Port Lincoln


Two words. Dean Lukin.

Three words actually. Dinko ‘Dean’ Lukin is the actual name, a bit of Croatian blood swirling round in the background there, the first and only Australian to win a gold medal in weightlifting at the Olympics, and not just any gold medal — the super Super Heavyweight Division, Sooooper Heavyweight, cream and ice cream, three big scoops, on your plum pudding — 138 kgs himself on that day in 1984 in Los Angeles. Beat the American with a final clean and jerk of 240kgs, a personal best.

Sure the eastern bloc countries stayed home but that’s their choice, and you might have forgotten his golds in the Commonwealth Games both sides of his Olympic triumph. Tonga, Fiji giving it their finest. The dramatic eyebrows didn’t do it by themselves but they played their part. He liked to lift angry. Don’t we all. He lifted his 240 after his brother had slapped his face. Hard.

After his competitive life he decided to drop weight and was so successful the circumference of his waist became smaller than either of his thighs at their fabulous peak as he became an elegant multimillionaire property developer and, with the publication of The Dean Lukin Diet, a best-selling author.

He has a son Dean Jnr, (in the middle below) an accountant and a bit of a hard charger with very large images in his forward vision.

581fe174a71eaa6fe7371b408aab7436.jpeg‘The Lukin family’s $289 million dollar Port Lincoln development has State Government approval, opening the way for up to 280 jobs a year during the next decade.

The project includes a 300-500 block housing development in two residential areas on the 118ha site, as well as a major wharf revamp and an industrial precinct. Lukin Corporation chief executive Dean Lukin Jr said it was the largest regional development in South Australia for many years.’ (Adelaide Advertiser 8/8/14)

This development includes a golf course shaped like a shark, and designed by? Of course, The Shark. (at left, Dinko Dean on the right. See what I mean about the eyebrows. Perhaps you can’t. They’re a bit like The Joker in Batman.)

Dinko Dean’s father, Dinko Snr, was a major figure in the development of Port’s bluefin tuna industry (current turnover round $420m annually) most importantly by beginning the process of catching tuna in the wild and then farming and fattening them in pens for sale, mostly to Asia. He made a fortune. He also left his first wife Ann in 1993 causing ructions in the business which as a result closed for a time and in 1996 met his second wife, Lakanna, a 29 year-old Thai woman who was working in a local restaurant. She changed her first name to Lukina because it meant ‘belonging to Lukin’ in Croatian. We’re deep in gossip now, but as you might possibly anticipate there was trouble over the will. Big trouble. 

But Dean Lukin … mate … wouldn’t you wanna get a bit involved with where he grew up?

Two more words. Made up words this time. Makybe Diva.

Triple Crown. Three Melbourne Cups. In A Row. 2003. 2004. 2005. Over the distance may well make Winx, international Horse of the Year 2018, look a bit ordinary. That might be a bit like comparing Marcus Bontempelli with Dame Margot Fonteyn but you get the idea.

Owner: Tony Santic, a bit of Croatian blood swirling round in the background there. That would be Tony of ‘Tony’s Tuna’, a very major Port Lincoln concern selling marine produce throughout the world. On his staff at one time he had Maureen Dellar, Kylie Bascomb, Belinda Grocke, Dianne Tonkin and Vanessa Parthenis.IMG_2051.jpgThe Tuna Boat Owners Association who are also behind the cultural centre and its program, the art competition, the very fine local sports facilities, the Tunarama festival and most of the other things that happen in town, made a major contribution to the erection of this statue.

Port Lincoln, not to be missed.


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Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 5.01.12 pm.pngWe flew there. From Adelaide it’s a 650km drive of variable interest round the top of the gulfs. In the Saab 340 it took about 40 minutes.

We hired a Yaris. There was nothing wrong with it apart from the suspension, road holding, transmission, engine and brakes.

The airport is 14 km from the town, looking for a suitable bit of flat land I guess. The first view across Boston Bay is slightly disconcerting. Did the silos have to be that big, I mean THAT big, you wonder.IMG_2056.jpgAt Port Lincoln we worship at the temple of Ceres. (Note the Santa installed above the ‘R’ below. Viterra might be a Canadian company but they’re making an effort.) Round the back Lord Gypsum has his own premises.IMG_2259.jpgThe grain &c. mostly comes in trucks these days. There was an endless and noisy procession of B Doubles doing a loop out through the bulk handler. Once it came by train. I wondered just how the line hooked up to Adelaide or anywhere else really. Maybe Whyalla. But it doesn’t, and didn’t. Its termini are just termini, two lines parked out on their own, finishing at the major centres of Thevenard and Buckleboo. Port Lincoln could, if you let it, feel very isolated.

But it doesn’t. It feels like a going concern. It has a population of about 16,000 and is the ninth biggest town in South Australia. (Quick quiz: Adelaide is obviously number one. Tell me four of the other seven. OK, three then. See the end of this blog for an answer.) And it’s well lubricated with money.

As far as I could tell Port Lincoln comes in two parts: Traditional (or Classic) and Contemporary (or Deluxe).

Traditional: Liverpool StreetIMG_2424.JPG


Foreshore, groovy place:IMG_2433.JPG

Foreshore, special occasion:IMG_2417.JPG

Foreshore, another special occasion. The Tunarama Festival’s highlight, the tuna throw:image.adapt.1200.HIGH.jpg

Foreshore, safe swimming:IMG_2178.jpg

Foreshore, also safe swimming. With that very gentle shoreline gradient of the South Australian gulfs, it’s a long way to get your calves wet with the tide out. And yes it is a municipal bulldozer doing something unfathomable further down the beach.IMG_2160.jpg

Eyre Peninsula gateaux. No surprises here:IMG_2192.jpg

Houses: A couple of defining aspects of traditional South Australian domestic architecture. 1. A colour scheme of rust and sandstone, or maroon and ochre if you like. 2. Brick with masonry infill. A keenly illustrative example:IMG_2144.jpg

Also. Suburban versions. IMG_2161.jpg



And more up market:image-1.jpgThis one was for sale: $670,000. It had a commanding view of the silos. Just incidentally, I would like to point to the four types of gardens in the four photos. There was a lot more of numbers 2 and 3, than 1 and 4.

But then you go round Kirton Point, and another world emerges — Deano World. You’ve left Boston Bay and are almost in Proper Bay. And that is its real name. Advisory nomenclature: that’s where you should park your boat, and that’s where they do park their boats. A small part of the tuna fleet.IMG_2239 (1).jpg

And if you’re lucky enough to be an owner with a fishing licence …IMG_2226.jpgIMG_2229.jpg… complete with statuary on the corner which you mightn’t be able to see in the bigger pic. (But at left.) The name of the boat is ‘The Battler’, and you can get a very nice reflected view of the Yaris in the lounge room window.

Just by going round the point, we’ve suddenly arrived at the Gold Coast.



IMG_2222.jpgCollective noun for palm trees. A surfeit.IMG_2228.jpgThe white building at the back here is the new municipal swimming pool and leisure centre (gym). Forget the shark proof pool on the foreshore, you don’t need to swim in the sea any more. In front is a pub with pokies, and a boat that says:IMG_2253 (1).jpgGet into it.

* * * * * * * *

I had chosen a motel on the beach unwittingly in what I am calling the Traditional part of town. And there we found Del Giorno’s where we ate very well. From the most extensive menu: 

DINKO TUNA STEAK: char grilled, with sautéed cherry tomato and chimmichirri sauce 34


KING PRAWNS LUKINA: Western King Prawns on house made potato rosti, fresh avocado, cherry tomato and coriander, with chilli 37

But we also went to Coffin Bay.IMG_2173.jpgThis is a surrogate for a photo. ‘Wake’ by Sally Kunze: $1200. It could have won the Annual Port Lincoln Art Competition, on show when we were there, but didn’t. The people running the show told me there were more than 60 artists living in and around Port Lincoln. But it’s here because that’s what Coffin Bay, with its oyster beds, looks a bit like. In addition, while there is trouble finding something interesting to do with the foreground, the sky’s good.

South Australia has got a thing about food and drink, of course, and if you eat and drink badly there you will have had a run of appallingly bad luck. I had a great meal at Amalfi in Adelaide, but I think the best meal we had was in Coffin Bay. (Population: 611.  Speaking only English at home, 97.8%. Most common response for religion: No Religion 64.3%.)

IMG_2166.jpgMatthew Flinders named the Bay, but not ‘Coffin’ with its lugubrious overtones. You might imagine one of his sailors dying and being buried there just for example.

He named it Coffin‘s Bay after Sir Isaac Coffin, a British baronet who was the naval attache at the port where Flinders’ ship ‘The Investigator’ was fitted out. Thinking about it, that probably doesn’t do a thing for the lugubrious overtones. I wonder if Sir Isaac spent much time on the topic. But all this would probably be news to anyone who has spoken of Coffin Bay or its produce in the last 50 years. (At left MF doing compass work just outside the Archway named for him.) 

It is famous for its oysters which, with Sydney Rock and Tasmanian, round out the holy triumvirate of Australian edible molluscs. I am inclined towards Sydney Rock myself, with that bit of extra flavour generated by all the pollution.

We had some oysters but not at Coffin Bay’s 1802 Oyster Bar and Bistro where we lunched. We had Heirloom tomato salad with whipped goats curd, pickled fennel, wild rocket salsa and sourdough; House-smoked fish pate with fennel lavosh and pickled baby vegetables; and King George whiting escabeche, lightly fried and cooked in charred orange juice, with potato fondant, cavalo nero and heirloom carrots; washed down with a Clare Valley reisling. And, while it might sound just a bit SA hipster-ish, it was a feast.

I’d say, even if you’re not a fan of weightlifting or if you happen to miss the Tunarama Festival, its still worth going to Port Lincoln. It’s another world.

* * * * * * * *


IMG_1867.jpgStrathalbyn, in the middle of the Fleurieu Peninsula and in the middle of a drought.

IMG_2398.JPGThe State Library in Adelaide where we found Sturt’s journals.

IMG_2403.JPGFrom a distance it could be a weaving. But it’s not. Just blue dots, and your eyes. A wonderful piece of work. ‘Tali. Sand Dune’ by Ken Kunmanara, who is from the APY Lands and who died at Mutitjulu, part of the circuit, in 2018. The most excellent Art Gallery of South Australia.

IMG_2409.JPGPirie Street, Adelaide late at night. The City of Adelaide, Light’s block (roughly 3km x 2km) enclosed by gardens, has a most desirable and deeply unusual mix of domestic and public buildings, light industry, coffee shops, Main Street shopping, units, historic terraces, institutional buildings, hotels and other sorts of accommodation, laneways, major thoroughfares, clubs, galleries, restaurants and everything else that could make life interesting. And you CAN live there. It’s a living city.

IMG_2145.jpgSimon and Mags at Maggie and Colin Beer’s farm near Nuriootpa. Could have bought, you know, jams and chutney, Pheasant Farm Pate, but didn’t. We were too late for lunch. Much as I love them, looked and left.

IMG_2297.jpgAt the gate of Bethany vineyards, the oldest in the Barossa. Without trying, we’d sort of been following these Tour Downunder chaps around and, suddenly, we had a chance to see them. They went past in a blur of colour and with a remarkable whirring noise. Most exciting. Richie Porte with his cheeks blown out at the front. Didn’t do any good. Again.

IMG_2344.jpgTerrific silo art at Waikerie. A yabby on the left by Jimmy DVate and a series of ideas on the right.

IMG_2356.jpgSouth of Robinvale, table grapes covered with dozens, in sum thousands, of hectares of plastic sheeting. What do they do with that when they finish? All so we can avoid one of the really deleterious effects of climate change, i.e. having grapes with a bit of brown on them.

* * * * * * * *

The Ten Most Populous towns in South Australia: In order, Adelaide, Mt Gambier, Whyalla, Gawler, Port Pirie, Bridgewater, Port Augusta, Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln, Mt Barker, Victor Harbour, Aldinga.

Population of South Australia: 1.67m. Population of Adelaide: 1.32m.


One thought on “Port Lincoln

  1. Wonderful material as usual David. You missed one thing however; the Railway Museum at Port Lincoln. You have to ring someone up to gain acess and there’s hardly anything in it, but for a rail fan, it’s a must. Also a walk around the railyards will reveal an excellent turntable and lots of narrow gauge diesels in various stages of repair and disrepair. You’re right about the railway system; it’s just an isolated system with two termini including Penong in the far west. The railway is still there in Penong but is not used anymore and is quite overgrown. However, the rail to Ceduna which is on the line to Penong is still operating albeit with freight only. Ceduna incidently is home to the world famous Ceduna school of architecture, a school that Ruth and I admired greatly on each of our two visits to the town. The railway is now operated by an American company, Genesee and Wyoming, which will run it for a while and then close it down. This will allow many more trucks to occupy the roads, a idea with many adherents.

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