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General history

Local history contributes to sense of belonging and identity. Through awareness and celebration of our City's heritage we gain a greater understanding of our City and our community. Council, in partnership with the community, is committed to preserving the rich and diverse heritage of the Charles Sturt area for current and future generations.

If you are researching or seeking information on the history of the local area we encourage you to contact or visit one of our local history groups or museums, or refer to the facts sheets

The heritage of the City of Charles Sturt is celebrated and shared under nine key themes that represent the important stories that our community tell about themselves and the place they live. The themes are:

Sport is our life
The City of Charles Sturt has a strong sporting tradition, from local Saturday afternoon competitions to venues for major national leagues. Sports clubs have also helped define local identity. This sporting culture is combined with a social life that has involved "making your own fun", by enjoying time with family and friends, and getting outside and adventuring in natural areas.

Coming staying and making this place home
The City of Charles Sturt is built on migration, people who have come from other places and found their spot here. This theme explores our rich and diverse community and tells the stories about how different groups have made this City their home: establishing clubs, religious places, schools and businesses.

Misery in a mosaic pot tough times community action and local identity
This theme brings together the perception, and in some cases reality, of 'the bad side of town', slums, poverty, and the strong sense of local identity and community spirit that is often born out of this.

'Misery' refers to 'Port Misery', as Adelaide's first port (situated in the now West Lakes area) was commonly known, and 'mosaic pot' alludes to the important revitalisation work of the iconic community group Hindmarsh Greening.

While war was fought in far off places, its impact and Australia's concern with defence has shaped the City of Charles Sturt. From fear of Russian invasion, to a new start for those fleeing conflict and its aftermath, war changed us.

Blue denim blood celebrating our manufacturing heritage
The City of Charles Sturt was once Adelaide's manufacturing heartland. A strong sense of pride in being a 'worker', of having found employment and opportunity in the factories and other industries of Hindmarsh and Woodville is still evident in the current community. The strength of this theme is that it is heavily embedded in the community - it is more than just telling the individual histories of prominent companies.

Sand swamp and clay
The City of Charles Sturt inhabits a dynamic natural environment, which over time, has been sculpted, shaped, drained, constructed and constructed upon to become the metropolitan place it is today.

This is a significant theme that tells the story of the relationship between people and the landscape. The stories told are not just ones of celebration as in building this City we have profoundly altered the environment.

The beach is our place
The City of Charles Sturt enjoys an 11.5km stretch of coast, from West Beach in the south to Semaphore Park in the north. It is an iconic environment heavily woven with meanings and experiences.

For many, the coast is quintessential to life in Charles Sturt. For others it is a place of summer joy - a canvas for fond memories: seaside pools, grand residences, fishing, exploring sand dunes, greasy fish 'n' chips, hot vinyl car seats, legs dangling from trams across the viaduct, gale force winds and thumping storms.

Charles Sturt people
The City of Charles Sturt takes its name from explorer Captain Charles Sturt, who made his home in 'the reedbeds'. Many people who have made significant contributions to the progress of South Australia have called this area home, along with thousands of residents who, through their pride in their place, their commitment to their community, and their sense of leadership and innovation have enriched our City. In the City of Charles Sturt "people make the difference".

This minor theme celebrates local people, businesses and community leaders, and encourages residents to contribute to local history through individual story-telling.

Pubs and local politics
The City of Charles Sturt has come full circle and governs roughly the same area from parklands to sea coast originally declared as the District Council of Hindmarsh. However, the modern civic centre at Woodville is a long way from the pubs of Hindmarsh in which the strong community movement that pushed for the formation of a council was founded.