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Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Port Lincoln is on the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula. Its backing is the Lincoln National Park which has good surfing beaches and beautiful coastal landscape.

The town has several historic buildings — Mill Cottage, The Old Mill and Port Lincoln Hotel. You can also obtain a permit to visit the Mikkira Koala Sanctuary, and for something a little more adventurous, cage diving amongst the great white sharks is there for the brave.

Port Lincoln is a major tuna fishing area and the catch is most important to the town's economy. So important is the industry that each year the town has a Tunarama Festival.

The festival began in 1962 when the industry was in its infancy. It is aimed at the family with free entertainment, competitions and contests for all ages. It is traditionally held over the Australia Day weekend which coincides with the fishing fleet putting to sea.

Technology has changed dramatically and the arrival of the aquaculture industry has seen fishing operations very different from the way they were in 1962, but the Festival remains pretty much the same. It is supported by sponsorship, grants and donations, and volunteers help the whole thing come alive.

The blessing of the fleet is important to fishermen and their families. It is a revered tradition, originating in Sicily, and one that has been passed from generation to generation. It calls on divine providence to safeguard ships and crews from the dangers of the sea, and for them to return to port with a bountiful catch.

There are lots of amusements and rides on offer, camel and helicopter rides, dance and music performances, seafood and wine to enjoy and, possibly the highlight of the Festival, tuna and prawn tossing.

The tuna toss attracts competitors from far and wide. It is open to men and women in two categories — athletic and amateur. Everyone is keen for a slice of the $7000 prize money! The record for the event is for a staggering 37.23 metres and was set in 1998.


Port Lincoln in South Australia's Spencer Gulf.


The next Tunarama Festival will be January 20-22, 2007. Entry is free.

More information

Tunarama Festival
Post Office Box 40
Port Lincoln 5606
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