The Founding of Coromandel Valley

1837 to the mid-1890s

On 17 Jan 1837 the ship Coromandel arrived at Glenelg, whereupon a number of sailors ran away and hid in the hills above the area now known as Coromandel Valley. They stayed there until the ship sailed without them in March, then returned to Adelaide to face the music.

The sailors were in luck, however, as the lack of an official to preside over their prosecution meant they were not punished.

In late 1837, James Chambers obtained a licence to graze stock over an area in the south of the Valley along a creek (now called Chambers Creek), running from Cherry Gardens to the Sturt River. James spent little if any time on the land which was managed largely by his brother, John.

In 1838 much of the Coromandel Valley area was surveyed and subdivided into sections. The area can best be described as the east and west facing land areas that abut Sturt River where it flows generally in a north-south direction, with Blackwood on the western and Cherry Gardens on the eastern escarpments.

In addition, Coromandel Valley includes the Chambers Creek area as it nears and eventually joins the Sturt.

The survey effectively divided the Valley into five distinct areas. The provision of two Aboriginal Reserves broke the Valley into a south, central and north area for settlement and development, with these areas being separated by the Aboriginal Reserves.

Between the survey of 1838 and the 1890s, families took up land and settled in the area, undertaking various activities. Facilities to serve the community were developed over this period.