SEVENTY KILOMETRES OF GULF ST VINCENT BEACHES flank the western edge of Adelaide metropolitan area, continuing down south to Fleurieu Peninsula. The Fleurieu was named by French naval captain Nicholas Baudin during his exploratory voyage of 1802 that included an encounter (at what is now Encounter Bay at Victor Harbor) with British naval captain and explorer Matthew Flinders.
But the city beaches bear more British names such as Glenelg (Lord Glenelg was Britain’s colonial secretary in the 1830s), Grange (the home of British explorer Charles Sturt) and Henley Beach (derived from Henley on Thames).
Glenelg, the most popular beach, is an important landmark in European settlement. The first settlers from England disembarked here in 1836 and camped while Adelaide was being surveyed. The colony’s first government was proclaimed on December 28, 1836, believed to be at the old gum tree. Just south of Glenelg is Brighton and nearby Kingston Park, home to Kingston House, named after Charles Cameron Kingston, a former premier and an author of the bill that saw Australia become a federation in 1901.
To the north, Semaphore has a tall tower that shows the suburb’s 19th Century role as the official signal station for ships in Gulf St Vincent.
One of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s novelties is Maslin Beach that had a section declared Australia’s first official nude bathing spot in 1975.