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.

'The road to Robe leads to the past and back again.' - Robert Ingpen

'I had such productive and idyllic time there, I shall never forget it.' - Jeffrey Smart