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The first people associated with the Salisbury area were the Aboriginal people known as the Kaurna. Many occupational and sacred sites associated with the Kaurna people still exist around the Salisbury area, including the Greenfields Wetlands.
In 1839, three years after the founding of South Australia, a Scot named John Harvey migrated to the colony. In 1847, he purchased land along the Little Para River for the purposes of establishing a township. In 1848, Harvey began selling allotments for the township of Salisbury, named after Salisbury, England near his wife’s hometown. Many of Salisbury’s streets are named after John and his family.
By 1881, the Salisbury Township’s population was between 400 and 500. The area’s main crops were oranges, wheat, hay and dairy produce. Its most notable industries were flourmills and the Paternoster Engineering Works, which produced windmills.
Little changed until 1940 when the Federal Government built a munitions factory at Penfield. As most of the workers resided outside the Salisbury area, homes were built nearby for them. This effectively doubled the area’s population overnight.
Since World War II, the Salisbury area has expanded dramatically due to the changes in transport, population growth, technology, immigration, and close proximity to the City of Adelaide. In 1933, the District Council of Salisbury’s population was 2,385. By 1947, it was 4,160, while in 1981 it had grown to 86,451. At the 2001 Census*, the population was recorded as over 110,000. The City is anticipated to have a population of 121,412 in 2006.
From a handful of villages, the City now has nineteen suburbs. Many are named after the properties of early settlers such as Golden Grove
Some have aboriginal origins, Yatala and Para, while others have a story to tell, Hope Valley. Torrens River.
Golden Grove is thought to be named after the last ship Captain Adam Robertson commanded. Captain Robertson and his wife came to South Australia in September 1839.
Thomas Roberts, who purchased the sections in 1846, named Greenwith after a mine he worked in Cornwall. Highbury in north London.
Hope Valley was the earliest of the settlements in the present day City of Tea Tree Gully.
The village of Modbury began to emerge in 1857-58. The name Modbury was given by local land owned Robert Symons Kelly after his hometown of Modbury, Devonshire.
Wynn Vale was named after the wine makers S. Wynn & Company.
Few records survive of the contact between the early settlers in the district and the original Australians – the Aborigines. When the first settlers arrived, the Adelaide Plains were occupied by the Kaurna (cow-r-na) people.
The “Adelaide Tribe” probably numbered less than 300 men, women and children and were divided into nomadic family groups or clans which were in possession of hunting territory which extended from Cape Jervis in the south to Crystal Brook in the north and included the Mt Lofty ranges.
James Cronk, who settled in Modbury in 1842, made one of the earliest recorded contacts with the Kaurna people. Cronk was appointed native interpreter in March of 1838.
One former camping and meeting place of the Kaurna tribe was by the Little Para, where the present Snake Gully Bridge is located, on One Tree Hill Road. Here there are permanent springs and waterholes.
Little trace of the Kaurna people is left today, however some place names in the district serve to remind us:
City of Tea Tree Gully A: 571 Montague Road, Modbury, SA 5092 T: 8397 7444 F: 8397 7400