History of Coffin Bay Oysters

At Coffin Bay Oyster farm, we have a real interest and passion in delving into the history of the Coffin Bay oyster industry. We are continually seeking new information and photos – if you have anything you think may be of interest please us.

1802 – Matthew Flinders found and named Coffin Bay after Sir Isaac Coffin
1841 – American whaling ships used Coffin Bay as a safe anchorage for water and supplies
1848 – Cartage of native Coffin Bay oysters began
1853 – Oyster fisheries act came into force 4 years before South Australia had a parliament
1853  – Oyster licences granted by Glenelg at hold fast shores for the storage and safe keeping of oysters from Coffin Bay before they were consumed at numerous oyster rooms
1870  – Some 30 sailing cutters ranging in length from 25 to 40 ft were dredging the Coffin Bay waterways. Eighty or so men were employed on the boats with production averaging around 900 tonnes per year.
1885 – The first licensing system was introduced,with every person having to pay forty shillings [$4] and all vessels engaged in oystering had to be licensed.
1934 – Coffin Bay Oystermens association was formed
1937 – Sydney rock oysters were trialled but failed due to high salintity
1945 – The end of the native oyster fishery with no further records of sales


Pictured above :- Original Oyster Cutters & harvesting oysters in the 1800’s

1966 – First oyster lease was granted in Kellidie Bay and Yangie Bay
1969 – Another oyster lease was granted by the township of Coffin Bay and the prievious two were relinquished in its favour.
1969 – Late October small pacific oysters arrived in Coffin Bay
1973 – First batch of pacific oysters to be sold commercially
1986 – The first of the new modern commercial oyster leases was approved in Dutton Bay
1991 – Oystermen applied for and trialled a oyster lease in the historic Horse Peninsula area,which paved the way for the current oyster industry in Coffin Bay