Our Discovery Centre has three display galleries that lead you through Victor Harbor’s history. It is a transition from before European settlement to the establishment of Victor Harbor as a tourist town.

For a more detailed explanation click on the links below.


Come in and visit our displays where we celebrate the first peoples of our area. The Ramindjeri people, a subgroup of the well-known Ngarrindjeri people of the river Murray. A quiet and idyllic life they had living in and around Wirramulla/ Victor Harbor.


Have a look at the Boom Times in Victor Harbor as it became a popular seaside destination. Starting when the highly influential Hay family built their summer house Mt Breckan on top of the hill overlooking Victor Harbor. You can’t miss it as you drive in from Adelaide.

Port Victor

Victor Harbor had proven itself to be a safe export harbor for the whaling industry. Come in and learn how it became a premier port for the colony. Captain Crozier who named the harbour Victor after his ship the HMS Victor.


Whaling can be a contentious issue today, see how it was also contentious back in the 1800’s when whaling first started in waters of Ramindjeri Country. South Australia was emerging as a colony, see how whaling became a vital export industry to help fund the colony’s development and growth.

The Railway

Come on board!! Discover in our displays how in 1854 the first public railway service in Australia was opened and ran from Goolwa to Pt Elliot with horse drawn carriages, Because it was cheaper! See how they carried cargo from the Paddle Steamers in Goolwa to the ships sailing to Europe and America firstly in Pt Elliot and then changed to Victor Harbor. Find out why that happened.

The Encounter

Imagine the reaction of the local Ramindjeri when they saw these strange creatures sailing into their bay. They never got to meet them, but they must have wondered if this was an omen!

Find out how Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin met, as they were travelling in opposite directions just off the mouth of the river Murray and then they taking anchor in the shelter between the Bluff and Granite Island. What a sight that would have been to see!

Customs' House

This wonderful house was designed and built in 1866. It was to be used as an office for the collection of customs and to house the Harbour Master and his family. The building was started two years after the commencement of Port Victor’s construction and the extension of the railway from Port Elliot.

It remained the harbourmasters house until the late 1880s when they were moved out to a house on Granite Island. It was then a private rental for a short while until 1912 when it became the railways Station Master’s House until 1977. 

Today it is here for you to come and enjoy as you step back in time and journey through Victor Harbor’s history.