City of OnkaparingaEconomic profile lite
Skip to content

City of Onkaparinga

About the area

Name origin

Onkaparinga is named from the Aboriginal word “Ngangkiparinga”, meaning “the women's river”.

Location and boundaries

The City of Onkaparinga is located on Adelaide's southern fringe, between 25 and 40 kilometres from the Adelaide CBD. The City of Onkaparinga is bounded by the Cities of Marion and Mitcham in the north, the Adelaide Hills Council area and the District Council of Mount Barker area in the east, the Alexandrina Council area and the District Council of Yankalilla area in the south and Gulf St Vincent in the west.

Included areas

The City of Onkaparinga includes the suburbs and rural localities of Aberfoyle Park, Aldinga, Aldinga Beach, Blewitt Springs, Chandlers Hill, Cherry Gardens, Christie Downs, Christies Beach, Clarendon, Coromandel East, Coromandel Valley (part), Darlington (part), Dorset Vale (part), Flagstaff Hill, Hackham, Hackham West, Happy Valley, Huntfield Heights, Ironbank (part), Kangarilla (part), Kuitpo (part), Lonsdale, Maslin Beach, McLaren Flat, McLaren Vale, Moana, Morphett Vale, Noarlunga Centre, Noarlunga Downs, O'Halloran Hill (part), O'Sullivan Beach, Old Noarlunga, Old Reynella, Onkaparinga Hills, Port Noarlunga, Port Noarlunga South, Port Willunga, Reynella, Reynella East, Seaford, Seaford Heights, Seaford Meadows, Seaford Rise, Sellicks Beach, Sellicks Hill (part), Tatachilla, The Range (part), Whites Valley, Willunga, Willunga South and Woodcroft.

Land use

The City of Onkaparinga is an urban and rural area, with some commercial and industrial areas. The City encompasses a total land area of about 518 square kilometres, including coastline, beaches, hills and hinterland. Most of the population live in established suburbs and residential estates, while others inhabit small coastal communities, farms and country towns. Rural land is used mainly for viticulture, horticulture, forestry, cropping and grazing. Tourism is also an important industry.


The City of Onkaparinga is served by the Southern Expressway, Victor Harbor Road and the Noarlunga railway line.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1838, with the first township established in 1840 at Willunga. The Noarlunga township (now Old Noarlunga) was established in the same year, serving as a business centre for the region until the 1980s. Land was used mainly for grazing and farming, particularly wheat growing. Growth took place in the late 1800s, with subsequent towns such as Reynella and McLaren Vale developed around the wine industry. Land was also used for horticulture, orchards and quarrying, with the area remaining largely rural until significant development in the post-war years, spurred by the outward spread of Adelaide's growth. Rapid development took place between the 1950s and 1970s. Residential growth spread to the foothill areas of O'Halloran Hill, Happy Valley, Flagstaff Hill and Woodcroft in the 1980s and early 1990s. Growth has continued from the early 1990s, although at a slower rate, with the population of the City rising from about 127,000 in 1991 to over 156,000 in 2011. Much of the growth in the 1990s was in the suburbs of Aberfoyle Park, Seaford, Seaford Rise and Woodcroft. Growth from 2001 continued in the suburbs of Seaford and Seaford Rise, but was also significant in the suburbs of Aldinga Beach and Seaford Meadows.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Onkaparinga area were the Kaurna Aboriginal people.