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Old Noarlunga  |  European History and Heritage

In 1840, the South Australian Company laid out ‘No-orlunga Township’ at the ‘Horseshoe’, Onkaparinga River. The name, Noarlunga, supposedly comes from a Kaurna word meaning ‘fishing place’. The surrounding country became a focus for cereal farming and, within a few years, a flour mill had been built at the town. Local farmers, though, did not have an easy life. The South Australian Company owned a great deal of the nearby land and their tenant-farmers seldom made headway.

By July 1840, the town could boast an hotel, the Horseshoe Inn and the South Australian Company planned for its evolution as a market town – based on the English model – and reserved land for church, school and cemetery. The town was also surveyed on the banks of the Onkaparinga River to take advantage of tides and to ship produce from the mill to the harbour of Port Noarlunga. By the 1850s, the town boasted another hotel, the Jolly Miller (or now the Old Noarlunga), a brewery and some forty houses. A decade later, one writer, noted that the town had a post office, a council chamber, 6 churches, a public pound, 2 hotels, the mill, brewery and a brickyard.

The Noarlunga District Council was formed in 1856 and families such as Radford, Magarey, Burgess, Wheaton, Oliver and Champness contributed to the community.

Old Noarlunga became a well-known sporting venue and was visited by cycling clubs. Indeed, through the twentieth century the town became a popular stopping point for tourists headed for the region’s beaches. In 1972, the Main South Road bypassed the town and in 1978 it took on the name of Old Noarlunga.

Horseshoe Inn 1865

First licensed in 1840, the Horseshoe Inn was a focal point for travellers and the community. A stop for coaching firms – at which horses were changed for fresh ones – a post office for some years and the site for many fine local dinners and celebrations, the inn continued to serve customers until a fire destroyed most of the building in the 1980s. The building remains were eventually demolished in 2003 and a small commemorative park is planned.