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Cowell. Eyre Peninsula. Silo art work still being finished. A local cameleer and one of his beloved camels. | by denisbin
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Cowell. Eyre Peninsula. Silo art work still being finished. A local cameleer and one of his beloved camels.

Cowell.Captain Matthew Flinders charted this harbour entrance in 1802 but it was Governor Gawler who visited by ship in 1840 and named it Franklin Harbour after the governor of Van Diemen’s Land who had been a seaman on Flinders’ ship the Investigator in 1802. The McKechnie brothers took up a pastoral lease from here to Cleve in 1853. The land was surveyed for closer settlement (the Hundred of Playford 1878) and the town surveyed and gazetted in 1880. Governor Jervois named it after a friend of his Sir John Cowell. The new wheat farmers needed a port and the first jetty opened at Cowell in 1882. The District Council was formed in 1888 a sign of progress in the settlement. The old buildings of Cowell include the Post Office 1884 now the town museum; the Institute 1912; the District Council Offices 1912; the Methodist Church 1908; the Anglican Church 1909; the Masonic Lodge 1909;the former Baptist Church 1914, from 1933 Lutheran; the Franklin Harbour Hotel built in 1881 as a single storey hotel with the upper floored added in 1907; and the impressive Commercial Hotel built in 1910; the Police Station 1904; the former Bank of Adelaide 1908; the chaff mill 1908; RSL Hall 1953. In 1965 a deposit of jade (nephrite) was discovered in the hills west of Cowell and it is still mined there. It is the jade used in Chinese carvings and premier Cowell black jade is highly prized. The deposits are one of the largest in the world. Nearby Port Gibbon was used to ship out wheat from the earliest days. In 1915 a small town was surveyed here. During World War Two four concrete bomb shelters and radio towers 132 feet high were built to detect any Japanese enemy shipping heading towards the BHP naval ship building yards at Whyalla. By the time the shelters were completed peace had been declared. The shelters were sold to farmers in 1946. Two remain.

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Taken on September 9, 2019