Matthew Flinders came. He cast his keen eye around the narrowing Gulf as he ventured north. He inhaled deeply and took the warm salty air into his lungs and drank in the vista.  A pod of dolphins surfed on the bow-wave created by his robust sloop, The Investigator.


The Nukunu people, the first peoples of this land, observed this particular visitor as it encroached on their ancient shores.

His vessel beneath him and faithful to his command, Flinders gave the order to set aloft more canvas and he could hear her timbers and her sails sing. She inhaled deeply too and sighed as her sails captured clean air and pushed her effortlessly forward across the shallows of the Gulf.  

Muddy rivers, ‘Tarparrie’, and mangrove flats framed the backdrop of an ancient range as the molten sun sunk below the horizon to the west; the purple haze on the hills in the east, a sight of beauty.

And after Flinders they came….Eyre, Horrocks and Germein….they saw change.

The first vessel to navigate ‘Tarparrie’ was the schooner rigged John PirieIt carried a precious cargo; she was laden with sheep from Bowman’s Run. Earlier in 1836 she had sailed from England for South Australia, the smallest of 9 ships, just 19 metres long.

Now her true work began. On this voyage the sound of ropes and canvas, of cloven hooves on timber decks; and the baaing of sheep, a symphony, flowing and moving like a river.


These days the MV Reliance her 1200 ‘horses’ powering her along in a following sea and dolphin surf her wake on her starboard side. She is 16 metres long. The coxswain pulls back the revs and her throaty engines drop back an octave as she reaches the pilot boarding ground. This diesel fuelled symphony is in stark contrast to those who came before.

The Marine Pilot skilfully boards the foreign flagged ship. It too is carrying a precious cargo. The modules on her deck are strapped down, soon to be released and will be laid down in their final resting place behind the Nyrstar gates. This is Change.

The MV Reliance her engines now quiet but still warm and with heavy lines securing her to the wharf she lays alongside, quietly proud. She is proud because she knows her name is a fitting tribute to Matthew Flinders as it was also the name of the first vessel of Flinders’ command.  

She wonders what Matthew Flinders would think of the change… moving like a river… things are gonna change, change, change... that’s one thing that stays the same.

Port Pirie born, Corinna Rantanen (formerly Walter) smiled broadly as she chatted to people in Memorial Park. Corinna had returned to her home town for the day to be part of a workplace reunion. Corinna who currently resides in Lima, Peru, South America has been gone from Port Pirie for many years now.  Upon her return she could not help but notice how the trees along Three Chain Road have all grown, how green the city is and how exceptionally clean the streets are.

Corinna, whose apartment in San Isidro, Lima looks out over an ancient Olive grove planted by the Spanish some 400 years ago compares the green open spaces of Memorial Park. “The Parks are beautiful and spacious, they are perfect places to spend time with family and friends and just relax.”

Corinna has been fortunate to visit many countries around the world and thoroughly enjoyed a recent opportunity to come ‘home’ and was very happy to be here.

Corinna loves the quality of the fresh produce that is on offer in Port Pirie and loves the ease of getting around and the incredible sense of feeling safe.  Corinna said, “I love the sense of community and the warm and friendly people.”

Port Pirie – you are looking great”.  “No matter where I am in the world,  I am very proud to say that I hail from this fair City.”

Hasta la próxima vez, Hasta luego Port Pirie – Translation “Until next time, See you later Port Pirie”.

© Port Pirie Come See Change 2020
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