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Eyre Peninsula
South Australia
Bushfires on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia January 11 2005.jpg
Satellite photo of the Southern Eyre Peninsula bushfires, taken on 11 January 2005
Population 58,700 (2010)
 • Density 0.3443/km2 (0.892/sq mi)
Area 170,500 km2 (65,830.4 sq mi)
LGA(s) See Local government areas
State electorate(s) Flinders
Federal Division(s) Grey
Footnotes Population
Unusual herringbone crystals of evaporite gypsum, from Sinclairs Gap Lake, Middleback Range, Eyre peninsula. Size: 10.8 x 9.8 x 6.0 cm.

Eyre Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in South Australia. It is bounded on the east by Spencer Gulf, the west by the Great Australian Bight, and the north by the Gawler Ranges. It is named after explorer Edward John Eyre who explored parts of the region in 1839-1841. The coastline was first charted by the expeditions of Matthew Flinders in 1801-1802 and French explorer Nicolas Baudin around the same time. The region's economy is primarily agricultural, with growing aquaculture, mining and tourism sectors. The main townships are Port Lincoln in the south, Whyalla and Port Augusta at the north east, and Ceduna at the northwest.

Naming and extent

Eyre Peninsula was named after Edward John Eyre, the explorer, on 7 November 1839 by George Gawler, the second Governor of South Australia. The peninsula’s extent has been described as follows. Firstly, its coastline boundary was defined in 1839 as “boundary is Spencer's Gulf in its whole length, to the southern ocean from Cape Catastrophe to the western point of Denial Bay.” Secondly, its northern boundary was described in 1978 as follows - “no official boundary ever proclaimed but the common sense choice would be to draw a straight line from Yorkey Crossing to the northern most point of Denial Bay.’’


On 30 June 2010, Eyre Peninsula had a population of 58,700 people. The region is home to 3.6% of South Australia's population. 2,500 people, 4.4% of the region's population, is estimated to be Indigenous.



Highway map of South Australia including highways on the Eyre Peninsula identified by their route number

Major population centres on Eyre Peninsula are connected by a network of highways. The Eyre Highway (Route number A1) runs east-west across the north side of the peninsula, while the Flinders Highway (Route number B100) and Lincoln Highway (Route number A100) follow the west and east coasts, meeting at Port Lincoln in the south. The Tod Highway (Route number B90) bisects the peninsula, running south-north from Port Lincoln through the town of Lock to met the Eyre Highway at Kyancutta. The Birdseye Highway (Route number B91) bisects the peninsula from Elliston on the west coast and Flinders Highway through Lock and Cleve to the Lincoln Highway near Cowell.


The peninsula is served by the isolated narrow-gauge Eyre Peninsula Railway which serves the ports at Port Lincoln and Thevenard (near Ceduna). This line is separated from the main system by desert country, and there has therefore never been any need for a connecting link.

There are also railways from the iron ore mines in the Middleback Ranges to the smelter and port at Whyalla. These are also connected to the national rail network by the Whyalla railway line to Port Augusta.

Proposed future expansion of transport systems

To facilitate prospective mines, new freight corridors and ports have been proposed to export minerals via Spencer Gulf. New port proposals are in place at Port Bonython, Lucky Bay, Cape Hardy and Sheep Hill (Lipson Cove). A proposal to export iron ore from Port Lincoln by Centrex Metals Ltd was approved but abandoned after strong public opposition. Port Bonython Fuels, a future fuel distribution hub has been approved to be constructed at Port Bonython to aid the development of the mining industry. Once constructed and operational, fuel will be delivered to towns and mine sites by road tankers up to A-triple class.

Water supply

Potable water is scarce on Eyre Peninsula. Presently, water is pumped several hundred kilometres from the River Murray to the town of Whyalla through the Morgan-Whyalla pipeline. Underground water resources are suffering from gradually increasing salinity. The only reliable surface flows are from the Tod River and its main tributary, Pillaworta Creek which are captured by the Tod Reservoir. The reservoir was built to augmented the groundwater supply of Port Lincoln and was constructed in the early 1920s. It was taken offline in the early 2000s due to concerns over rising salinity and contamination from agricultural chemicals. SA Water has investigated potential locations for seawater desalination plants to address future water security problems. As of January 2014, no plants are proposed to be built for domestic or agricultural supply, though one currently exists and two have been proposed to serve the mining industry exclusively. The existing plant is located at Whyalla and is operated by Arrium and plants are proposed for Point Lowly and Lipson Cove to serve BHP Billiton and Centrex Metals respectively.

Administrative divisions

Local government areas

Eyre Peninsula includes the following local government areas - Ceduna, Cleve, Elliston, Franklin Harbour, Kimba, Lower Eyre Peninsula, Port Lincoln, Streaky Bay, Tumby Bay, Wudinna and Whyalla as well as the western portion of the City of Port Augusta. The area at the northern end of the peninsula is within the unincorporated area of South Australia where municipal services are provided by the Outback Communities Authority to communities including Iron Knob.

State and federal electorates

Eyre Peninsula is within the boundaries of the federal division of Grey and the state electoral districts of Flinders and Giles.


Eyre Peninsula is within the extent of the following two South Australian government regions - “Eyre and Western” and the Far North.


Lipson Island Conservation Fairy Penguin
Little penguins nest in Eyre Peninsula's coastal protected areas

Protected areas

In 2016, the following protected areas were located within the extent of Eyre Peninsula:


The area is also known as the Eyre Coastal Plain, is part of the Eyre Yorke Block bioregion, and is a distinct physiographic section of the larger Eucla Basin province, which in turn is part of the larger West Australian Shield division.

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