According to early maps and title
Aldinga township became a busy spot with the South Road (servicing the inland settlements south of Adelaide) and the Old Coach Road (servicing the coastal communities) meeting in the main street of the town. Traffic travelling further south continued on the South Road. (They now meet just past the township.)
The name is taken from the Kaurna Aboriginal word
Aldinga’s commercial worth is clearly indicated by the fact it had two hotels, Hart’s Temperance Hotel and the Aldinga Hotel (built 1851).
Pengilly’s blacksmith shop (opened 1859) did a roaring trade and later became an auto garage and fuel supplier. It was also the site of the local undertaker and the building at the back has an extremely high access doorway to allow the whole,
The town became the district centre for quite a few years with the ‘District Council of Aldinga’ being formed in 1856 and continuing until 1932 when it amalgamated with the District Council of Willunga.
The Aldinga Post Office was the one used for telegraph transmissions during the Star of Greece wrecking tragedy.
The Aldinga School was opened in 1856 and closed in 1981 with the construction of the new school which was opened by Prince Charles the following year. (Now Aldinga Beach B-7 School) St Anne’s Anglican Church was built just south of the township on South Road in 1865 and its floor was built using timber from ship’s ballast. There are two plaques on the east wall in memory of a ship captain and his wife who were both lost in separate
The Methodist (now Uniting) Church in the main street had a ship’s bell as its bell until it mysteriously vanished one night and has not been since. Its cemetery, adjacent, is the resting place for some of the Star of Greece casualties and one of the family graves commemorates a soul who was lost in the shipwreck of the Titanic.
The current Aldinga Institute was built in 1935 to replace the original built in 1860.
This was, at one stage, the second busiest port in South Australia (after Port Adelaide). It was used for shipment of grain and flour from the local farms and mills
It had two jetties built during its history. The first was built in three stages. Stage 1, completed in 1853, was 176ft (approx 53m) long and was high & dry in low tide. The second stage added another 155ft in 1855. The third stage added a further 130ft to make its total length 477ft (approx 144m). Access to this jetty was very difficult in the winter.
After the first was wrecked in a storm the second was built slightly further south and completed in 1868. Shifting sand height and consequent water depth fluctuations still caused problems. The completed jetty was 10 – 12 feet deep at the end in medium-low water and 8 ft above high water mark with a T piece on the end. It still did not have enough depth for larger ships. Cargoes were carried from the jetty to the ships, anchored further out in deeper water, by small ships called ‘lighters’.
By 1892 the slate trade to Melbourne was dead because iron was available there more cheaply. By 1900 the local flour mills had ceased production. Without
The Star of Greece Restaurant is still based there and has international as well as Australian celebrities amongst its
The fishermen’s caves, adjacent to the jetty remains, were dug out by the How family and used by the fishermen to store their boats. When a school was sighted from the lookout on the cliff tops above, they came down, loaded their boats and netted the school.
This port was notoriously dangerous in stormy conditions and over the years several ships were wrecked including the Star of Greece, the Ida, and the
Being such a busy port, Port Willunga also had two hotels. The Seaview Hotel and the Pier Hotel across the creek fondly name Uncle Tom’s Cabin as well as the Altona Guest House.
Aldinga North (White’s Valley)
A busy little community in the heart of a grain growing district, the main street (now called Adey Road) was a bustling centre with
Samuel White, the business entrepreneur, after which the Valley was named, owned one of the flour mills (built 1844) as well as turning his hand at
He also bought and sold several ships and was heavily involved in the shipping trade at Port Willunga. His mill had a 40ft tower built in the 1840s whence he had a good view of Aldinga Bay and either rode his horse to Port Adelaide when sighting a ship, or some reports indicate he could signal to the passing ships by semaphore, to ascertain current flour prices in the eastern states. The house called Chapel Hill at the site was built in the
George Adey’s Hampshire Hotel. Situated on the corner of Adey Road and Little Road, this hotel would have done a roaring trade. It traded from 1858 to 1869 under six
In 1935 renowned artist Sir Ivor Hele leased the property. He bought and renovated it in 1937/38 using prize money from two art competitions. He added a studio after he divorced his first wife Jean and married his second wife June in 1957. Sir Ivor was knighted in1983. Prime Ministers Robert Menzies, William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser all
Sir Ivor was awarded the Archibald Prize for portraiture on no less than 5 occasions and was appointed official war artist in both World War II and The Korean War. He died there in 1993, aged 87, after living 58 years in that house.
Butterworth’s Mill (built 1848) also had a high tower originally and the remains of the mill and also Butterworth’s cottage (Mulberry Cottage) can be seen on the old Aldinga Road now renamed Flour Mill Road. Mr Butterworth was a farmer at Aldinga and later at Normanville. Butterworth and White reportedly co-operated in the milling business.
Pethick Nursing Home. Mrs Pethick ran this from 1922 – 1940 for nursing mothers. Babies delivered there ranged from 4 some years up to 20 on one year. The building had previously been a 2 storey shop. Abraham Pethick farmed the area and was one of the first to export wheat from South Australia to England.