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Carpenter Rocks
South Australia
Carpenter Rocks01.jpg
Sunset over 'The Carpenter', from Gerloff Bay
Population 269 (2006 census)
Postcode(s) 5291
Location
LGA(s) District Council of Grant
Region Limestone Coast
County County of Grey
State electorate(s) Mount Gambier
Federal Division(s) Barker
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.0 °C
66 °F
8.2 °C
47 °F
708.4 mm
27.9 in
Localities around Carpenter Rocks:
Canunda German Flat
German Creek
German Creek
Canunda
Ocean
Carpenter Rocks Kongorong
Ocean Ocean
Pelican Point
Pelican Point
Blackfellows Caves
Footnotes Climate
Adjoining localities

Carpenter Rocks is a small coastal town located 35 km south-west of Mount Gambier in the south-east of South Australia. The area faces the Southern Ocean and is renowned for its rugged coastline which provides exceptional fishing and diving locations.

In the 2006 census, the town and surrounding localities such as Pelican Point had a population of 269. Carpenter Rocks is in the District Council of Grant local government area, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Mount Gambier and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Barker.

History and settlement

The earliest people in the Carpenter Rocks area were the aboriginal communities from the Booandik tribe. They were scattered in small groups along the coast where they had access to an abundance of food and water. Due to disease and land dispossession the last full blooded Booandik died in 1904.

Lieutenant James Grant, when on board the HMS Lady Nelson, was the first known British person to view land known today as south eastern South Australia. On 3 December 1800, he sighted what at first he thought was four unconnected islands, but on a closer look realized they were two mountains and two capes. One of these he named Cape Banks, just west of today's township, after English Botanist - Joseph Banks. On 4 April 1802, the French explorer Nicholas Baudin aboard the ship Geographe noticed the area and made the observation:

Along the beach we could make out a continuous line of rocks which stretched a little way out to sea and over which the breakers pounded with extraordinary force. This was the cause of the incessant noise which we could hear.

The name, according to Geoffrey Manning and Rodney Cockburn "Place Names of South Australia", "The Rocks", were named "Les Carpentiers" after a Dutch navigator, by Nicholas Baudin, meaning "The Carpenters", alluding to their indented and serrated nature, which reminded Baudin of a carpenters saw.

Areas of interest

The town is a gateway to the Canunda National Park and Lake Bonney SE. Carpenter Rocks supports a significant southern rock lobster industry and Bucks Bay provides a safe haven for the many fishing boats moored there. Cape Banks lighthouse is located 4 km from the township and it is near here on 5 August 1859 the SS Admella was wrecked on a reef with the loss of 89 lives.

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