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The land around Port Broughton was initially used for grazing, however the local conditions were unsuitable and the land was divided up into acre lots and sold.

Port Broughton was surveyed in 1871 to service the surrounding wheat and barley growers on the recommendation of Captain Henry Dale. It is on a sheltered inlet called Mundoora Arm Inlet at the extreme northern end of Yorke Peninsula. The town is named after the Broughton River (named by Edward John Eyre after William Broughton), the mouth of which is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of the township

The face of the 'T'-shaped jetty at Port Broughton

Built in 1876, the 'T'-shaped jetty was serviced by an isolated narrow gauge railway line from Mundoora, 16 km inland and uphill.

 

The Port Broughton railway line, officially opened on 11 March 1876, brought the grain down to the port. Horses were used to tow the empty wagons uphill, but they were sent downhill powered only by gravity, with a driver to operate the brakes. The passenger service ceased on 17 September 1925, but the grain traffic continued. During January, 1926, a Fordson rail tractor displaced the animal power. From 1931, the railways contracted out the service to a private operator.

The service ceased altogether on 3 August 1942, but the tractor continued to shunt wheat wagons between the station yard and the jetty until moved elsewhere. Ketches carried the grain from the jetty 8 kilometres out into the gulf where the larger windjammers were anchored to carry the grain back to England. The windjammers ceased to call in 1949.

Locomotives were proposed in 1906.

Lying on the eastern side of Spencer Gulf, Port Broughton's coastline is relatively protected, resulting in large expanses of shallow water and seagrassestidal flats and vast areas of mangroves that flank the inlet on which the town is built. The small town of Fisherman Bay lies 5 km north of Port Broughton and has much the same coastal features. Between the mouth of Fisherman Bay and Port Broughton lies Shag Island, an important breeding site for several species of cormorant. The Broughton River lies further north toward Port Pirie, where its estuary is located. Further inland, most of the land is fairly featureless farming country, with only fragments of the original vegetation remaining.

Since its establishment, Port Broughton's economy has largely been driven agriculture, in particular cereal crops. Commercial fishing is also an important part of the economy, with scalefish and Blue Swimmer Crabs accounting for much of the catch. As of 2010 Port Broughton supports a prawning fleet.

Like many towns on the Yorke Peninsula, Port Broughton is a prime tourist destination, with activities such as fishingcrabbing and a variety of watersports being popular. The town has a boat ramp for such activities. The town has two caravan parks and a number of units, as well as a motel. Nearby Fisherman's Bay has many shacks belonging to holiday-makers, as well as its own small boat ramp.

The recorded population the township of Port Broughton at the time of the 2011 census was 982 (Port Broughton district population 1424). The majority of the population (838) were Australian born, with the majority of immigrants coming from the United Kingdom. The census also found that over half the population of Port Broughton is over 55, with the median age being 61, suggesting the town is popular with retirees. Christianity is the dominant religion in the region, and is well serviced by a number of churches.

The town has a number of sporting clubs including Cricket and Netball clubs, and an Australian rules football club playing in the Northern Areas Football Association as the Broughton-Mundoora Eagles.

Port Broughton Area School and Port Broughton District Hospital & Health Service provide the towns educational and medical needs respectively

Port Broughton is the seat of the District Council of Barunga West. The mayor currently is Cynthia Axford. It is in the state electoral district of Frome and the federal Division of Grey.

Railway Facilities.

The Port Broughton railway line, officially opened on 11 March 1876, brought the grain down to the port. Horses were used to tow the empty wagons uphill, but they were sent downhill powered only by gravity, with a driver to operate the brakes. The passenger service ceased on 17 September 1925, but the grain traffic continued. During January, 1926, a Fordson rail tractor displaced the animal power. From 1931, the railways contracted out the service to a private operator.

The service ceased altogether on 3 August 1942, but the tractor continued to shunt wheat wagons between the station yard and the jetty until moved elsewhere. Ketches carried the grain from the jetty 8 kilometres out into the gulf where the larger windjammers were anchored to carry the grain back to England. The windjammers ceased to call in 1949.

Locomotives were proposed in 1906.

The tramway line to Mundoora, reaching for a distance of 10 miles to the east of Port Broughton, was opened in the year 1875. Efforts have been made by local residents for many years without success to connect this with the main railway system. For some 40 years a single horse-drawn vehicle, commonly known as the 'Pie cart,' ran daily from Port Broughton to Mundoora, and received passengers and mails which arrived per coach from Brinkworth. Some two years ago this tramcar was dispensed with, and soon after the completion of the broadgauge line to Redhill, the Railway Department installed a daily motor bus service direct from Port Broughton to Collinsfield, and now an up-to-date motor coach, completely fitted with all modern appointments to ensure the comfort of passengers, leaves Port Broughton at 9.50 a.m. and arrives back at 1 p.m., connecting with the daily passenger train from Adelaide. Formerly the bulk of Port Broughton's goods were landed by fortnightly steamer which ran daily on the, Port Broughton-Mundoora line for over 40 years, conveying passengers and mail. It was substituted by an up-to-date railway motor bush a year ago from Port Adelaide. This branch of the trade is now catered for by the Railway Department, which runs a daily cargo service from Port Broughton to Collinsfield. Years ago horses were used to bring the trucks of wheat and produce from Mundoora to the seaboard. A Fordson tractor, recently substituted for. this purpose, is capable of running three trips, per day. in the wheat season, and is much more economical and expeditious than the old method of conveyance. The volume of railway trade both in passengers and goods has greatly increased under the present system. Over 300 tons of superphosphate were delivered by the Railway Department direct to farms in the locality last season, and at the present time the department is collecting wool from farmers to cart to the railway line, and has arranged with the farmers to cart next season's cornsacks to their farms.

 

Town Industry.

Port Broughton was once the centre of a milling industry. For many years Messrs John Darling & Son owned a mill in the main street, where their office now stands. This closed down permanently in 1912 owing to the decentralization of milling operations in country areas, and was dismantled a few years later. Valuable fields of marine fibre, from which cloth fabrics can be manufactured, were discovered some years ago close to Port Broughton. Several attempts were made to carry on the dredging and handling of this fibre successfully, the most important of which was that of the Posi donia Fibre Company, which spent thousands of pounds in an attempt to establish the industry. A large store and cleaning works, with plant for handles the fibre, were built, and also a jetty for shipping and receiving the product. When in full swing 70 men were employed, which gave the town a great impetus. Unfortunately, through the drastic effects of the war, labour conditions, and high freights, the company was compelled to close down. The old dredge which was then used still remains on the sands close to the jetty. Fishing is an important industry at Port Broughton. A fleet of boats is in commission throughout the year, and a number of families are engaged in the trade. Visiting boats from adjacent ports frequently operate in Port Broughton waters. Approximately 30 tons of fish are trucked away annually to Melbourne from the port by rail and road.

 The Baker Shop & Cash Store at Port Broughton 1891

Port Broughton Tramway yard 1900

Three vessels, described by Searcy as a 'working plant' at sea retrieving seaweed for the Marine Fibre Works at Port Broughton 1913

Two small craft at the Port Broughton jetty bringing seaweed in for the Marine Fibre Works 1913

The marine fibre works at Port Broughton with the steamer 'Ethel' at sea close by. 1912

Port Broughton 1910

Fancy dress football carnival to raise funds for new pavilion at Port Broughton, 21 August 1911. An almost exact image was published in the Adelaide Chronicle on 2 September 1911 (page 30). An article reported: 'Port Broughton, August 24. - The second annual fancy dress football carnival was held on Wednesday. Visitors came from all parts of the district. It proved a great success and the committee will net over £50. It was held in aid of the new pavilion fund. [The article mentions the names of prizewinners.] In the evening a fancy dress ball was held. The Institute was packed....The Port Broughton Brass Band gave their services gratuitously.' 1911

1910 PORT BROUGHTON: The Institute

 Darling's Flour Mill at Port Broughton 1915

Port Broughton's School 1910

PORT BROUGHTON: A general view of a farmyard thought to be at Port Broughton 1880

Information gathered from Trove & Wikipedia

Historical Pictures from State Library of South Australia

History

The main street of Port Broughton showing railway lines in the centre. 1914

'Windjammers:  This footage is spliced together from three films in the SA Maritime Museum Collection capturing life on board a windjammer. Footage was shot by Alan Villiers on 'Parma' in 1933, and on 'Passat' by Thomas Wells in 1938 and 1939 and Jack Wadrop in 1948.