Port Pirie Grain Silos

This photograph, taken from the top of the bulk-loading gantry of the wharf, shows the last-minute preparations that are being made prior to the commencement of the “big pour” on Monday.

This week I’ve been trying to find out the history of the Port Pirie, South Australia grain silos.  I found the above newspaper cutting in with my Dad’s photos and it was Mum who identified where it was and what was happening.  Dad was a builders’ labourer, a brickie and also did concreting and other building work and he was part of building these silos.  From what I have been able to gather the main part of the work took place between 1957 and 1962.  I haven’t been able to find much online about it at all.  At first I thought this was rather unusual however then I thought it may be too recent to be considered “history” or it simply hasn’t been added to any South Australian industrial heritage websites yet.

“Country silos spread outwards along the railways from Ardrossan; the first local silo in the State was built at Paskeville and opened in January 1956. Bute followed a few months later. They took two forms: horizontal silos were built at Balaklava, Snowtown, Blyth, Hoyleton and Brinkworth, and vertical concrete elevators at Nantawarra, Redhill and Gulnare; the tall white cylinders were towering landmarks that could be seen from every farm in the Hundred and beyond. This first generation of silos all fed the Ardrossan terminal. With the construction of bulk handling terminals at Wallaroo in 1956 and Port Pirie in 1957, the way was open for silos throughout the region.”1

“Port Pirie1” by Fairv8 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Pirie1.JPG#/media/File:Port_Pirie1.JPG

The town’s lead smelter certainly takes the spotlight as it is the world’s largest.  It also produces refined silver, zinc, copper and gold.2

8 thoughts on “Port Pirie Grain Silos

  • February 15, 2018 at 9:17 pm
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    Hi Kylie, I wondered when these silos were built, to date some Super 8mm film my Uncle Syd shot in Pirie, I thought it was about 1962 also as the film had Pirie’s main street featured in it and it looked early 60’s to me.. There’s a shot of the silos under construction at 41 secs in this trailer for the documentary I used this bit of film for https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oqYbevoG9qI

    Best wishes, Steve

    Reply
  • February 15, 2018 at 9:35 pm
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    You have some great footage there Steve, I’m glad it’s been preserved. Kylie

    Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 10:56 pm
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    My Grandpa, Uncle and father constructed the formwork pictured. They were carpenters from Sweden. I’ve seen photos in my dads photo album taken when he was 16 or 17, I think it was mid 60’s. I’ve seen those silos when I was working on the ships. Interesting to see something my Swedish family helped build!

    Reply
    • January 18, 2021 at 10:09 am
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      Hi Richard, thanks for commenting, it’s interesting to hear who worked on the project. Please feel free to copy the photo and screenshot the blog entry for your own records. Regards, Kylie

      Reply
  • September 15, 2021 at 4:59 pm
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    There is still no “concrete” evidence of these massive silos being built no videos nor step by step construction photos we are all just told to believe they were built in the “60s” history is a lie most buildings are now gone because they were remnants of the previous civilization

    Reply
  • December 3, 2021 at 8:01 pm
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    hi kylie thanks for putting up about the port pirie silos like u i have wondered how on earth grain silos were built back in the days of horse and cart since i have researched this topic extensively i have found no concrete evidence of who built them or any photos, your newspaper clipping seems to be the only shred of evidence on the wide world web and it doesn’t really show much could of been anywhere and the fact that there isn’t anything else on any other silos built in the state as u have mentioned the video regarding port pirie ski club with the silos in the background has been doctored and u can see at the start of the video the full set of silos behind them at 41sec its shows silos but smaller looking nothing like what they do my point is history is a lie feel free to reply back

    Reply
    • June 7, 2022 at 8:12 pm
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      Hi Charlie thanks for your comment! I love how this post is gathering more and more bits of information over the years. Regards, Kylie 🙂

      Reply

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