Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Mallala SA


Postcode: 5502

Mallala is a small town about 75 kilometres north of Adelaide in South Australia. The name Mallala is thought to be derived from the local Aboriginal word ‘madlola’ which supposedly meant ‘place of the ground frog’.

In 1939 the Royal Australian Air Force established a base to the north of the Mallala township. The base was originally used for training of the Royal Australian Air Force. It was subsequently closed in 1960. The Mallala Motorsport Park, which regularly hosts national and international motor racing events, can now be found at this site.

The international standard equestrian center, east of the township is the venue for national show jumping and related event competitions. At Mallala’s centre is an impressive World War I war memorial, which has the insignia ‘In honour of ten men who died in defence of home and liberty’. The ten men were killed in Egypt, France and Palestine.

The town’s name is reputedly derived from the local Aboriginal word ‘madlola’ which supposedly meant ‘place of the ground frog’. It was first used by Phillip Butler who took up a sheep run in the area in the 1840s. By the 1860s the area had been subdivided and a substantial number of sheep and wheat farmers were finding the conditions ideal. The town prospered and a large, and beautiful, flour mill was built to process the local wheat harvest. The town never grew to any great size. The impressive World War I war memorial in the centre of town records only ten people from the town being killed. In essence the town remained a largely unspoilt 19th century village.

Mallala changed briefly during World War II when a flying school was established in the district. Suddenly the town had a population of over 2,000 people. After the war the buildings which had housed the trainees were used for newly arrived immigrants from war torn Europe. By the 1960s the town had returned to its previous quietness. Today it is a sleepy little village which is a typical 19th century South Australian wheat town. The area was settled in the 1840s. It is an intensely sleepy little township with a museum in what appears to be an old wheat mill which is only open on Sundays.