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Clayton Bay
South Australia
Clayton Bay, South Australia.jpg
Clayton Bay is located in South Australia
Clayton Bay
Clayton Bay
Location in South Australia
Population 350 (2016 census)
Established 1858 (town)
31 August 2000 (locality)
Postcode(s) 5256
Elevation 70 m (230 ft)
Time zone ACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST) ACDT (UTC+10:30)
  • 87 km (54 mi) SE of Adelaide
  • 30.7 km (19 mi) E of Goolwa
LGA(s) Alexandrina Council
Region Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island
State electorate(s) Hammond
Federal Division(s) Finniss
Localities around Clayton Bay:
Finniss Milang Lake Alexandrina
Currency Creek Clayton Bay Lake Alexandrina
Hindmarsh Island Hindmarsh Island Point Sturt
Clayton Bay Foreshore
Clayton Bay Foreshore
Wetlands and shorefrontage, Clayton Bay
Wetlands and shore frontage, Eastern side of Clayton Bay

Clayton Bay is a town in South Australia located on Lake Alexandrina and the Lower Lakes and Lower Murray River) adjacent the lower lakes area and Coorong at the end of the Murray River System. The town is located north of the north-east tip of Hindmarsh Island about 87 kilometres (54 mi) from Adelaide and 30.7 kilometres (19 mi) by road from Goolwa.

In 2008, the name of Clayton was officially changed to Clayton Bay by application to the Alexandrina Council and the South Australian Government to avoid confusion with Clayton, Victoria.


At the 2011 census, Clayton Bay had a population of 240. Clayton Bay was renamed from Clayton in 2008 as it was getting confused with Clayton, Victoria. The sheltered waters of Clayton Bay and nearby islands make an ideal location for all types of water sports. The safe waters and foreshore facilities at Clayton Bay also attract families for a myriad of water based activities. The area is known for sailing and environment.


European discovery and use

In 1829 Governor Darling commissioned Captain Charles Sturt to follow the Murrumbidgee, which had been discovered by Hume and Hovell. On 3 November 1829 Sturt left Sydney to assume command of the expedition that eventually turned itself into the famous Murray River Voyage. On 26 December 1829 his team assembled a 25-foot whaleboat and built a log skiff for carrying stores and only two oars. This work was supervised by a carpenter, named Mr Clayton. The boat party departed from the Lachlan River on the 7 January 1830. The crew, besides Sturt and Macleay were Harris, Hopkinson, and Frasier (soldiers), and Mulholland, Macnamee, and Clayton (convicts). Around the 9th of February 1830, Captain Charles Sturt sighted seagulls. Aboriginals told them that the ocean was nearby and so they sailed into a lake which Sturt named Alexandrina. A few days later, they found the point where the Murray flowed into the sea.

The town of Clayton was named by Governor MacDonnell in 1858 and is located on the Lower Murray River. Blocks were first offered for sale in 1859. These were only in the area known as "Old Clayton".

In 1969 the Clayton subdivision was established and other developments north of Alexandrina Drive, were developed between 1985 and 2009, which together, now create the township of today. In 2008, the name of Clayton was officially changed to Clayton Bay by a vast majority of the community and their application to the Alexandrina Council and the South Australian Government. This was coordinated by Mike Galea, the long-standing President of the Clayton Bay Progress Association.

Over the last 20 years, the face of Clayton Bay has changed considerably and today Clayton Bay is considered a quiet holiday hamlet that cherishes its seclusion and welcomes visitors who appreciate its tranquillity or enjoy the breezy summers that attract sailors, fishermen and holidaymakers each year.

Notable residents

  • Annabelle Collett(Artist)
  • Deane Fergie (Anthropologist)
  • Elizabeth Grant (Architect/Anthropologist)
  • Gloria Jones (Environmentalist/Restaurateur/Fisherman/Activist)
  • Henry Jones (Environmentalist/Fisherman/Activist)
  • Rob Lucas (Anthropologist)

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