Port Moorowie ca1916 State Library of SA B12702Port Moorowie ca1916 State Library of SA B12702

In May 1980, Peter Gilbert took me out in his rubber duck for a dive at Broken Bottom. When we arrived at the site I was embarrassed to find that I had left all of my three face masks in my car at the Glenelg ramp. We had to return to the shore to pick one of them up. Eight years later it was Peter’s turn to be embarrassed over forgotten face masks.

In 1988, I spent a weekend with Peter and Jean at Port Moorowie. We were planning to dive together but they discovered that they had not packed their face masks in with the rest of their scuba gear. Peter showed me a few pile stumps protruding from the water by the boat ramp. He wanted me to try to trace the piles out to their end. The conditions were poor but I gave it a go. I eventually managed to successfully follow them to the end. Some piles stood a metre high and some were fairly wide. I found a few things such as chains, bolts, mooring rings and bottles. I was glad to have made the effort.

The next day Peter wanted me to check out the other side of a little bird roosting area which was submerged on a rising tide. It was hard getting out against the incoming waves. It was also swirly out there and there wasn’t much to see either but the sight of a Leafy Seadragon made it all worthwhile. When I returned to the shore I found Peter taking it easy and sunbathing.

Moorowie was called a port when there was a jetty there. The jetty was built in 1880 at a cost of 989 pounds. It was 285 feet long and was controlled by the Marine Board. A storm in 1915 damaged the jetty and in 1956 a farmer accidentally burned it. It became unsafe in the ensuing years and was removed to be sold as scrap. Port Moorowie was once considered to be the best site for a deep sea port (instead of Giles Point) but this was probably decided against because it is subject to southerly gales. It had always been a “nightmare” port due to exposure to the rough seas of the Southern Ocean. The “Sir Wilfred Lawson” was stranded there in 1908. In 1917 the “Kona” was wrecked at nearby “Mozzie Flats”.

By Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.

Established in 1976, the Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to understanding, promoting and conserving South Australia's marine biodiversity. Many of the articles found on this blog were originally published in the Society's monthly newsletters or annual journals.

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