Port Lincoln really is the keystone of the Eyre Peninsula. It is a substantial city located on Boston Bay (a bay which is more than three and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour).
It nestles in on the easterly side of the Eyre Peninsula and over the years it has become the most important grain and fishing port in the region. As a result, it has become the informal capital of the whole peninsula.
The city is located 656 km west of Adelaide, has a population of over 13 000, a rainfall of 488mm per annum, and enjoys a near-perfect Mediterranean climate.
It is a large and reasonably sophisticated centre which is economically driven by the huge grain-handling facilities. The foreshore is dominated by the 47-metre-high grain silos which have a total capacity of over 337 500 tonnes. Other industries include the canning and fish processing works, lambs, wool and beef and fertiliser production.
In recent times the vast wealth has been made as a result of tuna farming for the lucrative Japanese market. Port Lincoln currently boasts Australia’s largest commercial fishing fleet. Fish farming is so important that Port Lincoln now has kingfish, mussel, oyster, experimental lobster and abalone farms.
The city is steeped in maritime and pioneering history and has many interesting museums, galleries, and installations.
In 1802, Mathew Flinders named the area after his native county of Lincolnshire in England after he sailed his exploration vessel HMS Investigator into the harbour.
Under immense pressure from the first South Australia Governor, Sir John Hindmarsh to find a capital for the ‘New British Provence of South Australia’, Colonel William Light once considered Port Lincoln as the State’s capital.
Eventually, Adelaide won out—mainly due to more accessible fresh water—but boatloads of first settlers began arriving in Port Lincoln from 1839 onwards. In October of that same year, Governor George Gawler proclaimed the whole area from Cape Catastrophe to the head of the Spencer Gulf as one district, which he named the District of Port Lincoln.
Local government began in 1880, and the Municipality of Port Lincoln officially proclaimed in 1921. As the town grew and became a prominent agriculture and commercial port, and growing centre for aquaculture, city status was granted in early 1971 with the proclamation read at the opening of the tenth annual Tunarama Festival.