Port Pirie was initially inhabited by the local Nuguna Aboriginal tribes. The region was then known as ‘tarparrie’. The first European who explored the region was Matthew Flinders who sailed up the Spencer Gulf in 1802. The muddy inlet on which the port is built was formerly known as Samuel’s Creek and it was in 1845 that the yacht owned by John Pirie reached the coastal plain. The town was named after this explorer, John Pirie. In 1876 Port Pirie was declared as a municipality and by 1934 it became the largest smelting zone of the world. In 1953, Port Pirie became the first provincial city of South Australia. At present, Port Pirie has become the second largest port of Australia.
Port Pirie experiences a temperate type of climate with summer temperatures of 31ºC or more and winter temperatures of 16ºC. The average annual rainfall of Port Pirie is 350mm in a year.
The region of Port Pirie is well-served by road and rail transport network. There is also an aerodrome at Port Pirie which is highly suitable for light aircrafts and is located very close to the town centre. The harbour handles more than hundred ships in a year, with the major exports of zinc and grain. The Port Pirie Community Bus services specially cater to the needs of elderly people and physically handicapped people. They provide pick-up and drop facilities for these people from their doorstep. These buses ply from Tuesday to Friday.
Port Pirie has a rich cultural extravaganza which is depicted at the Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery and at Port Pirie Regional Tourism and Arts Centre. The Regional Gallery showcases the works of contemporary artists as well as various craft items from the different parts of Australia. The Arts Centre is a must visit place for all arts lovers. It is also the home of National Trust Historic and Memorial Park. Every year in the months of September and October the city hosts a popular festival of country music.
Port Pirie is a vibrating city which is widely gaining popularity as a tourist spot. Some of the popular tourist spots are:
- Memorial Park
- Blessing of the Fleet
- Carn brae
- National Trust Historic and Folk Museum
- Flinders Ranges
- Port Pirie Lead Smelter
- Solomontown Beach
Port Pirie has some great accommodation facilities which are offered at extremely affordable prices. Some of the well-known ones are: Hotel Newcastle Portside Tavern Federal Hotel Cabin Park Port Pirie Range View Caravan Park Sampsons Cottage