Originally named "Hummock Harbour", Port Germein was once an important transport hub for the surrounding districts
following the opening of its jetty in 1881 – at the time known as the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.
Due to the shallow water along the coast, the long jetty was built to allow sailing ships to be loaded with grain
from surrounding districts. Bagged wheat came from the local area, the eastern side of the Southern Flinders
Ranges via Port Germein Gorge (opened in 1879), and from the west coast in smaller boats. About 100,000 bags of
wheat were loaded per year. The jetty was extended to its full length of 1680m in 1883. With the opening of the
port came an influx of workers from Adelaide, and by 1900 the town's population had grown to over 300. Use of the
port declined when rail was extended to Port Germein in 1934, and the jetty was later reduced to its present length
of 1532m due to storm damage. The historic Port Germein Jetty Site is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.
Our friend was reading a poem that was displayed beneath a model of the"Admiral Karpfanger"
a German four masted barque which disappeared 1938 carrying a large number of young cadets.
Here is some of the poem.
Can you hear the sea breeze moving, whispering, tiny waves that rise,
bringing movements in the dim light, bearing mournful sea bird cries.
Can you hear the breeze increasing, building high the urgent waves,
bearing long lost sailors spirits, from their far flung ocean graves.
Can you hear the sea wind whining, with the sobs of those that cried,
when the wild Horn claimed their stricken ships, and their cries for aid denied.
Can you hear the sea wind howling, screaming loud to the desperate sea,
rushing madly, tumbling shorewards, and the white spume blowing free.
Can you hear the sea wind roaring, mighty rollers breaking strong,
fetch those restless spirits swiftly from the hulks where they belong.
Mighty, graceful "Kobenhaven" great barque "Karpfanger" too,
rest eternal in the cape's embrace and with them lay their crew.
From Germany and Denmark near one hundred laughing boys,
they sailed to learn the sailor's trade, to taste the wanderer's joys.
Many hearts were broken, many mother's tears flowed free,
when the Lutine's dread bell tolled those ships taken by sea.
Poem by Noel Smith.