Cowell - Gateway to the Eyre Peninsula
Click here to view Cowell, Lucky Bay and Port Gibbon's Visitor Guide
Cowell is situated approximately halfway between Port Augusta and Port Lincoln. It is a popular fishing destination situated on Franklin Harbour which is a land-locked harbour with a narrow entrance where boats have acess to the calm waters of the harbour. Visitors can take a holiday to enjoy the pleasant climate and relaxed lifestyle.
Cowell is only a 2 hour drive from Adelaide via the Lucky Bay - Wallaroo ferry.
The sheltered waters of the harbour offer the fishermen spotted and silver whiting, snapper, squid, mullet, flathead, garfish, snook tommy ruff and blue swimmer crabs.
Foreshore developments have included deepening of the boating channel and construction of a boardwalk from which you can observe at close quarters the many types of marine and bird life which inhabit this area. Provision of a sheltered BBQ area, including an adventure playground, make it an ideal picnic area. An enclosed tidal aquatic area adjacent to the jetty and boat launching ramp provides unrestricted access to sea water swimming. Shaded BBQs are situated at the foreshore adjacent to the lawn area and playground. Public Toilets with access for disabled are provided.
Only a short drive south of Cowell you will find some of the most spectacular white sandy beaches, perfect for swimming, fishing and relaxing. (These beches are located on the drive from Cowell - Point Gibbon).
Flat Rock Beach - according to scientists, the flat rock formation is a visible remnant of the Ice Age. Good Swimming beach.
The Knob, 13kms south of Cowell, a sheltered beach with nearby rocks and sandhills and good fishing.
Port Gibbon, an old shipping port which is now a small shack settlement. Part of the original jetty remains today. Before the jetty was constructed wheat was loaded into ketches by chutes from the cliff top.
Amenities at Port Gibbon include public toilets, brand new playground and camping facilities at a Caravan Park.
Point Gibbon, 5kms from Port Gibbon, 20kms south of Cowell - here the scenery changes from high
cliffs to white sandhills and reefs. A short walk south from the car parking area to the point may be rewarded by the sight of a small sea lion colony dozing at the water's edge. In 1959 the wheat ketch "Milford Crouch" capsized and sank in these waters with the loss of 6 lives.
Poverty Beach, turn off from the Lincoln Highway north of Arno Bay, access track leads to a great surfing beach.
Lucky Bay, 16kms north of Cowell, a very popular shack settlement with a safe swimming beach for children. Fishing and crabbing are very popular off the shore or in the surrounding waters via boat, Lucky Bay has boat launching facilities.
A thriving oyster industry has been established in Franklin Harbour, with a number of farms now in commercial production of these delicacies. The clean, sheltered water of the Harbour provides an excellent environment for aquaculture, and the Pacific Oysters grown locally are recognised as among the best quality available anywhere. Fresh, locally grown oysters are available all year round, from a number of retail outlets in the town or from the oyster growers themselves, who can be found along Oyster Drive.
Cowell Area Schooloffers an accreditation course in aquaculture and has its own research and development oyster lease. Whiting, Snapper, Trout, Marron and Yabbies are grown out in tanks and make an interesting attraction.
Franklin Harbour Historical Museum - situated in the old Post Office residence, Main Street, Cowell - circa 1888. A comprehensive display of photos, documents, books, household and agricultural items, local geological specimens, local shells, aboriginal artefacts can be seen, telling the history and development of the Franklin Harbour Area. Three rooms - a kitchen, living room and bedroom, have been arranged in the period of the late 1800s. The Museum is opened daily 10.00am - 2.00pm
Ruston Proctor Steam Tractor Museum situated on the Lincoln Highway displays old farm machinery.
During 1965 Nephrite Jade was found in the Minbrie Ranges by a local farmer, Harry Schiller. It was the extreme toughness which first attracted Harry Schiller's attention. It is this important physical property of jade which has allowed carvers through the centuries to produce such intricate carvings in jade.
To date in excess of 100 outcrops have been located. The jade occurs within an area of 9 square kilometres and as such has been designated by the South Australian Department of Mines and Energy as the "Cowell Jade Province". The Cowell jade deposit is recognised as one of the oldest and largest in the world. The majority of the jade from Cowell is green. A small portion is black in colour and this commands the highest price owing to its rarity and ability to take a high polish. Associated with the jade pods are deposits of ornamental marble and carving quality talc.
Tourists come to Cowell from all over the world to visit the home of South Australia's beautiful black jade. Cowell jade makes a unique gift and is available from the Cowell Jade Motel, offering a wide range of elegant jewellery, carvings and collector's pieces.
Local Craft Shop
Located in the Cowell Institute, 4 Main Street , Cowell, offers a variety of home made products, open daily.
Mt Millar Wind Farm
The Mt Millar Wind Farm comprises 35 Wind Turbines. It currently produces 70 megawatts, providing enough energy to meet the needs of about 36,000 typical households. The wind turbine has a blade dimension of 71 metres, atop an 85 metre high tower - a combined height of more than 120 metres.
Construction commenced in October 2004 with the pouring of concrete for the first wind turbine in March 2005. Physical construction was completed in December 2005, and the first electricity was generated from the site on 28th February 2006. The Mt Millar wind farm was commissioned in December 2006, at a total project cost $138 million.
Cowell Township Historical Walk
Take a walk around the town, reading about the history of the buildings in Cowell, please visit the Visitor Information Centre at 8 Main Street to pick up a copy of the walk.
A copy of the walk can be accessed here - Cowell Township Historical Walk
Coastal Ketches Tourist Drive - take a scenic drive from Cowell - Point Gibbon, vieweing spectacular coastline, reading about the maratime history of the Franklin Harbour district along the way. The tourist drive is approx. 25kms.
May Gibb Memorial - Approximately 10 kms from Cowell on the Cleve Road. A memorial and plaque marks the nearby location of the first Australian home of renowned children's author May Gibbs. The early part of her childhood in this area would have been important in the later development of her famous "Gumnut Babies" characters for her many books.
Scenic drives from Cowell include a tour of the beautiful beaches, sandhills and coastal scenery south of Cowell to Port Gibbon, and thence inland to the agricultural areas of our district.
Yabmana - Site of the first district Post Office and Police Station
Wangaraleednie - Where the first settlers, Dr McKechnie and his brothers settled in 1853
Mangalo - Grain silos and Community Centre for the surrounding farming area.
Middlecamp shearing Shed and Crofter's Cottage - Used as a halfway resting place from Wangaraleednie Station when carting wool to Cowell for loading onto the boats.
Mindrow creek National Trust Reserve - Ruins of a school which was typical of many other one teacher schools in the district.
Millers Point - First store and wine saloon in the district
Ulgera Gap - Early watering place, where there was a fruit shop garden watered from the fresh water spring, and also a blacksmith's shop.
Ulbana Gap - First Weir, constructed in 1911. Water was reticulated to Cowell and surrounding district.
Mt Olinthus - TV tower, also abandoned Miltalie silver and copper mine.