Port Pirie Local History
Local History of Port Pirie
Port Pirie is a regional city in the Spencer Gulf region of South Australia. The area now known as Port Pirie was first explored by Europeans in 1845 when the explorer Edward John Eyre discovered the Spencer Gulf.
Initially, the area was used for grazing but in the 1870s copper was discovered and a smelter was built, which led to the growth of the town.
The town of Port Pirie was established in 1876 after the discovery of copper deposits in the region. The first smelter was built in 1889 and it was connected to Adelaide by rail in 1888.
During this time, the town grew rapidly, with many businesses being established to support the smelting industry. Hotels, shops, and other services were established to cater to the growing population.
World War II
During World War II, Port Pirie was a major center for the Allied war effort. The city was home to a major shipbuilding industry, and the infrastructure for the smelting industry was used to produce munitions for the war.
The city was also home to a large Royal Australian Air Force training base, which trained many pilots for the war effort. Many soldiers were stationed in the town and many residents contributed to the war effort by working in factories, farming, and other essential industries.
After the war, the town continued to grow as the smelting industry continued to expand. The town was also well placed to take advantage of the growing mining industry, with many mineral deposits being found in the surrounding area.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the town underwent significant economic development, with the creation of the Port Pirie uranium enrichment plant and the opening of the Ellen Street Shopping Centre. These developments provided a significant boost to the local economy and the population continued to grow.
In recent years, Port Pirie has faced significant economic challenges as the smelting industry has declined. The town has responded by diversifying its economy, with a focus on renewable energy, tourism and agriculture.
The town has invested in renewable energy projects, and is home to a large wind farm and a solar thermal power station. These projects have created new jobs and brought new industries to the town.
Today, Port Pirie is a vibrant regional city with a diverse economy and a strong community spirit. The town has a rich history and a bright future, and it continues to play an important role in the development of South Australia.