Windjammers & Finnish Connection

From the late 1800s to the late 1930s the grain grown on Eyre Peninsula was transported to Europe by the ocean running Windjammers, tall ships with 3 or 4 masts and square rigged sails. Their sailing routes took advantage of the prevailing wind and tide patterns around the world, including the treacherous Cape Horn in South America and the howling Southern Ocean around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Many died on these voyages. They were crewed mainly by Finns and Australians who replaced the Finns when they had enough of the hard conditions and jumped ship or signed off  here.

Those who jumped ship were often given refuge on farms north of Port Lincoln, where they laboured in exchange for board. Others worked on the railways in northern SA, until it was safe to return.

Axel Stenross, a Finnish ships carpenter & boat builder, and his friend Frank Laakso signed off from the SV Olivebank in 1927, to settle in Port Lincoln where fellow Finns were living.

A number of old families in Port Lincoln have their origins in Finland from this era.