South of the city of Adelaide, is the suburb of Aldinga, originally it was a separate little town. European settlers moved into the area in the 1840s and established farms, a township followed in the 1850s. Aldinga grew and served the local area and the sailors who stopped at the local port, at its height the township had 6 pubs, there's one now!
Eventually Aldinga settled into a sleepy community, and later became a holiday area as day trippers from Adelaide came to enjoy the local beach. In recent times the suburban housing sprall down the coast has seen the area become an outer suburb of Adelaide. I was familiar with the beach but a recent conversation with some friends alerted me to the rejuvenation of the township which is about 3km from the beach.
With the weather still being warm enough to head down to the beach, a day at Aldinga was on the cards. The township is quite small, with a pub, a restaurant, some cafes and a few shops.
Miss Gladys on Sea, a store selling clothing and shoes. The name has a fascinating history, the original store in the Adelaide city centre is still called Miss Gladys Sym Choon. Gladys Sym Choon was the first woman to incorporate a business in South Australia in 1928, what makes her even more fascinating was that she was Chinese. Her father had come to Australia in 1890 and eventually earned enough money to bring out his wife from China and they had 4 children, Gladys was born in 1905. He started as a fruit and vegetable hawker and in time was able to buy premises in Rundle St in Adelaide. After he became ill, he returned to China and his businesses were controlled by his wife and his children set up their own, still in Rundle St. Gladys' business sold napery, fine embroidery and lace, and she imported these materials from China. What makes their story so interesting is that the Sym Choon family was one of a handful of Chinese families in Adelaide, the White Australia policy of the early 20th century meant that non-Europeans were not allowed to migrate to Australia. The Miss Gladys Sym Choon store in Adelaide is something of an institution and has continued with new owners, one of whom is a designer, and now there's a shop at Aldinga. The shop is inside a house so you wander in and out of rooms to look at the shoes and clothes on sale.
This was the Methodist church built in 1893, the cemetery next to the church has the remains of the sailors who drowned in a shipwreck just off the coast during a storm in 1888.
The surrounding housing is all modern, but the township has the older stone houses with verandahs that are found in South Australia. The thick stone walls helped to keep out the heat and the verandahs helped to shade the houses as well. It didn't take long for the British settlers to learn how to build houses appropriate for the Australian climate in those pre-airconditioning days!
On the main road going south is St. Ann's Anglican church. (The township had been large enough to have 2 churches!) And across the road from the church is the war memorial.
I left the township and drove to the coast (basically through suburbia!) That part of the coast is mainly cliff but there are stairs down to the beach.
The most popular local beach is Silver Sands which is a 5 minute drive south, the sand there is hardpacked so it's possible to drive your car right onto the beach. It's fantastic and I love seeing all the ways people set up their spot on the beach, friends park their cars alongside each other and then string a tent between the cars and they've got their campsite for the day at the beach!
It was lovely to see the township and enjoy lunch there! Having the Miss Gladys on Sea shop was an added bonus. I like being able to discover something different about familiar areas, I'd been to the beach at Aldinga and even the Aldinga Scrub (a nature preserve) the old township was something new.