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Elliston, South Australia facts for kids

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South Australia
Shops, Elliston, 2017 (01).jpg
The town centre
Elliston is located in South Australia
Location in South Australia
Population 308 (2016 census)
Established 1878
Postcode(s) 5670
Elevation 16 m (52 ft)
Location 641 km (398 mi) W of Adelaide
LGA(s) District Council of Elliston
State electorate(s) Flinders
Federal Division(s) Grey
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
21.3 °C
70 °F
11.7 °C
53 °F
425.9 mm
16.8 in
Localities around Elliston:
Ocean Colton Mount Joy
Ocean Elliston Mount Joy
Ocean Ocean Ocean
Footnotes Adjoining localities

Elliston is a small coastal town in the Australian state of South Australia on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula 169 km northwest of Port Lincoln and 641 km west of Adelaide. The township is located on Waterloo Bay. At the 2006 census, Elliston had a population of 377.


The first inhabitants of the land that is now Elliston were the Nauo people.

The first recorded exploration of the adjacent coastline was by Matthew Flinders in the vessel HMS Investigator from 10–13 February 1802. He named the offshore islands but did not note the presence of Waterloo Bay in his log.

Edward John Eyre explored the area on land in 1840 and 1841 on a journey to Western Australia from Port Lincoln. Originally named Waterloo Bay, the township was later named by Governor Sir William Jervois on a plan for the town on 23 November 1878. Locally it is believed to be named after the writer and educator Ellen Liston who was born in England in 1838 and emigrated to South Australia in 1850. She was a governess working on a local property (Nilkerloo) owned by John Hamp.

It has also been suggested that Jervois, who had a military background chose to honour Sir Henry Walton Ellis (1783–1815) who was a hero of the Battle of Waterloo during which campaign he died of his wounds. The area was settled in the 1840s with Elliston being the central port from which the early settlers transported their wool and wheat to market. Sailing ships and later steam ships crossed Waterloo Bay’s notorious reefed entrance. A number of ships foundered in the bay due to its narrow entrance and variable tides.

The Nauo people were hit extremely hard by the effects of European invasion. There was a very great deal of violence against Aboriginal people in this area (and a good deal of violence against white settlers also). The Waterloo Bay Massacre is thought to have occurred close to Elliston, and there is also a large number of better-documented murders and other violent acts towards Aboriginal people in this area.

Historic buildings

The hall, which was officially opened on 10 February 1968, is distinguished by its mural which was painted with the help of local community members under the direction of artists Siv Grava and John Turpie. According to the placard erected by the District Council of Elliston, it is the largest mural of its type in Australia, depicts the historical life of Elliston and covers more than 500 square metres in area.

The first District Council of Elliston Council Chambers were built in 1913 and still stand adjacent to Waterloo Bay Caravan Park.

The Country Women’s Association Rooms were the first to be built in South Australia by that organisation and opened on 4 July 1936.

The Post Office was opened on 13 August 1880 and is the oldest public building still in use. The first Police Station (which still stands) was opened in 1881 and continued in use until 1971.

Heritage listings

Elliston has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Flinders Highway: Oaklands Shearing Shed
  • off Flinders Highway: Elliston Cast Iron Lead Light
  • off Flinders Highway: Elliston Jetty
  • 9 Memorial Drive: Elliston Country Women's Association Rest Rooms


The town of Elliston lies on Waterloo Bay, a small coastal inlet which is partially protected by a number of reefs lining the entrance to the bay. Outside of the bay, the coastline is exclusively large cliffs, with a number of surf beaches located on these stretches.

Inside the bay, it is relatively calm and shallow, with seagrass beds and reefs underwater, and sandy beaches lining most of the bay. Inland, the country is mostly flat agricultural land. The southern end of the Lake Newland Conservation Park lies about 10 km to the north of the town.

Offshore, Flinders Island is 55 km away from the mainland.


In the 2006 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population and Housing, the population of the Elliston town census area was 377 people. Males outnumbered females. 92.8% of the population was born in Australia, with immigrants coming from England, France, Germany, Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Korea.

Christianity is the most followed religion in the town with 51% of the town following the religion. The major denominations in the town are the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches. 29% of the town had no religious beliefs.

The town has a number of sporting clubs and facilities, as well as churches, hotels and a large number of local businesses.

Port Adelaide Power footballer Cameron Hitchcock hails from Elliston.


Elliston Jetty, 2017 (02)
Elliston Jetty

Agriculture, fishing and tourism make up Elliston's economy. Barley and wheat farming take place alongside sheep grazing on the adjacent farmland. Marine activities include abalone diving, lobster and scale fisheries.

The area is a tourist destination, the town having two caravan parks as well as motel and hotel accommodation. Fishing, swimming and other water based activities are common in the protected bay.

Surfing is possible at stretches along the coast, but high numbers of sharks make it risky. Many surf beaches are known for catches of salmon, mulloway and shark as well, with Lock's Well one of the more established beaches.

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