I am an Australian natural history writer and photographer. My aim is to encourage people to venture outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of our planet.
Visit my blog naturallysouthaustralia.com
Published September 30th 2021
Largs Bay is one of Adelaide's older beachside suburbs. It lies south of the Outer Harbour between North Haven and Semaphore; a twenty-minute drive from the city's CBD. A jetty, playground, kiosk, hotel and grassy verges make it a worthwhile destination.
Urban birds including Starlings, sparrows, Noisy Miners, magpies, swallows, ravens, honeyeaters, Spotted Doves and Willie Wagtails, are common along the pathways. Nankeen Kestrels, herons and kites hunt in the scrub where there are mice, small skinks, insects, Shingleback, Bluetongue and dragon lizards as well as a few venomous Eastern Brown Snakes. A variety of insects and spiders live on the coastal vegetation and in the sand drifts, there are several ant and wasp species.
The surrounding ocean is home to several gull species and the occasional pelican. Encrusting invertebrates such as sponges, sedentary worms, sea squirts, limpets and barnacles cling to the jetty poles. Tommies (Australian Herring), mullet, Salmon Trout, Yellowfin Whiting, Garfish and other common recreational species are caught from the jetty. Snorkelers might also encounter baitfish schools, rays, cowfish, gobies, flathead, small bream as well as crabs. Pods of Bottlenose Dolphins often cruise past the jetty and sometimes Long-nosed Fur Seals are seen swimming near crab nets.
Along the boardwalk and pathways stretching from North Haven through Largs Bay and down to Semaphore, the dunes have been revegetated with endemic species after years of neglect. There are four main layers of plants in this region: ground covers, rushes and grasses, small and medium shrubs as well as some mosses and lichens. The grasses and ground covers bind the loose sand: Pigface, Spinifex and Knobby Clubrush are good examples. Small bushes such as saltbush species and Cushion Bush fill the mid-level and larger shrubs like Coastal Wattle and Boobiallas comprise the upper story.
Before the first settlers arrived in South Australia the coastal dune system extended further inland and was bounded by more mangroves and swampland to the east. The dunes were sheltered camping areas for the Kaurna people who migrated along the coast hunting and foraging in the warmer months.
Largs Bay jetty, a luxury hotel and row of shops were built in the early 1880s by the Largs Bay Land and Investment Company. At this time large ships could not dock in Port Adelaide. Passengers, goods and mail were taken in barges to the jetty which measured around 640 metres in length and was connected by rail to the Fort Glanville line. From this point, mail was distributed to Victoria and New South Wales. In 1908 the Outer Harbour was built and Largs Bay's central role declined. Severe storms in 1953 damaged the jetty and repairs shortened it to around 200 meters and the rail tracks which had gone to the end of the original jetty were removed. Nearby, Fort Largs at Taperoo and Semaphore Park's Fort Glanville were built between 1878 and 1889 as deterrents to foreign powers threatening British colonies.
Community mosaic artwork on the amenities block by the jetty
Largs Bay is an ideal destination for so many reasons. Families will appreciate the playground, public toilets and kiosk as well as the easily accessed long, sandy beach. The jetty is used for fishing, crabbing and it is quite safe for snorkelling. There are information plaques on the foreshore and the historic old shops and classic Largs Bay Hotel date back to the late 1800s. Bike and walking trails lead along the foreshore towards Semaphore to the south and Taperoo to the north. There is ample parking north of the jetty. The area is dog friendly.
Very interesting and informative article. Hopefully this information won't be made irrelevant by the sand mining and pipeline activities which will potentially threaten and disrupt wildlife and beach-goers in the near future.