HISTORY OF THE VICTOR HARBOR MAINSTREET

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DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF THE VICTOR HARBOR TOWN CENTRE 

The City of Victor Harbor, like many other regional towns has developed around a central business district, commonly known as “Main Street.” Victor Harbor’s Mainstreet has always been known as Ocean Street, which has expanded to be a precinct that includes Coral St, Albert Place and Railway Tce.   The area has been the focus of business activity for around 120 years with many of the old buildings lining the streets being State and Local Heritage listed.

The seaside town of Victor Harbor is located on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula, about 80 kilometres south of the Adelaide CBD. It is the largest population centre on the peninsula, and a favoured summer holiday destination. Traditionally, home of the Ramindjeri and Ngarrindjeri people, Encounter Bay, on which Victor Harbor sits, was discovered by British explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802. It was in these waters that the historic encounter occurred, a meeting of Flinders and French explorer Nicolas Baudin, resulting in the bay being named, Encounter Bay. In 1837, the HMS Victor anchored off Granite Island mid-journey and its captain named the sheltered waters in the lee of the island Victor Harbor after his ship. It was around this same period that two whaling stations were established in the area, one at Rosetta Head (commonly known as The Bluff) and the other near the point opposite Granite Island. The whaling station was managed for some time by Captain John Hart, who later became Premier of South Australia. It was 1863 when the town of Port Victor was laid out on the shores of Victor Harbor, following the extension of the horse drawn tramway from Goolwa. The town's name was changed to Victor Harbor in 1921. 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 a number of other geographical locations within South Australia, is said to be a result of spelling errors made by an early Surveyor General of South Australia. Victor Harbor's built history tells a story of how the town has evolved. These stories are shared through the City of Victor Harbor's interpretive plaque project. These small blue plaques are placed on a number of buildings and structures around Victor Harbor, documenting the town's heritage