The pristine beach, sand dunes and abundant marine
life are just a few of the things that make Semaphore a great
place to live and visit!
Semaphore takes pride in being a vibrant, safe and colourful seaside community built on a history of cultural diversity, harmony and involvement.
Click below for more information on Semaphore’s Local Suburbs or click on a suburb name on map below:
An Adelaide suburb laid out on section 700, Hundred of Port Adelaide by Thomas Elder and John Hart.
There is a Birkenhead in Cheshire, England which derives from the Old English bicern – ‘birch’, thus, ‘headland overgrown with birch’.
On the 18th of May 1850, Phillip Levi purchased sections 1104-1107, Hundred of Port Adelaide. By April 1851, section 1106 was owned by John Lapthorne, who subdivided it sometime before January 1854, but the name of Exeter doesn’t appear on official documents until 1882 when William Wells cut part of section 1106. John Lapthorne arrived in South Australia on the Orissa in 1840. He was born at Exeter, Devonshire in 1807 and died at Exeter, Adelaide in 1889.
The name come from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “fortress on the river”. In 877 AD it was written as ‘exe-cestre’ where the ‘exe’ refers to the River Exe and ‘cestre’ derived from the Old English ‘ceaster – city or walled town’.
John Hart was born in Devonshire in 1809 and at an early went to sea: in 1835 he established a whaling station at Encounter Bay. After the colony was founded in 1836 he engaged in coastal and intercolonial trade, retiring from the sea in 1845 following his marriage to Margaret Todd in Dublin, Ireland. Returning to South Australia in 1856 he built a home on land he owned on Le Fevre Peninsula which he called ‘Glanville Hall’, after his mother, whose maiden name was Mary Glanville.
One of the imposing family mansions of early SA, the house was constructed of stone bought from near Port Vincent on Yorke Peninsula across Saint Vincent Gulf by flat bottom sailing barges which were sailed across the tidal flats at Ethelton at high tide, the stone unloaded onto drays on the ebb and carted to the side of the mansion.
The house was built on a large are of land then know as ‘Buck’s Flat’, by the builder Mr. Gowling: it consisted of 14 spacious rooms in the main building with a coach house and a gate keepers lodge; a billiard room and tower were added in 1865.
The first subdivision of the area was in 1859 when part section 908-9 were cut up into ‘Township of Portbridge’ by the owners, Mrs. Alfred Watts and Philip Levi. John Hart laid out Glanville on section 910 in 1865.
The suburb was laid out in August 1875 by William Diverall, land broker of Port Adelaide on section 1099, Hundred of Port Adelaide. The name was imported from Scotland from whence Mr. Diverall immigrated in the ‘Atlanta’ in 1886.
H.C. Talbot wrote, “It was a site chosen for a signal station and landing place about a year after the colony was founded. During October 1849 the adjacent land was surveyed and several stations set aside for mail stations reserves.”
Although Semaphore was widely used a harbour as early 1837-38, land in the vicinity was not sold until 1850.