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Local History

The City of Holdfast Bay was formed in 1997 through the amalgamation of the City Councils of Brighton and Glenelg. Both townships had been established on Indigenous Kaurna land.  Glenelg became a municipality in 1855 and Brighton followed in1858.
In 1838 Brighton district was surveyed by Colonel William Light. The area became a rural farming area, but because of its sand hills and long sandy beaches, it also became a place for holiday houses built by wealthy professionals and notable people of the day.
With the advent of the railway and the car, settlement grew quickly and Brighton became a popular day trip destination as people flocked to the beach.

Post-war immigration changed the rural seaside village into a town.  The first Brighton jetty, built in 1886, was replaced in 1996 after storms destroyed the old jetty in 1994.

Glenelg saw the first settlers arrive in 1836 and was the site at which the Proclamation was read on 28 December 1836. The town was named after Lord Glenelg by Governor Hindmarsh.  From a settlement that started in tents and prefabricated huts, it developed into South Australia's premier seaside resort with substantial mansions built mostly along the waterfront.   Many amusement facilities were also developed.  The first railway came to Glenelg in 1865 and stopped pretty much where the tram now stops on Moseley Square, in front of where the original jetty was built in 1859.  This jetty was replaced by the current shorter jetty in 1968 after the old jetty was wrecked in 1948.  Jetty Road subsequently developed into the main shopping area.

The Glenelg Town Hall

This was first named the Glenelg Institute. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Henry Ayers on 11 December 1875 and was opened as an Institute on 19 October 1877.  It later became Glenelg's Town Hall in 1887.  With the amalgamation of the City of Brighton and the City of Glenelg, the City of Holdfast Bay Council continued to meet in the Old Glenelg Town Hall, but the majority of the administration section was moved to the old Brighton Town Hall.  In 2000, the Glenelg Town Hall became the home of the Bay Discovery Centre.

Ringwood House

14 Jetty Road Brighton was built in 1924 for Dr Matthew Goode and was one of the most expensive houses built in its time. Its original name was Taparrie, but the name was changed to Ringwood when new owners turned it into a nursing home after World War 2.  The City of Brighton bought it in 1975 and today it houses the Holdfast Bay History Centre (which looks after the City of Holdfast Bay's extensive historical collection), Home Support and Lifelinks, as well as community groups such as the Brighton Historical Society.

Kingston House

Kingston House (c1840) is the oldest historic building in Holdfast Bay and was owned by George Strickland Kingston, who came out on the Cygnet as Deputy Surveyor to Colonel Light.  He was an architect and designed many of the early colonial buildings in Adelaide.

Kingston House in Cameron Avenue, Kingston Park is open to the public from 2.30pm-4.30pm every Sunday in March until the last Sunday in November.

Partridge House

Built in 1899, Partridge House (38 Partridge Street) was built for Mrs Elinor Varley and was bought by the former Glenelg Council in 1971 after it was threatened with demolition.  Since 1977 it has been used as a community facility.
Take a wander through the gardens to the north of the house and see the elaborate Townsend Drinking Fountain, made of bronzed iron and set on a bluestone base.

For booking and function information on Partridge House, Click here.

Other Local Places

There are other prominent mansions within the City of Holdfast Bay but unfortunately they are not open to the public. There are also many other buildings and places of interest in the area.  Historic walk guides have been developed by the Holdfast Bay History Centre which may be obtained from the Holdfast Bay History Centre, the Bay Discovery Centre, the City of Holdfast Bay libraries or can be downloaded here.

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