The lead smelter and grain silos at the wharf of Port Pirie
|Elevation||4 m (13 ft)|
|Time zone||ACST (UTC+9:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||ACDT (UTC+10:30)|
|Location||223 km (139 mi) from Adelaide|
|LGA(s)||Port Pirie Regional Council|
Port Pirie is a city and seaport on the east coast of the Spencer Gulf in South Australia, 223 km (139 mi) north of the state capital, Adelaide. The settlement was founded in 1845 and at June 2018 had an estimated urban population of 14,188. Port Pirie is the seventh most populous city in South Australia after Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Gawler, Mount Barker, Whyalla, Murray Bridge.
The city's economy is dominated by one of the world's largest lead smelters,operated by Nyrstar. The smelter is currently undergoing a $650 million upgrade to replace some of the old existing plant and to reduce airborne lead emissions drastically. It also produces refined silver, zinc, copper and gold. Port Pirie is the largest city and the main retail centre of the Mid North region of South Australia.
Prior to European settlement, the location that became Port Pirie was occupied by the indigenous tribe of Nukunu. The location was called 'Tarparrie', which is suspected to mean "Muddy Creek". The first European to see the location was Matthew Flinders in 1802 as he explored the Spencer Gulf by boat. The first land discovery by settlers of the location was by the explorer Edward Eyre who explored regions around Port Augusta. John Horrocks also discovered a pass through the Flinders Ranges to the coast, now named Horrocks Pass .
The town was originally called Samuel's Creek after the discovery of Muddy Creek by Samuel Germein. In 1846, Port Pirie Creek was named by Governor Robe after the John Pirie, the first vessel to navigate the creek when transporting sheep from Bowman's Run near Crystal Brook. In 1848, Matthew Smith and Emanuel Solomon bought 85 acres (34 ha) and subdivided it as a township to be known as Port Pirie. Little development occurred on site and by the late 1860s there were only three woolsheds on the riverfront.
The government town was surveyed in December 1871 by Charles Hope Harris. The thoroughfares and streets were named after the family of George Goyder, Surveyor General of South Australia, with the streets running parallel and at right angles to the river. In 1873 the land of Solomon and Smith was re-surveyed and named Solomontown. On 28 September 1876, Port Pirie was declared a municipality, with a population of 947.
With the discovery of rich silver-, lead- and zinc-bearing ore at Broken Hill in 1883, and the completion of a narrow gauge railway from Port Pirie to close to the Broken Hill field in 1888, the economic activities of the town shifted. In 1889 a lead smelter was built by the British Blocks company to treat Broken Hill ore. Broken Hill Proprietary initially leased the smelter from British Blocks and then began constructing their own smelter from 1892. In 1913 the Russian consul-general Alexander Abaza reported that Port Pirie had a population of over 500 Russians, mostly Ossetians, who had come to work at the smelter. The town supported a Russian-language school and library.
In 1915 the smelter was taken over by a major joint venture of Broken Hill-based companies, Broken Hill Associated Smelters (BHAS). Led by the Collins House Group, BHAS became the biggest lead smelter in the world by 1934.The smelter gradually passed to Pasminco, then Zinifex, and is now operated by Nyrstar.
By 1921 the town's population had grown to 9801 living in 2308 occupied dwellings. By this date there were also 62 boarding houses to cater for the labour demands at the smelter and on the increasingly busy waterfront.Port Pirie was declared South Australia's first provincial city in 1953, and today it is South Australia's second largest port. It is characterised by a gracious main street and some interesting and unusual historic buildings.
Port Pirie has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
According to the 2006 Census, the population of the Port Pirie census area was 13,206 people. Approximately 51.8% of the population were female, 86.9% are Australian born, over 92.7% of residents are Australian citizens and 2.6% were Aboriginal people.
The most popular industries for employment were Basic Non-Ferrous Metal Manufacturing (9.7%), School Education (6%), Hospitality (only including hotels) (11%),[ citation needed ] Health (5.4%) and Animal Husbandry (4%), while the unemployment rate is approx. 11%. The median weekly household income is A$608 or more per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide. 27.1% of the population identify themselves as Catholic, while 23.7% identify with no religion at all.
Port Pirie is at an elevation of 4 metres above sea level. It is approximately 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) inland, on the Pirie River, which is a tidal saltwater inlet from Spencer Gulf. It is on the coastal plain between Spencer Gulf (to the west) and the Flinders Ranges to the east.
Port Pirie exists in a region with a semi-arid climate, outside Goyder's Line, surrounded by mallee scrub. Average daily maximum temperatures vary from a mild 16.4 °C in winter to 32.0 °C in summer. Its average annual rainfall is 345.2 millimetres, most of which falls in winter.
According to the Köppen climate classification, Port Pirie has a warm semi-arid climate, noted as BSh.
|Climate data for Port Pirie|
|Record high °C (°F)||48.6|
|Average high °C (°F)||32.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||17.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||4.8|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||18.6|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Port Pirie is 5 km (3 mi) off the Augusta Highway. It is serviced by Port Pirie Airport, six kilometres south of the city.
The first railway in Port Pirie opened in 1875 when the South Australian Railways 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge Port Pirie-Cockburn line opened to Gladstone, ultimately being extended to Broken Hill. The original Ellen Street station was located on the street with the track running down the middle. The station today is occupied by the Port Pirie National Trust Museum.
In 1937, it became a break-of-gauge station when the broad gauge Adelaide-Redhill line was extended to Port Pirie. At the same time the Commonwealth Railways standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway was extended south from Port Augusta to terminate at the new Port Pirie Junction station where it met the broad gauge line, in the suburb of Solomontown.
As far back as 1943, a plan existed to build a new station to remove trains from Ellen Street.As part of the gauge conversion of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill line, Mary Elie Street station was built to replace both Ellen Street and Port Pirie Junction stations.
When opened, the new station was the meeting point for the Commonwealth Railways and South Australian Railways networks with through trains changing locomotives and crews, so the disadvantages were not as notable. However, after both became part of Australian National in July 1975 and trains began to operate in and out with the same locomotives, trains began to operate via Coonamia station on the outskirts of the city.
Mary Ellie Street station was eventually closed in the 1990s and in 2009 was redeveloped as the city's library. Until 2012, a GM class locomotive and three carriages were stabled at the platform.
Port Pirie's marine facilities, managed by Flinders Ports, handle up to 100 ship visits annually, up to Handymax size, for commodities such as mineral concentrates, refined lead and zinc, coal, grain, and general cargo.
Parts of this article (those related to Zinifex which has spun out and floated Nyrstar owning the smelters) need to be updated.March 2009)(
The main industries are the smelting of metals, and the operation of silos to hold grain.
Port Pirie's main employer is Nyrstar, which operates the largest lead smelter/refinery in the southern hemisphere. [ citation needed ] In 2006 Zinifex formed a joint venture with Umicore to create Nyrstar, which owns the smelter, with the intention that it would eventually be an entity separate from the parent companies.A lead smelter has been operating in Port Pirie since the 1880s, and high blood lead levels in the local population are an ongoing concern. The Stack, which can be seen kilometres away, is 205 metres tall, and is the tallest structure in the state.
Flinders Industrial, a new industrial estate, is currently[ when? ] in its second stage and is planned to be home to the new council depot.[ when? ] There were plans to build a sulphuric acid plant for the benefit of the Nyrstar Smelter, but this project has been shelved and deemed not feasible.[ citation needed ]
A new $3.3 million cultural precinct was completed in 2010 built by the Port Pirie Regional Council in partnership with the Federal Government. A committee is also looking at building a multi-purpose stadium. The swimming pool is now state of the art after receiving a $1 million refit. A major Waste Recovery Facility was opened in 2013, which allows all waste and recycled material to be sorted and sorted under one roof. In 2012 Port Pirie Regional Council completed a $5m Community Water Recycling project with Nyrstar which allows 350ML of water to be reused from the smelter. Plans are underway to establish a large shopping complex in the city with an additional supermarket and department store. The city's population is continually growing and property prices continue to rise. The Port Pirie Regional Council has a number of large projects that will be launched or completed next financial year.
The PPRC completed a major redevelopment of its foreshore area in 2014 including the construction of the Solomontown Beach Plaza, opening up Beach abroad to through traffic, replacing lighting along the beach as well as improvements to security in the region. In addition, by the end of 2014, the council aims to replace and duplicate the current Solomontown boat ramp and undertake dredging in the vicinity of the ramp. This investment is aimed at creating a waterfront which will revitalise the area from the Main Road boat ramp up to the area off Ellen street.
Lead smelters contribute to several environmental problems, especially raised blood lead levels in some of the town population. The problem is particularly significant in many children who have grown up in the area. There is a government project to address this.Nyrstar plans to progressively reduce lead in blood levels such that ultimately 95% of all children meet the national goal of 10 micrograms per decilitre. This has been known as the tenby10 project. Community lead in blood levels in children are now at less than half the level that they were in the mid 1980s.
The Port Pirie smelter has a project underway to reduce lead levels in children to under 10 micrograms per decilitre by the end of 2010.
"The goal we are committed to achieving is for at least 95% of our children aged 0 to 4 to have a blood lead level below ten micrograms per decilitre of blood (the first ten in tenby10) by the end of 2010 (the second ten in tenby10)."
Higher concentrations of lead have been found in the organs of bottlenose dolphins stranded near the lead smelter, compared to dolphins stranded elsewhere in South Australia.The health impacts of these metals on dolphins has been examined and some associations between high metal concentrations and kidney toxicity were noted.
Port Pirie is the main centre for the Mid North area. Many towns in the area rely on Port Pirie for shopping and employment. It also has many educational institutions such as John Pirie Secondary School(years 8-12), St Mark's College (reception - year 12), Mid North Christian College (reception - year 12), many preschools and primary schools, and a TAFE Campus (Adult Education).
Port Pirie is home to the National Trust Historic and Folk Museum and Memorial Park. Every September and October it hosts a country music festival. It has significant Italian & Greek communities. The Keith Michell Theatre, within the Northern Festival Centre, is named after the actor Keith Michell who grew up in Warnertown, 5 km (3 mi) from Port Pirie.
The town's main newspaper, The Recorder, was first published 21 March 1885 as The Port Pirie Advocate and Areas News. In 1971, a brief experiment, known as the Northern Observer (7 July - 30 August 1971), occurred when The Recorder and The Transcontinental from Port Augusta were published under a combined title in Port Pirie.The Recorder, which is still in print today (Tuesdays and Thursdays), has recently changed to a morning paper, after being delivered at around 3:00 pm. Other Port Pirie newspapers include the free The Flinders News (Wednesdays), and The Advertiser , which covers some Port Pirie news, but to a very small extent.
Another newspaper, the Port Pirie Advertiser (7 April 1898 – 28 June 1924) was also published locally by Robert Osborne.A further publication was the short-lived Saturday Times (6 December 1913 – 15 August 1914), printed by Roy Harold Butler and closed at the start of the Great War. Another former publication was the Port Pirie Star (1971-1972). Another previous publication, called Desert Sun (December 1973-July 1974), and published bi-monthly by the Flinders Travel Service and Commonwealth Railways, was aimed at people interested in, or travelling on, the Indian-Pacific.
Television coverage is broad. ABC and SBS are available in the city with Southern Cross (7, 9 and 10) as well as Austar. Several radio stations cover Port Pirie including ABC 639AM, ABC 891AM, 1044 5CS, 1242 5AU, triple j, Magic FM and Trax FM (a community station).
|Port Pirie West|
|Port Pirie West|
2007 Federal Election
The results shown are from "Port Pirie West", the largest polling booth in Port Pirie, which is at the SA TAFE Campus.
Port Pirie is part of the federal division of Grey, and has been represented by Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey since 2007. Grey is held with a margin of 4.43% but is considered a safe Liberal seat.
The city is part of the state electoral district of Frome, which had been held since 1993 by former Liberal Premier, Rob Kerin, with a margin of 3.4%. It also has been considered a safe Liberal seat.
Although the region is generally Liberal-leaning because of its agricultural base, Port Pirie is an industrial centre that is favourable to the ALP (Australian Labor Party).
In late 2008 Rob Kerin announced his retirement, which led to a by-election being held in January 2009. Port Pirie mayor Geoff Brock announced his candidacy as an independent, and subsequently took the seat from the Liberals at the 2009 Frome by-election. After the poll for the by-election had closed and first preferences had been counted, (but before other preferences had been distributed), the result was Lib: 39.2%; ALP: 26.1%; Brock 23.6%; Nat: 6.6%; Greens: 3.8%; Other: 0.7%.
State Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith (Liberal Party) claimed victory (prematurely).Distribution of National, Greens and other preferences placed Brock ahead of the ALP candidate. Hence with the assistance of the ALP candidate's preferences, Geoff Brock won the by-election 51.7% to 48.3% for the Liberal candidate.
Port Pirie is in the Port Pirie Regional Council (PPRC) local government area (along with some of the sparsely inhabited areas around it).
Whyalla was founded as "Hummocks Hill", and was known by that name until 1916. It is the fifth most populous city in the Australian state of South Australia after Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Gawler and Mount Barker. As at June 2018, Whyalla had an urban population of 21,742, having declined at an average annual rate of -0.75% year-on-year over the preceding five years. It is a seaport located on the east coast of the Eyre Peninsula and is known as the "Steel City" due to its integrated steelworks and shipbuilding heritage. The port of Whyalla has been exporting iron ore since 1903.
Port Augusta is a small city in South Australia. Formerly a seaport, it is now a road traffic 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, Adelaide. 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 the mid-2010s, electricity generation. At June 2018, the estimated urban population was 13,799,> having declined at an average annual rate of -0.53% over the preceding five years.
Quorn is a small town and railhead in the Flinders Ranges in the north of South Australia, 39 kilometres (24 mi) northeast of Port Augusta. At the 2016 census, the locality had a population of 1,230, of which 1,131 lived in its town centre.
Gladstone is a small rural town in the Mid North of South Australia in the approach to the lower Flinders Ranges. At the 2006 census, Gladstone had a population of 629.
Peterborough is a town in the mid north of South Australia, in wheat country, just off the Barrier Highway. At the 2016 census, Peterborough had a population of 1,419. It was originally named Petersburg after the landowner, Peter Parker, who sold land to create the town. It was one of 69 places in South Australia renamed in 1917 due to anti-German sentiments during World War I.
Wallaroo is a port town on the western side of Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, 160 kilometres (100 mi) northwest of Adelaide. It is one of the three Copper Triangle towns famed for their historic shared copper mining industry, and known together as "Little Cornwall", the other two being Kadina, about 8 kilometres (5 mi) to the east, and Moonta, about 18 kilometres (11 mi) south. In 2015, Wallaroo had an estimated population of 4,010.
Hawker is a town and a locality in the Flinders Ranges area of South Australia, 365 kilometres (227 mi) north of Adelaide. It is in the Flinders Ranges Council, the state Electoral district of Stuart and the federal Division of Grey. At the 2016 census, the locality had a population of 341 of which 237 lived in its town centre.
Melrose is the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges. It is in the shadow of Mount Remarkable, 265 km north of Adelaide, and the town was once named "Mount Remarkable". At the 2011 census, Melrose had a population of 406.
Kilburn is a suburb in the inner north of Adelaide, South Australia. The suburb borders Blair Athol, Gepps Cross, Wingfield, Regency Park and Prospect. Kilburn has the same postcode (5084) as Blair Athol and was previously known as 'Little Chicago' before its name was changed during the 20th century.
Semaphore is a northwestern suburb of Adelaide in the Australian state of South Australia. It is located on the Gulf St Vincent coastline of the Lefevre Peninsula about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) from the Adelaide city centre.
Largs Bay is a suburb in the Australian state of South Australia located on the Lefevre Peninsula in the west of Adelaide about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) northwest of the Adelaide city centre.
Port Germein is a small sea-side town in the Australian state of South Australia located about 219 kilometres (136 mi) north of the state capital of Adelaide and about 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city of Port Pirie on the eastern side of South Australia's Spencer Gulf overlooking Germein Bay. Port Germein was named after Samuel Germein, who discovered it in 1840. though some credit his brother John with the discovery. The township was proclaimed in 1878. Port Germein's population in the 2006 census was 249.
Northern Power Station was located at Port Paterson in the Australian state of South Australia about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south of the city centre of Port Augusta. It was coal powered with two 260 MW steam turbines that generated a total of 520 MW of electricity. It was operated and maintained by Alinta Energy and was commissioned in 1985. Northern received coal by rail from the Leigh Creek Coal Mine, 280 km to the north. The plant ceased electricity production in May 2016 and decommissioned and demolished over the following few years.
Redhill is a town in the Mid North of South Australia adjacent to the Broughton River.
Zinifex was an Australian company that operated lead and zinc mines, refineries and a lead smelter. It was established in April 2004, when the assets of Pasminco were spun-off. In 2008 it merged with Oxiana to form OZ Minerals.
Ellen Street railway station was the second of six stations that operated successively between 1876 and the early 2010s to serve the rural maritime town of Port Pirie, 216 km (134 mi) by rail north of Adelaide, South Australia. Prompted by the need to have a station closer to the centre of the town than Port Pirie's inaugural station, it was opened in 1902 as a terminus for passenger trains on the main street. The railway was already present there – an unusual location in Australia. The striking Victorian Pavilion style of the building was unique on the South Australian Railways, and this factor assured its retention after closure as a museum of the National Trust of South Australia.
Solomontown is a suburb of Port Pirie in South Australia. It was historically a separate town. It was named after Emanuel Solomon, who owned the land that the town developed on.
Solomontown railway station was the third of six stations that operated successively between 1876 and the early 2010s to serve the rural maritime town of Port Pirie, 216 km (134 mi) by rail north of Adelaide, South Australia.
The Port Pirie Post Office is a heritage-listed post office at 79-83 Ellen Street, Port Pirie, South Australia. It was designed by Edward Woods and built in 1880, with extensions designed by Charles Owen-Smyth built in 1905-1907. It was added to the South Australian Heritage Register on 12 October 1995 and added to the Commonwealth Heritage List on 8 November 2011.
Flinders Ranges is a locality in the Australian state of South Australia located in the mountain range of the same name, about 380 kilometres north of the state capital of Adelaide, about 86 kilometres north-east of the municipal seat of Quorn and about 131 kilometres north-east of the centre of Port Augusta in the state’s Far North region.
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