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Port MacDonnell, South Australia facts for kids

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Port MacDonnell
South Australia
View West to Port Macdonnell from Racecourse Bay.jpg
View West to Port Macdonnell from Racecourse Bay
Port MacDonnell is located in South Australia
Port MacDonnell
Port MacDonnell
Location in South Australia
Established 1860 (town)
31 October 1996 (locality)
Postcode(s) 5291
  • 395 km (245 mi) SE of Adelaide
  • 26 km (16 mi) S of Mount Gambier
  • 32 km (20 mi) W of Nelson, Victoria (Vic.)
LGA(s) District Council of Grant
Region Limestone Coast
County 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 Port MacDonnell:
Cape Douglas Allendale East Eight Mile Creek
Cape Douglas Port MacDonnell Eight Mile Creek
Ocean Ocean
Racecourse Bay
Footnotes Locations
Adjoining localities

Port MacDonnell, originally known as Ngaranga is the southernmost town in South Australia. The small port located in the Limestone Coast region about 477 kilometres (296 mi) southeast of Adelaide and 28 kilometres (17 mi) south of Mount Gambier in the District Council of Grant local government area. The 2016 Australian census which was conducted in August 2016 reports that the locality of Port MacDonnell had a population of 847 of which 671 lived in its town centre. Once a busy shipping port, the town now relies heavily on its fishing and summer tourism industries, particularly rock lobster harvest industry, proclaiming itself "Australia's Southern Rock Lobster Capital".


The area was originally inhabited by the Bungandidj Aborigines.

The first Europeans to see the area were led by explorer Lieutenant James Grant in HMS Lady Nelson on 3 December 1800. In 1860 the area was proclaimed an official port, was given a name, and was surveyed. It is named after Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell who was Governor of South Australia from 1855 to 1862.

In the 1880s, it was one of Australia's busiest ports, shipping large quantities of wheat and wool to Europe.

The port was, however, exposed to the weather and the site of many shipwrecks. Across the border in Portland, Victoria, 85 km southeast, is a much more sheltered port.


The town of Port MacDonnell is set on flat swampy land in a bay between rocky capes of spectacular wave eroded formations the most spectacular being those to the near west at Cape Northumberland. The port's harbour itself is formed by a large artificially constructed rock breakwater, while the coastline is sandy beaches and rock outcrops providing shelter to the port from the rough seas. The rock provides substantial habitat for the southern rock lobster which is the town's main industry and colonies of little penguin.


Cape Northumberland has a prominent lighthouse which dates to 1882. An earlier 1858 lighthouse was the first in South Australia however was demolished after it was in danger of collapse. A monument marks the site.

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