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Victor Harbor is a city located on the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 80km south of Adelaide, South Australia. The city is the largest population centre on the peninsula, with an economy based upon agriculture, fisheries and various industries. It is also a highly popular tourist destination, with the city's population greatly expanded during the summer holidays.
Victor Harbor - Discovery
The bay on which Victor Harbor sits was discovered by Matthew Flinders in the HMS Investigator in April of 1802. Flinders was surveying the then unknown southern Australian coast from the West. He encountered Nicolas Baudin in the Le Geographe near the Murray Mouth several kilometers to the east of the present day location of Victor Harbor. Baudin was surveying the coast from the East for Napoleonic France. The ships returned to the bay and sheltered while the captains, who were probably unaware their countries were at war, compared notes. Flinders named the bay Encounter Bay after the meeting.
In 1837 Captain Richard Crozier who was en-route from Sydney to the Swan River Colony in command of the Cruizer-class “HMS Victor”, anchored just off Granite Island and named the sheltered waters in the lee of the island 'Victor Harbor' after his ship. About the same time two whaling stations were established, one at the Bluff (Rosetta Head) and the other near the point opposite Granite Island. Whale oil became South Australia’s first export. The town of Port Victor was laid out on the shores of Victor Harbor in 1863 when the horse-drawn tramway from Goolwa was extended to the harbor. The last whale was caught off Port Victor in 1872.
The town's name was changed to 'Victor Harbor' in 1921, as a result, it is said, of a near shipwreck blamed on confusion with Port Victoria in the Yorke Peninsula. Despite the fact that harbour is normally spelt with a u in modern Australian English, the name of the city is spelt Victor Harbor. This spelling, found in several geographical names in South Australia, including Outer Harbor, is the result of spelling errors made by an early Surveyor General of South Australia. Conversely Victor Harbour railway station is spelt with the u.
In 2006, the resident population of the City of Victor Harbor was 10,380, but over the summer holiday season the population almost trebles. Victor Harbor was declared a city in 2000. As a Local Government Area, the City of Victor Harbor includes the surrounding rural area and the contiguous township of Encounter Bay as well as the town of Victor Harbor itself; its total area is 34,463 hectare. It shares boundaries with the District Council of Yankalilla and the Alexandrina Council. The city is in the state electoral district of Finniss and the federal Division of Mayo.
Is a popular site for visitors is and is connected to the mainland by a short tram/pedestrian causeway. The tram service is provided by the Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram, one of the very few horse-drawn tram routes remaining in public transit service. Granite island is home to a large colony of Fairy Penguins which are a popular attraction on the island. These penguins shelter on the island during the night, departing in the morning to hunt for fish before returning at sunset.
The Cockle Train
A heritage railway operated by SteamRanger runs steam locomotive and other antique train services between Victor Harbor and Goolwa stations. This route includes the oldest rail route in Australia, between Port Elliot and Goolwa.
During the months of June to September, whale spotting is a popular attraction. Southern Right Whales come to the nearby waters to mate and calve. The South Australian Whale Centre located at Victor Harbor provides hands on interactive activities and presentations as well as information on whale watching tips.
Greenhills Adventure Park
offers activities including: waterslides, canoes, rock wall climbing, archery, mini golf, and go-karting.
Is the centre of the surf zone known as the "South Coast" to Adelaide and local surfers. Popular surf beaches in the area include Parsons, Waitpinga, Middleton and Goolwa. The Granite Island breakwater usually shields the town from waves.
The township also offers numerous fishing opportunities varying from offshore reefs for larger boat based anglers to excellent surf fishing on the beaches closer to the Murray Mouth.
Festivals and Events
The town hosts a three day Schoolies Week festival in late November mainly for South Australian school leavers. Victor Harbor hosts the second largest Schoolies Week Festival after the Gold Coast. The centre of the town is a dry zone and hosts various live music and other events for participants.