The Copper Coast, Australia's Little Cornwall
Moonta, Moonta Bay and Port Hughes are ideal holiday destinations. Moonta’s town centre, with its historic limestone miners' cottages, hotels, shopfronts and churches, retains much of its early ambience. The mining heritage is fascinating to explore and nearby Moonta Bay, Port Hughes and Simms Cove on the coast are popular with holidaymakers and retired people. The beaches are safe for swimming and water sports, the fishing’s great and the lifestyle’s relaxing.
Part of "The Copper Coast" on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia, Moonta, Moonta Bay and Port Hughes are about 165 kms from Adelaide. Along with Wallaroo and Kadina, Moonta had its beginnings when rich deposits of copper were discovered in 1861 by shepherds from Walter Watson Hughes' sheep pastoral property, now Wheal Hughes.
The huge copper deposits brought great prosperity to the district and to South Australia. In the late 1800s, Moonta was the largest town outside of Adelaide. The Moonta field of several mines, was operated by the Moonta Mining company. It was the first in Australia to pay one million pounds in dividends to its shareholders.
Most of the miners came from Cornwall in England and the district became known as “Australia’s Little Cornwall”.
The name "Moonta" is thought to be derived from “Moontera” meaning 'impenetrable scrub'. in the local Narungga, Aboriginal people’s language. Moonta is about 20 kilometres southwest of Kadina and 15 kms from Wallaroo. Moonta Bay, Port Hughes and Simms Cove, on the coast are a short few kilometres .drive away. North Yelta is an interesting old mining village just north of Moonta..
The popular Kernewek Lowender event, the largest Cornish festival in the world is held biannually in May on odd numbered years. Mark May 2009 in your diary!
The Moonta Mines produced about 170,000 tonnes of copper metal and along with the Wallaroo Mine, near Kadina, were the longest worked mines in South Australia’s history. The impressive mechanical workshops were the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Moonta was the first mine in Australia to have a Cementation works to further refine copper from treated ore. The first Gas Works and School of Mines outside the metropolitan area were established at Moonta in 1872 and 1890.
The best way to see Moonta is to purchase a copy of the “Discovering Historic Moonta” guidebook and follow the 16 km Heritage Trail which passes all the heritage National Trust properties.
Moonta Bay and Port Hughes
Both Moonta Bay and Port Hughes are a short drive away. Wide sandy beaches, interesting rock outcrops for children to exlore, and jetties where catching fish and big blue swimmer crabs is a daily occurrence.There is a boat slipway for the fisherpeople.