Hindmarsh Island - History


The first European to set foot on Hindmarsh Island was Captain Charles Sturt in 1830. Sturt used the Island as a viewing point and from there he sighted the Murray Mouth. The following year (1831) Captain Collet Barker surveyed the Murray Mouth but was killed by Indigenous Australians after swimming across the mouth.

The island was named by Captain John William Dundas Blenkinsop in 1837 after South Australia's first Governor, Sir John Hindmarsh.

In 1849 Doctor Rankine was granted an occupational licence to become the island's first grazier. In 1853 Charles Price purchased section 20 (80 acres)on the island.

In the 1850s a flour mill was constructed. In 1857 a signal mast was erected at Barker Knoll to convey safe passage condition messages to vessels wishing to pass through the mouth. A public ferry began operations between Goolwa and the island in 1858. In the same year the first inter colonial telegraph line passed through the island to link Adelaide with Melbourne. In 1861 the cemetery was surveyed. In 1900 a cheese factory was built.

Hereford cattle and Shropshire sheep arrived in South Australia in 1868, when Charles Price introduced them onto the island.

Hindmarsh Island today has fresh water on its northern shore and salt water on the southern shores. The waters being separated by a series of barrages. As early as 1914 an experimental barrage was constructed to link Hindmarsh Island with Mundoo Island. Construction of the permanent barrages took place between 1935-1940 with the aim of maintaining a consistent water level around the river Port of Goolwa and keeping salt water from the northern shore improving agricultural opportunities.

Mains electricity arrived on the island 1965.

The area to the east of the Murray Mouth of Hindmarsh Island is the beginning of the Coorong National Park. In November 1985 approximately 1,405 square kilometres of area around the island was designated as a Ramsar wetland site of international importance to promote the conservation and sustainable use of wetland areas. In 2001, approximately a third of the island, the 10.81 km² Wyndgate property, was added to the Coorong National Park.

As of 2005 the Hindmarsh Island Marina boasts the title of the largest freshwater marina in the Southern Hemisphere.

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