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People & Places

Two Aboriginal males on hill looking at ship in the distance,  Cawthorne (SLNSW)

Aboriginal Peoples

The Yankalilla & District Historical Society (YDHS) supports the cultural, spiritual, ecological and economic regeneration of the Aboriginal peoples of this place. YDHS acknowledges that Aboriginal peoples have occupied this region for several thousand years that we know of, from c7000 years ago. We continue to support activities in the region that will enrich our knowledge of their link to land and culture. more...


During the Heritage Fleurieu Coast Festival 2022, a presentation focusing on Named Aboriginal Places within the Western Fleurieu region offered essential points of reference and valuable resource material.

Wonggayerlo Western sea (Gulf Saint Vincent)

Two Aboriginal males on hill looking at ship in the distance 1870
Photo courtesy: W.A. Cawthorne, State Library of NSW

Early Families in the District

The YDHS researches, collates and publishes information about people and places of the district in a number of ways.

An on-going project of the Society is the development of folders on people and families  who have resided in the Yankalilla District in the past. These folders are on open shelves in the Yankalilla Library and can be consulted by anyone interested in the history of any of these families.


People are also encouraged to supply the Society with extra information which can be added to the folders.


There are currently 35 of these folders, with more being prepared. Some of the folders have an accompanying poster. These posters are A2 in size, and are used at various exhibitions and events, and are also displayed at the Yankalilla District Historical Museum.

Sepia family photograph with Anne E Smith with son, daughter and granddaughter
Scanned image of double page from old rates assessment book

Rate Assessment Books

YDHS has digital photographs of the Yankalilla District rate assessment books.


The Yankalilla books date from 1856 to 1930 (later books are at State Records), the Myponga books from 1872 to 1888 (after which Myponga came under the District Council of Yankalilla), and Rapid Bay from 1876 to 1932 (which also became part of the District Council of Yankalilla).


The rate assessment books are an invaluable resource for people trying to find out where their ancestors lived. 

Community Archives

The Yankalilla & District Historical Society (YDHS) is in the process of setting up a Community Archive. 

YDHS currently holds archival material for a number of local organisations and families.


The types of items held include minute books, financial records, correspondence, attendance records, and many other miscellaneous items. These items are being scanned and catalogued, and this catalogue will be added to this web site once completed.

Concrete ruins of the Torrens Vale sheep dip with farmer and sheep dogs standing nearby.
Sepia photograph of the first Yankalilla Post Office

Research Collection

The Society’s Collection includes well over 10,000 digital files, including both documents and photographs.

There are documents covering the history of a variety of subjects relevant to the Yankalilla district; for example, churches and cemeteries, townships, to name but a few.

The Collection also includes a large number of historical photographs, covering all the areas and towns in the Yankalilla district. You can access some of these photographs through  the SA Public Library Network (OneCard).

Cemetery Records

When the Society was established, one of its inaugural undertakings involved the meticulous gathering of cemetery-related data within the district.

This comprehensive effort involved consulting Church Burial Registers, Council Cemetery Registers, local family histories, the SA Death Register, family notices in newspapers, and transcripts of headstones. The information we present here is as accurate as we could verify through these sources.

Explore the collection of  Early burials in the District. In the early years of the Yankalilla district there were:

  • three public cemeteries (Yankalilla, Bullaparinga, Cockatoo Hill)

  • nine church cemeteries (Christ Church Anglican, St James Anglican, St Paul’s Anglican, Normanville Wesleyan, Normanville Roman Catholic, Inman Valley Bible Christian, Harcourt Wesleyan, Torrens Vale Bible Christian, Myponga Bible Christian), and

  • three small private cemeteries.  

Some of these cemeteries are no longer used, but six of them remain in use.

Tombstone of Elizabeth Leak, died 1856- edited

A map showing basic burial details and plot numbers for the two local Anglican Cemeteries can be found on the Chronicle digital cemetery site.

Brochures for self-guided walks of selected graves in six cemeteries in the District have been prepared. Hard copies are available at the Fleurieu Coast Visitor Information Centre or can be downloaded.


For details about burials beyond 1900 we recommend reaching out to the District Council of Yankalilla.

To Find the Way by R.F. William

YDHS Members' Library

YDHS has its own library of books on a variety of subjects relevant to the district, including many family histories.

Most books are available for loan to YDHS members, although some are for reference only, such as the Registers of South Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages. 

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