Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walking the Cliff Tops of Second Valley

I'd been looking forward to this section of the our journey south to Cape Jervis. I've always been fond of Second Valley and Rapid Bay for snorkelling and fishing. I'd sat on the rocks at Second Valley gazing up at the cliff tops high above, the numerous headlands standing sentinel. Pretty special place.

South to Cape Jervis

Walking along the cliff tops from Second Valley, we could see the jetties and quarry works of Rapid Bay. There are two jetties, one dating from 1940 and in poor condition - it was closed about a decade ago due to safety risks. It was recently replaced by a new, shorter jetty, popular with recreational fishers and divers/snorkellers. Last fortnight, we walked south from Rapid Bay passing the quarry. Rapid bay fascinates me for it's multiple jetties, company-built vacant town, disused quarry, it's place in the State's history and not least cos of it's large beachside camping ground.

Colonel William Light made his first landfall on mainland South Australia at Rapid Bay on 8 September 1836. The site was named after his ship, the brig Rapid (162 tons). To mark this historic landfall the captain’s initials, W.L., were carved into large boulder – a replica is visible in the township, while the original is stored in the South Australian Museum, in Adelaide. The first European child born on mainland South Australia was delivered at Rapid Bay on November 7, 1836. His name was John Rapid Hoare.

For a short time Rapid Bay was considered a potential site for the new state capital, but with the discovery of the Adelaide Plains it faded into quiet obscurity. -- Wikipedia

The quarry was an open cut mine operated first by BHP and later Adelaide Brighton Cement. Limestone was mined and shipped from 1942 to 1988.

BHP built the town of Rapid Bay which consists of two areas of houses separated by a sports oval. The houses are all more or less the same, and in one section they are all vacant.

The jetty was opened in 1942, consisting of jetty and T-head wharf at the end. As early as 1958 the wharf's structual integrity was comprised due to shipworms and sections were rebuilt. The wharf is not a continuous wharf, but small jetty sections joined by a walkway. During reconstruction, one of these sections was found to have just three of the 25 piers either still fixed to the seabed or with enough diameter to carry a structural load. I fished off this section in the mid '90s, I remember quite clearly how much the jetty and wharf moved with the waves and wind, many piers could be seen to have rotted to such an extent that they no longer even reached the surface of the water. No wonder it was later closed.

(Wharf history source:

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit


South to Cape Jervis
Wirrina Cove to Rapid Bay via Second Valley
Distance 7.7km
Start Time 8.35am
End Time 11.30am
Moving Duration 2h08m
Stationary Duration 41m
Moving Average 3.6km/h
Overall Average 2.7km/h

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