Brief History

The Kaurna people were the original inhabitants of the Aldinga area. European settlement was made available after the area was surveyed in 1839.
The village of Aldinga, was laid out by Lewis Fidge, farmer of Aldinga, circa 1857. Mr Felix de Caux (1822-1877), an early settler in the district said that ‘Aldinga’ was a corruption of an Aboriginal word meaning ‘much water’, while other sources suggest it means ‘good place for meat’, ‘open, wide plain, or ‘tree district’. A lengthy poem entitled ‘Aboriginal Nomenclature by a Native’ written by an early resident of McLaren vale contains a line saying: “Nal-dinga (open, wide)’. Aldinga Plain was called ngalti-ngga by the Aborigines and. Accordingly, ‘open, wide’ appears to be it’s meaning.

An informative article in 1844 titled “descriptive Tour Through Part of District C’ said:

We have now arrived at Aldinga Bay, or Deception Bay as it was called by Colonel Light, but the deception vanishes when on the beach. It was in this bay that the John Pirie lay to take in slate in 1841 and, a strong southwesterly gale coming on rather suddenly, she went ashore, but was not off again without some material damage. Pelicans are pretty numerous here and I picked ip some skins on the beach……Surface water [is] scarce on the Aldinga plains and, indeed, this is a great drawback, which is now before the traveller. Keeping along the foot of the ange from Mr Colville’s the following are the most important: The glens, Perremtekamin-kungga, Wilyahowkinga, Mulawe-rungga, Kurtan-ddla and Mount Terrible Gully. Returning and keeping more to the coastwe cross the plain called Aldinga (properly Ngaltingga). Close by is the lagoon which dries up in the summer and the water which is salt in the summer. The plain is bounded by small but dense forests on either side- that to the West is called the southwest corner (from its position from Willunga) and is well known to the kangaroo hunters; that to the East is the Mullawirra (“dry-forest” – an appropriate name, as indeed, the native names are generally found to be when we get them correctly interpreted), from which the native generally known as King John takes his name Mullawirra-burka.

Baudin called Aldinga Bay Ance des Curieux – ‘Cove of the Curious Ones’, while on Freycinet’s charts it is Baie Vendonne.

Author: Geoff Manning, Manning’s Place Names of South Australia

The earliest European settlers farmed the land as they had done in their homelands. The concentration of cereal crops created a need for flour mills with several townships including Noarlunga, Aldinga and Bellevue (McLaren Vale) containing at least one. The flourishing of the cereal and flour industry of the district throughout the 1850’s resulted in the construction of jetties along the coast including Port Willunga to assist in the more rapid transport of goods.

Bad land management practices and over-farming reduced soil quality resulting in poor yields throughout the 1860s. This forced settlers to rethink their farming practices and incorporate mixed farming such as grazing sheep and planting vines and olive trees.

By 1890, the region was known for its fine wine, profitable farms, inns and holiday houses.

By the early twentieth century the district’s wine making, natural beauty and magnificent beaches enticed holiday makers from Adelaide. Coastal townships of  Port Willunga, Sellicks Beach and Aldinga became popular tourist towns with tourism becoming a seasonal support for these communities.

Throughout the 1950s to 1970’s the urbanisation and establishment of the Lonsdale industrial area, Tonsley park,and the growth of the wine industry in the area, attracted more residents.

Today, with the southern expressway, and the seaford rail link, residents of this area have many options for employment both within and outside the area.

Aldinga Township 1915 800x366_New

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