European History and Heritage - suburb profile

Although only six kilometres to the west of the town of Willunga, Aldinga formed its own distinctive history. Developed on the rich agricultural soils of the Aldinga Plains, Aldinga was at first the by-product of the farming boom of the 1850s. Nearby, one Samuel White, an entrepreneurial flour miller, farmer and land developer had built up, during the gold rushes of the 1850s, a thriving business based on trade in wheat and flour. It was the likes of White who supported the foundation of the town of Aldinga and its farming hinterland.

Aldinga township was first laid out by Lewis Fidge, another local farmer, in about 1857. Quite rapidly, the settlement gained an hotel, church, blacksmith’s shop and a number of other shops and trades.

By the 1870s, as land in the vicinity had become affected by constant planting and harvesting of wheat and produced pathetic yields, there was a significant migration of farmers from Aldinga to areas opening up in the mid-north of South Australia. Churches closed and trade was depressed. Indeed, between 1861 and 1881 Aldinga’s population dropped from 916 to 665.
Aldinga, though, had one most important feature that saved it from disappearing – it was situated on the Old Coach Road from Adelaide to Sellicks Hill, Myponga and Encounter Bay. Thus, when people began, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to see the area with its rural charm and magnificent beaches as a perfect holiday spot, the town was in a unique position to cater for visitors.

As a new generation of farmers in and around Aldinga profited from the introduction of more scientific agriculture, the town continued to serve as a centre for farming and tourists. The core of the town has survived.

Suburb profile - Aldinga
Hart’s Temperance Hotel, 1880s 

In about 1868, this L-shaped building was constructed. When Francis Hart owned it, 1890 to 1920, it was known as Hart’s Temperance Hotel. Hart was a member of the local District Council for 13 years and had noticed that, while the agricultural fortunes of the district were declining, holiday makers were using the area consistently.

The former Temperance Hotel is part of the fabric of Aldinga’s historic precinct that includes a noteworthy mixture of former government buildings, shops, churches, hotels and domestic dwellings.