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Franklin Harbour district is one of the older established areas on Eyre Peninsula. This area was first seen by Captain Matthew Flinders in the “Investigator” in 1802, when he reported a large lagoon (Franklin Harbour) visible from the mast-head, and gave the name Elbow Hill to a point in the coastal range. In 1840, Governor Gawler visited the area from Port Lincoln, and named Franklin Harbour after a midshipman on Flinders’ vessel – John (later Sir John) Franklin. The name of Cowell was applied to the township in 1880 by Governor Jervois, after Sir John Cowell, a brilliant English Army Engineer.

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