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Port Augusta
South Australia
Jacaranda Time Port Augusta.jpg
View across Spencer Gulf to Mount Brown
Population: 14214
Established: 1852
Postcode: 5700
Location:
  • 322 km (200 mi) from Adelaide via Australian National Route A1.svg
  • 470 km (292 mi) from Ceduna via Australian National Route A1.svg
  • 542 km (337 mi) from Coober Pedy via Australian National Route A87.svg
LGA: City of Port Augusta
State District: Stuart
Federal Division: Grey
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
26.3 °C
79 °F
12.2 °C
54 °F
214.1 mm
8.4 in

Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia. It is a seaport and railway junction city mainly located on the east coast of the Spencer Gulf immediately south of the gulf's head and about 322 kilometres (200 mi) north of the state capital. The suburb of Port Augusta West is located on the west side of the gulf on the Eyre Peninsula. Other major industries included, up until mid-2010s, electricity generation. At June 2015, the estimated urban population was 14,214.

Description

The city consists of an urban area extending along the Augusta and Eyre Highways from the coastal plain on the west side of the Flinders Ranges in the east across Spencer Gulf to Eyre Peninsula in the west. The urban area consists of the following suburbs laid out from east to west - Port Augusta and Davenport on the eastern side of Spencer Gulf and Port Augusta West on the Eyre Peninsula.

History

It is a natural harbour, which was founded on 24 May 1852 by Alexander Elder and John Grainger who selected the location for the port. Mr. Grainger was a member of Government from Adelaide. The port was named after Augusta Sophia, Lady Young, the wife of the Governor of South Australia, Sir Henry Edward Fox Young.

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census, the population of the Port Augusta census area was 13,504 people, making it the second largest urban area after Whyalla on the Eyre Peninsula. 50.2% of the population were female, 85.2% are Australian born, over 88.6% of residents are Australian citizens and 17.3% were Aboriginal.

The most popular industries for employment were Technicians and Trades Workers (16%), Community and Personal Service Workers (15.4%) and Clerical and Administrative Workers (13.8%), while the unemployment rate is approximately 7%. The median weekly household income is A$789 or more per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide. 17.4% of the population identify themselves as Catholic, while a higher 26.2% identify with no religion at all.

Transport

Spencer Gulf is a natural barrier to land transport, so Port Augusta has naturally become the "crossroads of Australia". It is at the junction of major road and rail links.

Road

Port Augusta is the eastern end of the Eyre Highway to Perth. It is the northern end of the Augusta Highway to Adelaide. It is the southern end of the Stuart Highway to Darwin. All traffic across southern Australia passes through Port Augusta.

Rail

In 1878, the town became the southern terminus of a proposed North South transcontinental line, headed for Darwin 2,500 km (1,600 mi) away. This 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge railway was later taken over by the Commonwealth in 1910 and later renamed the Central Australia Railway. In 1929, it was extended to its last terminus at Alice Springs.

Between 1913 and 1917, a 2,000 km (1,200 mi) long east–west transcontinental railway (the Trans-Australian Railway) was built from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. This was built to standard gauge as part of a long term plan to harmonise gauges between the mainland states, causing a break-of-gauge at Port Augusta until the standard gauge trackage was extended to Port Pirie in 1937.

The standard gauge Adelaide-Darwin railway was finally completed in 2003. Port Augusta is a stop on the Indian Pacific transcontinental train service on the Sydney–Perth railway and on The Ghan service between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin. One service a week for each train in each direction serve the station.

In the 1990s, the narrow gauge line between Port Augusta and Quorn was re-opened as the Pichi Richi Heritage Railway.

Aviation

Port Augusta is served by Port Augusta Airport. Sharp Airlines connects the city to Adelaide twice daily.

Climate

Port Augusta has a warm desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and damp.

Climate data for Port Augusta
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 47.9
(118.2)
48.1
(118.6)
43.1
(109.6)
38.7
(101.7)
32.2
(90)
27.0
(80.6)
26.9
(80.4)
32.8
(91)
38.2
(100.8)
42.9
(109.2)
46.3
(115.3)
47.2
(117)
48.1
(118.6)
Average high °C (°F) 34.3
(93.7)
33.3
(91.9)
30.4
(86.7)
26.7
(80.1)
21.7
(71.1)
17.9
(64.2)
17.7
(63.9)
20.1
(68.2)
23.9
(75)
27.1
(80.8)
30.5
(86.9)
32.2
(90)
26.3
(79.3)
Average low °C (°F) 19.4
(66.9)
18.9
(66)
16.5
(61.7)
13.0
(55.4)
8.9
(48)
6.2
(43.2)
4.7
(40.5)
5.3
(41.5)
8.4
(47.1)
11.7
(53.1)
15.6
(60.1)
17.2
(63)
12.2
(54)
Record low °C (°F) 11.7
(53.1)
10.0
(50)
6.6
(43.9)
4.2
(39.6)
-1.9
(28.6)
-4.0
(24.8)
-4.1
(24.6)
-4.5
(23.9)
0.0
(32)
2.2
(36)
6.9
(44.4)
7.7
(45.9)
-4.5
(23.9)
Precipitation mm (inches) 12.5
(0.492)
17.5
(0.689)
16.4
(0.646)
17.9
(0.705)
17.2
(0.677)
26.0
(1.024)
17.6
(0.693)
15.6
(0.614)
19.7
(0.776)
16.1
(0.634)
19.4
(0.764)
22.6
(0.89)
214.1
(8.429)
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Heritage listings

Port Augusta has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Beauchamp Lane: Port Augusta Waterworks
  • Beauchamp Lane: Beatton Memorial Drinking Fountain
  • Beauchamp Lane: Gladstone Square Bandstand
  • 9 Church Street: St Augustine's Anglican Church, Port Augusta
  • Commercial Road: Old Port Augusta railway station
  • 52 Commercial Road: Port Augusta Institute
  • 54 Commercial Road: Port Augusta Town Hall
  • 34 Flinders Terrace: Port Augusta School of the Air
  • 1 Jervois Street: Port Augusta Courthouse
  • Stirling Street: Port Augusta railway station
  • off Tassie Street: Port Augusta Wharf
  • 12 Tassie Street: Bank of South Australia, Port Augusta

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