Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Millicent SA


Postcode: 5280

Millicent is a small town in South Australia, 400 km south-east of Adelaide, and 50 km north of Mount Gambier. The town is home to the Millicent National Trust Museum, and is nearby to the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park and the Canunda National Park.

The Millicent football and netball clubs play in the Western Border League. The nickname of the clubs is the Saints, and the teams share the same red, white and black colours as the St Kilda Football Club in the AFL. The town also has strong links with the Mid-South Eastern League, a league made up of teams representing the smaller towns in the district. Many Millicent residents play for teams from the the neighbouring towns of Mt Burr (green and gold, the Mozzies), Tantanoola (red and white, the Tigers) and Hatherleigh (blue and gold, the Eagles). The town’s basketball team is called the Magic. (colours: silver, red, black). Close by is Lake bonney which is home for South Australias Largest wind turbine Farm.

It is believed that the Bungandidj Aborigines occupied the area before European settlement. The first European into the district was Charles Bonney who, in 1839, overlanded cattle through the area. He was followed shortly afterwards by Samuel Davenport who established Mayurra sheep run in 1845. It was later managed by George Glen. In 1863 a major swamp clearing project began and the previously useless land was turned into rich wheat and barley crops by the creation of an elaborate and deep drainage system. The key development occurred when a drain was blasted which allowed the swamp to drain into Lake Frome. It is said that there are 1450 km of drains and 500 bridges in the area.

A town was surveyed in 1870 and built on land previously owned by Mayurra Station. The town was named ‘Millicent’ after Millicent Short the daughter of the first Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide. When she died in 1930 the Adelaide Advertiser’s obituary offered a fascinating insight into her life and how she came to be honoured by the town. ‘The death occurred in Mount Gambier on Sunday,’ it reported, ‘of Mrs Millicent Glen. Mrs Glen was ninety-four years of age, was the eldest child of the Right Rev. Dr Augustus Short, first Bishop of Adelaide, and was born at the vicarage, Ravensthorpe, Northamptonshire, England on 29 September 1837. With her parents she arrived at Adelaide in December 1847. The Bishop chartered the Derwent, of 362 tons, to bring his family and several clergymen to Australia, the journey occupying 117 days.