RDA Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo IslandEconomic profile
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RDA Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island

About the area

Name origin

The City of Victor Harbor is named after the HMS Victor, a ship which anchored in the lee of Granite Island in 1837. It was originally known as Port Victor, before becoming known as Victor Harbor in 1921.

Location and boundaries

The City of Victor Harbor is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia, about 80 kilometres south of the Adelaide CBD. The City of Victor Harbor is bounded by the District Council of Yankalilla area in the north and west, the Alexandrina Council area in the east, and the Southern Ocean (Encounter Bay) in the south.

Included areas

The City of Victor Harbor includes the localities of Back Valley (part), Encounter Bay, Hayborough (part), Hindmarsh Tiers, Hindmarsh Valley, Inman Valley (part), Lower Inman Valley, McCracken, Mount Jagged (part), Victor Harbor and Waitpinga (part).

Economic region
City of Victor Harbor

Land use

The City of Victor Harbor is a rural and residential area, with rapidly growing township, holiday and retirement areas. The City encompasses a total land area of about 385 square kilometres, including significant areas of coastline. Rural land is used largely for dairy farming, with some sheep and cattle grazing. Tourism is an important industry, with holiday accommodation in the coastal areas.


The City of Victor Harbor is served by Inman Valley Road, Port Elliot Road, Victor Harbor Road and Waitpinga Road.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1839, with land used mainly for grazing. A whaling station operated on Granite Island until the mid 1860s. Population was minimal until 1863 when the railway was extended and the Victor Harbor township was established as the main port on the Fleurieu Peninsula, shipping wheat and wool. River trade declined from the 1890s as the railways took over, resulting in Victor Harbor becoming more of a holiday and tourist resort. The population of the City increased gradually to about 1,000 in 1911, reaching about 2,000 by 1954. Significant development did not occur until the 1980s, with the population increasing from about 2,400 in 1971 to about 7,000 in 1986. Growth was largely as a result of Victor Harbor developing as a resort town and retirement centre. Substantial growth took place from the early 1990s. Population growth is expected to continue.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the City of Victor Harbor were the Ramindjeri and Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal people.