta also has:

  • Port Augusta Special School,
  • OAC:Port Augusta School of the Air
  • The University of Adelaide and
  • TAFE (tertiary technical college), Port Augusta Campus.


State & Federal

2006 State Election[11]
  Labor 62.3%
  Liberal 30.7%
  Family First 3.0%
  Greens 2.3%
  Democrats 1.3%
  Independent 0.3%
2007 Federal Election[12]
  Labor 53.99%
  Liberal 31.4%
  Family First 4.47%
  Greens 3.86%
  National 3.32%
  Independent 1.69%
  Democrats 1.27%

Port Augusta is part of the state electoral district of Stuart which has been held since 2010 by Liberal MP Dan Van Holst Pellekaan. The seat is held by a margin of 1%. In federal politics, the city is part of the division of Grey, and has been represented by Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey since 2007. Grey is held with a margin of 8.86% and is considered safe-liberal. The results shown are from the largest polling station in Port Augusta — which is located at Port Augusta TAFE college.


Port Augusta is in the City of Port Augusta local government area.

The City of Port Augusta is believed to have had the longest serving mayor in Australia, Joy Baluch, who died after 30 years of service on 14 May 2013.[13]

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Australia Post - Postcode: Port Augusta, SA (26 June 2008)
  3. ^ "District of Stuart Background Profile". ELECTORAL COMMISSION SA. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Federal electoral division of Grey, boundary gazetted 16 December 2011" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Cat. No. 3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics. Accessed 10 August 2012.
  6. ^ Boating Industry Association of South Australia (BIA); South Australia. Department for Environment and Heritage (2005), South Australia's waters an atlas & guide, Boating Industry Association of South Australia, p. 209,  
  7. ^ "Port Augusta Structure Plan: A section of the Far North Region Plan" (PDF). Department of Planning and Local Government. 2010. p. 8. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  8. ^  
  9. ^ "Port Augusta power station AWS". Climate statistics for Australian locations.  
  10. ^ The Climate Group Greenhouse Indicator Series: Electricity Generation Report 2009
  11. ^ Port Augusta West Polling Booth, District of Stuart, House of Assembly Division First Preferences, 2006 State Election. Retrieved on 26 June 2008.
  12. ^ Port Augusta East Polling Booth, Division of Grey, House of Representatives Division First Preferences, 2007 Federal Election. Retrieved on 26 June 2008.
  13. ^ Outspoken Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch dies after breast cancer battle adelaidenow (News Ltd.) Accessed 17 May 2013.
  14. ^ "America's Best, Britain's Finest: A Survey of Mixed Movies" - Google Books, John Howard Reid, pub., March 2006. ISBN 9781411678774, p.241

External links

  • MSN Map
  • satellite image of Port Augusta
  • Big Stories, Small Towns - Online documentary featuring video, photos, digital stories and archival film from Port Augusta]
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