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Northeast Facts and Figures

Spanning a wide corridor, loosely defined by the passage of North East Road from Hillcrest to Houghton, the north eastern suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide are home to nearly 200,000 people.

An abundant community life and a high concentration of small business makes for a community that is active socially and robust economically. Young people under 25 comprise a very significant proportion (35 per cent) of the population with people over 65 representing less than 12 per cent.

The area embraces five Council districts, namely the eastern portion of Port Adelaide Enfield Council, the eastern fringe of Salisbury Council, the whole of the Tea Tree Gully Council area, the northern section of Campbelltown Council and the north-western section of Adelaide Hills Council.

For an indicative map of Adelaide's North Eastern Suburbs, please click here.

Indigenous History of the North East

The Kaurna people lived on this land for many thousands of years and were made up of independent groups living within their own lands but who came together for trade, social, ceremonial and religious reasons.

They lived in a narrow corridor along the eastern shore of Gulf St Vincent: Cape Jervis to Port Wakefield; inland to near Crystal Brook, Snowtown, Blyth, Hoyleton, Hamley Bridge, Clarendon, Gawler, and Myponga; from the east side of the Hummock Range to Red Hill. Inland the Jultiwira or stringy bark forests of the Mount Lofty Ranges marked their boundary.

This territory was 2,800 square miles (7,200 sq. km.) with a population of 650 in the South Australian Register of 30 January 1842.

Their movements were in rhythm with the seasonal changes based on religious and ceremonial events as well as climate and food supply. The Kaurna seem to have moved between the coast in summer months, for coastal berries and various sea life, including turtles, and the foothills in the colder weather which had better shelter and firewood. The inland areas also contained more mammals to hunt, and creeks and swamps contained fish and other water life. They had well-established travelling tracks, which were taken over by Europeans, and now are reflected in some road routes.

They undertook periodic burning, which drove out game for hunting. There are reports from the time of the first European settlers of sightings of fires burning in the hills near Adelaide. They also encouraged certain kinds of edible plants such as yam daisies, thistles and cresses, as well as increasing the kind of plants eaten by hunted animals.

The basic unit was the extended family of between 10-18 people with each family having a well-defined home territory called the 'pangkarra' which was able to support the family in normal seasons. Families were grouped to form local groups. All the members of family groups were able to travel the wider territory, called the 'yerta'. Usually 6 or 8 adjoining family groups shared the use of a yerta.

Within the area recognised as that of the Kaurna people there were quite a number of yerta-based groups.

The Kaurna were a dignified and gentle people who lived lightly off the land. Older people gave leadership within family groups and every person was valued in this society. All things were shared as needed. They built a rich culture of song, dance and story.

The Kaurna people were pushed out of Adelaide by the city's development.

In 1839 there was a group of Lutheran Missionaries teaching Kaurna literacy in a school on the banks of the Torrens River.

One former camping and meeting place of the Kaurna tribe was by the Little Para, where the present Snake Gully Bridge is located, on One Tree Hill Road. Here there are permanent springs and waterholes.

Little trace of the Kaurna people is left today, however some place names in the district serve to remind us:

The Little Para waterway and the suburbs of Para Hills and Para Vista are derived from Pari, the Kaurna word for water.

The suburb Yatala Vale uses the Kaurna word, Yatala, which means water running by the side of the river.

Many occupational and sacred sites associated with the Kaurna people still exist around the Salisbury area, including the Greenfields Wetlands.

Today descendants of the Kaurna live across the metropolitan area of Adelaide and in the communities of Point Pearce on the Yorke Peninsula and Raukkon or Point McLeay near the River Murray Mouth.

NE Suburbs

Fairview Park
Fairview Park is the descriptive name given to the 80 acre subdivision set out in 1963.

Gilles Plains
Gilles Plains is named after South Australia's first Colonial Treasurer, Osmond Gilles, who owned a sheep station adjoining the Torrens River.

Golden Grove
Golden Grove was named after the last ship Captain Adam Robertson commanded. Captain Robertson and his wife came to South Australia in September 1839.

When the people of the locality decided to establish a school for their children, Adam Robertson presented them with an acre of land and granted permission for the school to be named Golden Grove.

Although no township of Golden Grove existed, it was extended to the local area, when the local post office was opened in 1859.

Golden Grove house and farm were sold in 1930. A sand mining company bought much of the estate in 1972. A study in 1962 predicts a housing boom in the Golden Grove area. In 1973 the South Australian Land Commission began to acquire land for housing, in 1983 Delfin was selected to work with the South Australian Urban Land Trust to develop the area. In 1985 the first bulldozers moved in. More than 200 allotments were sold in one week. The last allotment was sold in 2002.

Greenwith was named by Thomas Roberts who purchased the sections in 1846. Thomas was a Cornish miner who was engaged by the South Australian Mining Association to open up mineral sections along the River Torrens. Thomas had worked at the Greenwith mine, 5 miles south of Truro in Cornwall, before arriving in South Australia in June of 1839. He named his new property Greenwith Farm.

This area was settled 10 years after the valley sections on the north and south were settled. In the 1850's this area became known as Highbury. The largest landholder was Stephen George Dordoy who named the property. The Dordoy family may have had some connection with a Highbury in north London, but may also be a descriptive name of the area.

The name Highbury became attached to the area in 1857 when Herman Friederich Koch, who built the first hotel at Hope Valley, the Bremen Arms, constructed another hotel and named it the Highbury Hotel.

Highercombe was named after George Anstey's original family home near Dulverton, Somerset. Today's Highercombe Golf Course is sited on the part of the Highercombe Estate which was nearest to Anstey's house.

The Highercombe Estate was established in 1840 when George Anstey purchased sections on the Little Para (240 acres). During subsequent years, the property was increased to take in 1063 acres running from Houghton down to the River Torrens on present day Gorge Road. Anstey experimented with a wide variety of crops and established extensive gardens, vineyards and orchards on the property. The Anstey Hill end of Paracombe Road was originally the tree-lined driveway to Anstey's house.

In 1857 the property was purchased by George Marsden Waterhouse, who was to become the Premier of South Australia. Waterhouse sold the property to John Baker in 1866 who gave it to his daughter, Mary Anstice Baker, as a wedding gift when she married Sir Robert Dalrymple Ross.

The house was burnt out in a fire in 1929. It was later rebuilt by Don Chapman on a smaller scale. Anstey was responsible for creating the dam at the Highercombe Golf Course and planting many of the trees in the area. The Highercombe stables, which were built by Lady Ross, have been renovated and are now the golf club house.

Holden Hill
In 1855 a new line of road opened from the Gilles Plains end of the Main North East Rd 'passing diagonally through the sections belonging to Mr. R Halden to Ardtornish School Corner.

The extension of the road became known as Halden's Hill. Even as late as 1935 the area was still referred to as Halden's Hill in the council minutes and not, as it is today, as Holden Hill. The new name of Holden Hill is definitely a misnomer and was probably given when a name was being sought for new subdivisions.

Hope Valley
Hope Valley was the earliest of the settlements in the present day City of Tea Tree Gully. Some semblance of a township began to emerge early in the 1840s when Jacob Pitman sold a few allotments of the 80 acre section. One of these allotments was purchased by William Holden in 1841. Holden opened a store and butchers shop on Grand Junction Road near present day Valley Road.

William Holden is credited with naming Hope Valley. In 1842 he returned home from Adelaide, to find that his home and shop had been destroyed by a bushfire. Instead of feeling despondent Holden felt hope, or that hope was all he had left after the devastation.

In 1847 Hermann Friedrich Koch purchased 8 acres and applied for a licence to open a public house---the Bremen Arms. During its early years a significant proportion of the population of Hope Valley was German.

In 1849 one acre of land on Grand Junction Road, west of the Bremen Arms, was purchased. The land was then divided into three sections for: a schoolhouse, cemetery, and playground.

Also in 1849 Hope Valley became a postal town on the mail route to Mount Torrens. William Holden was the village's first postmaster. Until the Hope Valley Reservoir was constructed in 1872, the main road from Adelaide crossed the Torrens at Paradise, passed diagonally through Balmoral Road to Reservoir Road where it joined Grand Junction Road before passing through Hope Valley.

Houghton was the first village in the Tea Tree Gully region. It was laid out by John Richardson in 1841.

By June 1840 he had acquired 600 acres of the Little Para Survey (an area encompassing present day Paracombe and Houghton). This land consisted of 80 acres of hilly countryside which was of little use for farming. Richardson subdivided this into fifty allotments and a village common, of some 10 acres. By 1844 most of the allotments had been sold and the village had a blacksmith, a storekeeper, a chapel and a public house.

Houghton's first school was in 1847 and 26 children attended school in the Union Chapel that year. By 1848 Houghton had a regular postal service.

Houghton Village was well placed on the original line of road from Adelaide. This road went from Tea Tree Gully up the hill to Houghton Hollow, through Houghton and over Black Hill Road to where Inglewood is now located. Its location and the facilities made it a focal point for travellers and the wider community. By the 1850s a second line of road had developed up Anstey's Hill (now Lower North East Road). This too led to Houghton. However, Houghton lost this advantage in 1854 when a deviation was made in the main road leading from Tea Tree Gully

Ingle Farm
James Rowe and family first settled in the area in 1848. Using it for farming wheat, barley, peas and hay. The name was given as James son Jabez married a Miss Wright from Inglewood---then naming it Ingle Farm. First house was built in 1965 and the area was bought by the housing trust to develop.

Was formed in 1839 when 200 Lutheran refugees came to South Australia. It was a developed village until 1880 when the residents had left to go home and most of the old homes, church and school were demolished by 1884. In 1918 the area was renamed to Gaza but in 1935 it had the restoration of its historical name Klemzig.

Up until 1855 Main North East road ended at the junction with present day Blacks Road. Travellers then went north along Blacks Road to Grand Junction Road or along present day Lyons Road to Hope Valley.

In 1855 Main North East Road was extended to the present intersection with Grand Junction Road and then in 1856 it was further extended to the present day intersection with Golden Grove Road. This extension of Main North East Road passed through the farm of Robert Symons Kelly. Kelly, while initially unhappy to have his farm divided, sought to turn the situation to his advantage by encouraging the development of a settlement on his property. A public house was built in 1858. This was named the Modbury Hotel; this was the first use of the name Modbury in the area (Robert Symons Kelly was born in Modbury, Devonshire).

In 1863 Kelly donated a piece of land for the establishment of a Wesleyan Chapel, which was also to be used as a school. In 1865 he donated another piece of land nearby to be used as a recreation ground. In 1881 a public school was erected, then in 1906 an Institute. Modbury changed very little during the first half of the twentieth century---in 1957 there were only 62 houses in the area.

This situation changed rapidly during the 1960s which saw extensive subdivision of the area:
  • A new Civic Centre was opened in Modbury in 1967
  • Clovercrest Shopping Centre in 1965
  • Tea Tree Plaza in 1970
  • The Modbury Hospital in 1973

  • Para Hills
    The name comes from the Para Rivers in the Gawler area. The land between Dry Creek and Little Para were termed the Para Plains. So logically the hills rising from this area was called Para Hills.

    John Goodall and family first settled the area in the 1850's. In the 1960's the farmers sold their land to the housing trust the first farmer to do this was H.R Kester.

    St Agnes
    The suburb of St Agnes takes its name from the vineyard established on part of section 5485 by Dr William Angove in 1889. Angove named the vineyard St Agnes sometime prior to 1897---the 1897 St Agnes Claret was the first wine identified by the St Agnes name.

    Two possible reasons for choosing St Agnes as the vineyard's name have been put forward. One is that the vineyard was named after a mining village called St Agnes which was near Camborne, William Angove's birthplace in Cornwall. The other is that the name was chosen because of its association with Saint Agnes, the patron saint of purity---many South Australian wine makers were using the names of saints on their labels at the end of the nineteenth century.

    Dr Angove built cellars at St Agnes in 1905 and a distillery in 1907. He planted a second, and larger, vineyard on the southern side of Smart Road between Hancock and Tolley roads. This was called the Tregrehan Vineyards. This property was named after the family home of Angove's wife, Emma Carlyon.

    Clay mining was an important industry in the St Agnes area prior to suburban development. The St Agnes Shopping Centre was opened in July 1969.

    Tea Tree Gully
    Tea Tree Gully is the name of a municipal council of 96 square km. and of a relatively small township. They are north east of Adelaide, the township 15 km. The area was first settled in 1837, and two years later land was surveyed and sold as farms for cereals, orchards and pasture.

    Although the original township of Steventon did not begin to take shape until 1854 and for nearly a century Steventon, or Tea Tree Gully as it was later called, remained a village. John Stevens, an Adelaide miller who purchased 227 acres of land in the area and subdivided it and named it Steventon. However, its name was changed to Tea Tree Gully because people readily associated the township with the abundance of Tea Trees, which grew around natural springs in the gully.

    Windsor Gardens
    Windsor Gardens was 120 acres of a much larger piece of land called Beefacres Estate. Beefacres Estate was owned by E.M. Bagot this land stretched from OG Rd to both sides of North East Rd and towards Modbury, west to Yatala and east to Hope Valley. It was given its name in 1853 after Windsor in England.

    Wynn Vale
    Wynn Vale was named after the wine makers S. Wynn & Company. During the 1950's they operated vineyards on the 'Modbury Estate', which fronted what was then Yatala Vale Road.

    In 1972 the government, under the leadership of Premier Donald Dunstan, established the South Australian Land Commission to acquire land for future building allotments. On the 17th of October 1974, 390 hectares of land in the region had been acquired by the S.A.L.C. Although a serious blow to local winemakers, the acquisition allowed housing development to eventuate, including the Golden Grove Development.

    A joint venture agreement was negotiated between the Delfin Property Group Limited and the South Australian Urban Land Trust. On the 20th of December 1984, a legal indenture was proclaimed to enable commencement of the development. Bulldozers and graders began work at Golden Grove in May 1985.

    S. Wynn & Company had a dam designed and built on Dry Creek to irrigate their vines. This dam was later upgraded to help deal with local storm water run-off due to the development of housing in the area. Located on Park Lake Drive, the lake is home to bird life and a feature of popular local walkways.

    Yatala Vale
    Yatala is the name applied by the Weira group of the Kaurna Aborigines to the area north of the Torrens, extending from Port Adelaide to Tea Tree Gully. Yatala literally means 'water running by the side of a river'. It was a favourite name with the authorities as far back as 1836 and was applied to a hundred, an electoral district, a government schooner, the labour prison and a paddle steamer.

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