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Robe, South Australia facts for kids

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South Australia
Aerial photograph
Robe is located in South Australia
Location in South Australia
Population 1,090 (2016 census)
Established 19 March 1846 (town)
Postcode(s) 5276
LGA(s) District Council of Robe
Region Limestone Coast
County County of Robe
State electorate(s) MacKillop
Federal Division(s) Barker
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
18.1 °C
65 °F
10.9 °C
52 °F
631.5 mm
24.9 in
Localities around Robe:
Ocean Guichen Bay Mount Benson
Ocean Robe Mount Benson
Ocean Nora Creina Nora Creina
Footnotes Climatic data
Adjoining localities

Robe is a town and fishing port located in the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The town's distinctive combination of historical buildings, ocean, fishing fleets, lakes and dense bush is widely appreciated. Robe lies on the southern shore of Guichen Bay, just off the Princes Highway. At the 2016 census, Robe had a population of 998. Robe is the main town in the District Council of Robe local government area. It is in the state electorate of MacKillop and the federal Division of Barker.


Robe is one of the oldest towns in South Australia, founded by the colonial government as a seaport, administrative centre and village just ten years after the Province of South Australia was established.

Robe was named after the fourth Governor of South Australia, Major Frederick Robe, who chose the site as a port in 1845. The town was proclaimed as a port in 1847. It became South Australia's second-busiest (after Port Adelaide) international port in the 1850s. Robe's trade was drawn from a large hinterland that extended into western Victoria, and many roadside inns were built to cater for the bullock teamsters bringing down the wool, including the 'Bush Inn' still standing on the outskirts of Robe. Exports included horses and sheep skins and wool. The Customs House has been listed on the South Australian Heritage Register since 1980. A stone obelisk was built on Cape Dombey in 1852 to assist ships to navigate safely into the bay. Even so, there have been a number of shipwrecks along the coast in the area. An automatic lighthouse was built on higher ground in 1973.

During the Victorian gold rushes around 1857, over 16,000 Chinese people landed at Robe to travel overland to the goldfields, as Victoria introduced a landing tax of £10 per person (more than the cost of their voyage) to reduce the number of Chinese immigrants. The immigrants then walked the 200 miles (320 km) to Ballarat and Bendigo.

Robe's importance decreased with the advent of railways which did not come to the town. It became a local service centre for the surrounding rural areas. It is still home to a fleet of fishing boats. Especially important are the local lobsters.

Heritage listings

Robe has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Burr Street: Robe Cemetery
  • Cape Dombey: Cape Dombey Obelisk
  • 1A Hagen Street: Robe House
  • 2 Hagen Street: The Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Chapel and Schoolroom
  • 7 Karatta Road: Karatta House
  • Main Road: Lakeside
  • Main Road: Lakeside Stables and Coach House
  • Main South Eastern Road: Richmond Park Homestead
  • Millicent Road: Bush Inn
  • 2 Mundy Terrace: Robe Post Office and Telegraph Station
  • Nora Creina Road: The Hermitage
  • Nora Creina Road: CSIRO Field Research Station
  • Nora Creina Road: Dingley Dell
  • Nora Creina Road: Bellevue Homestead
  • Obelisk Road: Robe Gaol Ruins
  • Royal Circus: Royal Circus and Slipwall
  • 1 Royal Circus: Robe Customs House
  • Smillie Street: Robe Institute
  • Smillie Street: Criterion Hotel
  • 8 Smillie Street: Robe Courthouse, Police Station, Old Cells and Stables
  • 10 Smillie Street: Ormerod Cottages
  • 24 Smillie Street: Bank of South Australia Building
  • 26 Smillie Street: Campbell's Shop
  • 32 Smillie Street: Davison's Shop and Residence
  • 38 Smillie Street: Graymasts
  • 4-8 Sturt Street: Moorakyne House
  • 15 Sturt Street: Granny Banks' Cottage
  • 1 Victoria Street: Caledonian Inn
  • 5 Victoria Street: Wilson's Saddlery
  • 18 Victoria Street: Attic House
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