Paddle steamers such as the three-decked Ruby, plying the Murray between 1900 and 1909, became a distinctive part of the Riverland region. 
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia 

German, Irish and Cornish in the cultural mix 


THE REGIONS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA PRESENT STARK CONTRASTS and variations in geography and culture – from the blazing outback to wine regions that, in turn, have their own charcteristics.

The regions are broadly:

RIVERLAND: The River Murray runs through towns such as Renmark, Berri, Morgan, Murray Bridge supported by irrigated areas growing fruit, grapes, almonds etc.

IRON TRIANGLE: Formed by the cities of Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla, adjusting to challenges to their industrial base.

BAROSSA VALLEY: A premier wine region north of Adelaide but with the characteristic of being settled early by German Lutherans.

CLARE VALLEY: Another wine region, settled in the 1840s by English, Irish, Polish and Silesian migrants, producing a rich heritage of architecture and villages. The Jesuit order in Australia started at Sevenhill in 1848.

ADELAIDE HILLS: A backdrop for Adelaide city plains, the Hills were a cooler, wetter and thus lusher, haven that produced many towns around its orchards, farms and vineyards.

YORKE PENINSULA: An agricultural region with an attractive coastline, it acquired a Cornish flavour from miners who worked on its 19th Century cooper finds.

EYRE PENINSULA: In many ways, still the state’s western frontier, waiting for the next steps in exploiting its minerals potential and Southern Ocean coastline.

FLEURIEU PENINSULA: A mix of beaches, McLaren Vale vineyards, farms and nature parks beyond the Adelaide suburbs stretching south.

LIMESTONE COAST: From the Coorong and Bool Lagoon at the River Murray mouth down to the south east, taking in Mount Gambier and its volcanic craters and the Naracoorte caves.

FLINDERS RANGES: Renowned for the Ediacara Hills, where some of the oldest fossil evidence of animal life was discovered. Most characteristic landmark is Wilpena Pound next to the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.

OUTBACK: North of Eyre Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges, this vast emptiness is about 70% of the state. But it offers novel experiences such as Woomera, with its legacy nuclear tests and left-over rockets; the legendary Oodnadatta and Strzelecki tracks; and eccentric towns such as William Creek, Innaminka and Coober Pedy.

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