The Yorke Peninsula Art Trail

I have found two differences between this area of the Yorke Peninsula (and generally through South Australia) with Victoria.

In Victoria, timber was commonly available to early settlers as an inexpensive and expeditious method of construction. Many early buildings have either rotted away or fallen down. In South Australia, early settlers used stone for constructing houses, schools, churches and public buildings. Many of them are still used and look very grand. Those that have been abandoned still stand as a shell. We found some more examples in our travels yesterday.  



Secondly, The silo art trail Victoria is based on grain silos on railway silos located on old railways sidings. Railways were the predominant method of taking grain to markets. Here on the Yorke Peninsula, there isn’t a network of railway lines as grain was taken away by bullock wagon to small ports where it was shipped on small ketches. However, we did find there is an art trail here and it is based on  painted water tanks.

We constructed a route that would allow us to see many of them and they were very impressive. The artists had created some very colourful work and each had a distinct theme. In this rather flat area, some doubled as mobile phone towers and for other forms of communication infrastructure.All are owned by SA Water – the government utility that supplies water to all South Australian Towns.


Coobowie – Celebrates the distinctive bird life and flora found in and around Coobowie.


Edithburgh – Highlights the natural beauty and striking underwater views around Edithburgh Jetty.


Mincowie –  On hill in the middle of nowhere, thi tank displays local animals, flora and scenery. It recognises Narungga culture and the region’s rich agriculture and natural beauty.


Port Vincent – Port Vincent past to present, hope for the future 


Stansbury – Celebrates the notable fauna and natural landscape near and around Stansbury.



Wool Bay – Celebrates local animals, flora and scenery, recognises Narungga culture and the region’s rich agriculture and natural beauty


Yorketown – Features: Various crops, bottlebrush, a pink salt lake, historical buildings and a Royal Flying Doctor Service plane.

Small towns generally do a good job of commemorating their heroes. The town of Minlaton is no exception. Located at one end of Minlaton’s main street is the town’s main attraction, the Captain Harry Butler Memorial with its perfectly preserved Red Devil. Butler paid his own fare to travel to England where he joined the Royal Flying Corps as an aircraft mechanic in WW1. He quickly managed to move to pilot and started flying over France with British fighter squadrons. By the end of the war had trained some 2,700 students to fly.


On 6 August 1919, Harry Butler came home in his Bristol M.1C monoplane, affectionately named the ‘Red Devil’. He was the first man to fly across from the Gulf St Vincent to Yorke Peninsula. With an inflated tyre tube around his waist as a safety precaution in case he had to ditch the tiny plane, Captain Harry Butler carried with him a 40 lb (18 kg) mailbag of postcards and letters for delivery to Minlaton – believed to be the first airmail over water in the southern hemisphere.


Port Victoria was our final stop for the day before returning to our cottage in Moonta Bay. Whist it seems a long way from home for us, Port Victoria is only a couple of hours drive from Adelaide. We have been amazed to see that the houses in this town, like other on the peninsula are generally all modern and quite solid. We haven’t seen any of the usual shacks or basic houses in these seaside towns at all. It seems that they are all holiday houses for Adelaidians.

Port Victoria was the last of the Australian ports to fill the holds of European sailing ships. The two square-riggers Pamir and Passat were the last to sail from the port in May and June 1949. In the end bulk handling facilities at Ardrossan and Wallaroo took over, and from being a port of significance, Port Victoria became a service town and a tourist centre with holiday homes increasing. Those tall ships would certainly have been a sight to see!


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