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Local History Resources

The Discovery of the Port River

The chosen site for the new colony of South Australia needed to be a suitable location which had good soil, fresh water and a safe harbour.

In 1802 Captain Matthew Flinders praised the soil of Kangaroo Island and Nepean Bay as the harbour, but fresh water was difficult to locate and Nicholas Baudin suggested Port Lincoln but this was also decided against. 

Flinders recorded in his journal the land around Gulf St Vincent was better than Spencers Gulf.  Captain Charles Sturt investigated the Murray because it could support river trade with NSW but the mouth was impassable and the area needed further investigation.    

At this stage no sheltered harbour had been discovered.  Both Flinders and the French explorers sailed the eastern coast of Gulf St Vincent, but neither reported the Port River inlet.  Shallow water prevented them passing closely to shore and the uniform height of the vegetation masked the rivers entrance. 

In 1831 Captain Collett Barker, in the Isabella, followed the shore as close as possible from Cape Jervis to Port Gawler and he also missed the entrance to the Port River.  He left his ship and followed the Onkaparinga river to the top of Mount Lofty.  From there he saw the North Arm of the Port River which he investigated further.  The inlet was found to have two entrances, a northern and southern, separated by Torrens Island.

When Colonel William Light arrived in 1836 in the Rapid, he also sailed past the inlet.  On September 25 1836 he left his ship to examine an inlet but ran aground about a half a mile from shore.  When he returned to the Rapid he was informed that his second mate Mr Hull had viewed a river to the south of considerable breadth.  He sailed to the new location but again missed the entrance. 

On September 26 Light found the inlet and entered the river.  The reach ran NE and SW for about 2 miles and had an extensive sand bank on its west which was dry at low water.  This is what had prevented him from seeing it the day before……

Oldham, Wilfrid 1947, The discovery of Port Adelaide, Royal Geographical Society, Adelaide, South Australia.  


Suburbs and Subdivisions within the City of Port Adelaide Enfield

Originally, grantees that were sold or allocated land sub-divided and named their property as they wished. In the 1940's it was decided to rationalise the number of subdivisions as there were too many. Councils were asked to consider and submit suburb names which were formally accepted by the Nomenclature Committee in 1951. The document below is compiled from information gathered from Manning's Place Names of South Australia : Aaron Creek to Zion Hill 2006 and lists each of the suburbs of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and the subdivisions which have occurred within those suburbs.

 Suburbs and subdivisions within the City of Port Adelaide Enfield(117 kb)