Cowell township lies on Franklin Harbour‚ an almost land-locked harbour on the north-east coast of the Eyre Peninsula. The town was first settled in 1853‚ but until 1880 it was known as Lake Flinders.
Employment in the area centres on sheep and wheat production and in the fishing and prawning industries based on the harbour and the gulf. Oyster farming is a well-established industry in Franklin Harbour and when in season (approximately April to December) fresh locally-grown oysters are available from outlets in the town.
In Australia‚ the mining and processing of jade is an enterprise unique to Cowell. The country’s only commercial jade mine‚ in the nearby Minbrie Ranges‚ produces rare black jade as well as the more common greens and also some very colourful marble. Polished jade‚ carvings and jade jewellery can be purchased from the Cowell Jade Motel.