Initially called Surveyor’s Point, the town of Port Vincent was laid out by an Adelaide Solicitor in 1877.
Like most of the towns on the Yorke Peninsula, Port Vincent is an old port.
It was once one of the old landing spots for the ketches going up and down the peninsula.
Captain Matthew Flinders explored the coast of Yorke Peninsula in 1802, naming bays and geographical features.
He did not however name Port Vincent bay. Surveyor, Robert Cock, was commissioned to survey land around the area. He named the township, “Port Vincent” and called the bay “Port St. Vincent”.
Pastoralists took up sections of land facing the bay and in 1854, some of the land was sold and wheat crops were grown.
By 1869, wheat farming began replacing sheep runs. The grain needed to be shipped to Port Adelaide and in 1877, the construction of a jetty at Port Vincent began.
Port Vincent differed from other ports on the peninsula coasts in two ways:
- Firstly, the jetty was privately built and owned.
- Secondly, it was the only port on the eastern coast to have a wharf.
This was constructed in three stages between 1902 – 1909 and the jetty was demolished in 1918.
From 1877 – 1970, Port Vincent thrived as a port by shipping bagged grain and receiving general supplies. In 1970, a grain silo opened at Port Giles and bagged grain was phased out as bulk handling of grain took over.
Port Vincent was also the homeport of full-time and part-time fishermen. Fishing licences were introduced in 1904. The introduction of Government regulations in the late 1970′s saw many changes to the local fishing industry. In 1960, there were 11 full time fishermen fishing from Port Vincent.
The end of bagged grain handling could have seen the end of Port Vincent as a town: instead it was the beginning of a new era.