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Aldinga, SA

Beach and holiday destination south of McLaren Vale, now part of Adelaide's commuter belt.

Located on the east coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Aldinga is a commuter and beach town south of Adelaide which attracts tourists and holidaymakers, particularly on weekends and during the summer months. It is justifiably famous for its beautiful long, flat and hard beach which is suitable for 4WD vehicles, beach walking, swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling.

Location

Aldinga is located 44 km south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Aldinga Beach is 3km further to the west.

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Origin of Name

No one is sure of the origin of the name although some sources claim that the local Aborigines had a word 'aldinghi' which meant 'plenty of water'.

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Things to See and Do

St Ann's Anglican Church
The town's oldest church is St. Ann's Anglican Church which was built from local stone in 1868. The locals are proud of the recent addition which used local stone and which cleverly complements the original building. It is located on the Main South Road.

Uniting Church and Cemetery
The cemetery at the Methodist (now Uniting) Church (1893) has a mass grave for the eleven people who died aboard the Star of Greece which sank when it was fierce storms drove it ashore at Port Willunga during a gale in 1888. It is still possible to see parts of the wreck of the Star of Greece at Port Willunga at low tide.

Aldinga Beach
The great attraction of Aldinga is the exceptional beach which is located 4 km from the town centre. It is a particularly hard beach which allows both 4WD vehicles and conventional cars to drive onto the beach. The area, which is popular with day trippers, is ideal for swimming and snorkelling.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Star of Greece
An underwater plaque records the sad history of the Star of Greece (1868-1888). "a three masted iron ship of 1227 tons built at Belfast, Ireland in 1868. One of the fastest and finest ships in the Star Line. On 13th July 1888 while bound for Great Britain with a cargo of 16,000 bags of wheat aboard the vessel was wrecked during a severe storm. Inadequate lifesaving facilities and the severity of the storm contributed to the death of eighteen members of the crew." For detailed diving instructions check out http://divingadelaide.com.au/guided-dives/shore-diving/star-of-greece-wreck/ which has a map and lots of useful information.

Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park
Lying between Aldinga Beach and Sellicks Beach, the 300 ha Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park is home to a diverse range of rare plants which live in an environment characterised by an impressive backdrop of sand dunes which reach up to 10 metres high, sand blows (mobile dunes) which can reach 35 metres high, mallee scrub, remnant red gum forests and closed heaths. Lacy coral lichen, nardoo, hairy sedge and several species of orchids are among the park's rare species of flora. There are a number of walking trails where, if you are lucky, it is possible to see brush-tailed possums, short-beaked echidnas, bats and geckos. Ovre 160 different bird species have been sighted in the park. There is a useful, downloadable brochure available at http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/Aldinga_Scrub_Conservation_Park.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Kaurna Aborigines.

* The coastline was first explored in 1802 when Matthew Flinders, during his epic circumnavigation of Australia, sailed up the coast. Flinders was impressed by long beaches and gently rolling green hills behind them.

* The Aldinga Hotel came into existence in the 1840s although it was updated in the 1860s and the 1880s.

* In the 1840s farmers moved into the area.

* The plains behind the coast began to be used for agriculture in the 1850s and the town grew up to meet the needs of the farming community.

* Aldinga post office opened in 1851.

* In 1857 a local farmer, Lewis Fidge, drew up a street plan for the town. The construction of a hotel, church, a number of shops and a blacksmith's occurred in the years that followed.

* Aldinga became a thriving settlement in the 1860s when it operated as a port for the surrounding farming communities. As such it had two mills for the wheat and there were, for both locals and the sailors who plied the coast, no fewer than six pubs.

* In 1868 a hotel, which subsequently became known as Hart's Temperance Hotel, opened for business.

* By the 1890s it had become a popular day tripper and holiday destination.

* In 1937 Sir Ivor Hele, who was an official war artist in both World War II and the Korean War, purchased an old coaching inn, dating from 1840, situated on the corner of Little Road and Adey Road. He lived there until he died in 1993.

* In the 1960s and 1970s the endangered wetlands, with their important flora and fauna, began to be protected by the local council.

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Visitor Information

The nearest Visitor Information Centre is McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre, Main Road, McLaren Vale, tel: (08) 8323 9944, 1800 628 410. It is open Monday-Friday 9.00 am - 5.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10.00 am - 4.00 pm.

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Eating

It is widely recognised that the best restaurant in the area is the Star of Greece, 1 Esplanade, Port Willunga, tel:(08) 8557 7420, http://www.starofgreece.com.au.

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Useful Websites

The official South Australian site is http://www.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9005373.

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Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

3 suggestions
  • Dear Sir
    I have taken the liberty of linking your website to our site at the Virtual Memorial https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/places/3 however if you do not wish us to do this we will remove the link immediately. Our site as you can see is about all wars and commemorates the service of all who served. Thus far I have only linked Aldgate Aldinga and Yorketown. This can be done for all towns in Australia if you agree Thank you for your great work and time.

    I am flattered. Very good to have these additional links. Much appreciated.

    Robert Kearney
  • Brings back memories. I lived in Aldinga Beach from 1958 until 1966 as a young boy who wandered from Port Willunga to Sellicks Beach. I remember there was an Aboriginal grave in the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park with a Totem pole. I remember I ran off as the hairs on the back of my neck went up … LOL. Also a local found a skull there, but who knows if it was handed in to authorities or not. Best years of my life living there. My Auntie has a road named after her there too. She died in 1974. Cheers!

    Perry
  • How I would love to be able to visit one day my son lives at Aldinga Beach. I haven’t seen him for nearly twenty years. But alas I am far far away in Kiev Ukraine. The beach looks so glorious…magic.

    Jackie

    Jackie Volkov