south-western Adelaide, South Australia

The History of the
Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Black Cliff today and as it would have looked to the First Settlers
(from A Field Guide to the Geology of Hallett Cove, p17) .

The area was previously inhabited by Aboriginal groups for thousands of years. The Aboriginal camping area at the Cove covers many acres and is the largest and possibly on the oldest in the vicinity of Adelaide (Cooper, p. 24). The large number and range of stone implements found at the site indicate a long period of Aboriginal occupation, the most recent occupants being the Kaurna Tribe. These implements are now housed at the South Australian Museum.

The Park was named after John Hallett who entered the area in 1837 while looking for missing stock.

From colonization until the 1960s the area was farmed and grazed and copper mining occurred nearby.

The precious geological significance was realized by Professor Ralph Tate in 1877 when he discovered glacial striations or scratching along the exposed siltstones of the coastal cliff tops. It was later revealed that these markings were made by the extensive Permian ice sheet that covered much of Gondwana, the Southern Hemisphere supercontinent, 270 million years ago.

In 1958 the National Trust expressed its desire to preserve by purchase 3 ¼ acres of land along the cliff-top, containing the exposed glacial pavements. In 1965 this protracted process was legislated, with the Trust owning in total 8 ¾ acres. The area was called Sandison Reserve after George Sandison who had helped with negotiations to acquire the land.

During the 2 decades up to 1976 fierce community lobbying, involving all levels of government, culminated in the declaration of the 51 hectare Conservation Park and saved the area from destruction and urban development. Present and future generations will now benefit scientifically and recreationally from those efforts.

Further reading

Cooper, H M et al (1970): Hallett Cove, a Field Guide, South Australian Museum, Adelaide.

Giesecke, R. (Ed., 1999): A Field Guide to the Geology of Hallett Cove,
      Field Geology Club of SA.

Dolling, A. (1981): The History of Marion on the Sturt, Peacock Publications

Hallett Cove Conservation Park Management Plan (1986),
      SA National Parks & Wildlife Service, Adelaide.

This page maintained by Littoral Productions for the Friends of Hallett Cove.
Last modified 12th September 2007.