Almost an Island: the Story of Robe by Liz Harfull »

What makes this South Australia village so special

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Cape Jaffa Wines, Limestone Coast Road, Mount Benson

Cape Jaffa Wines, Limestone Coast Road, Mount Benson [©SATC/Photographer Adam Bruzzoneo]

Cellar at Cape Jaffa Wines, Mount Benson, Limestone Coast
Lake Butler Marina, Robe, Limestone Coast.
Cellar Door at Cape Jaffa Wines, Limestone Coast Road, Mount Benson
Robe Customs House, Limestone Coast


For the first time in 50 years here is a book that showcases – through captivating stories and vivid images – what makes a place like Robe so special.

For a small place, tucked away on South Australia’s rugged Limestone Coast, the village of Robe has played a remarkable role in history.

In what turned out to be a brief, golden heyday as one of southern Australia’s busiest ports, during the 1850s it witnessed fine clipper ships bound for London with loads of wool, the arrival of thousands of Chinese on their way to the Victorian goldfields, and the hijinks of partying pastoralists.

Fifty years later Robe cast off the doldrums to reinvent itself as a seaside health resort, lauded for its natural beauty, and the beneficial qualities of its cooling sea breezes and salt waters.

And fifty years after that, the first surfers arrived, establishing one of the world’s oldest continuous surfing competitions.

Almost an Island: The Story of Robe brings together stories, memories and images gathered by generations of residents and holidaymakers. Here you will find pioneering settlers and aviators, fishermen braving wild seas in small wooden boats, famous painters and poets, chefs and winemakers, and meet some of the families drawn to this breathtaking virtual island to escape their hectic everyday lives.

Liz Harfull is passionate about telling the stories of rural Australia. The bestselling author grew up on a small farm near Mount Gambier, and decided to become a writer when she was only ten, encouraged by Robe author, the late Kathleen Bermingham. Today Liz lives in the Adelaide Hills where she juggles her writing career with voluntary duties on a national council representing Australia’s rural journalists and communicators.

Liz is also the author of two bestselling books: The Blue Ribbon Cookbook (Wakefield Press) and Women of the Land (Allen & Unwin).


Almost an Island: The Story of Robe by Liz Harfull is published by Wakefield Press (Kent Town, SA, full colour HB, 288pp, RRP A$49.95. It is available at good stores and online through


  • Robe (SA)

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