Culture & History

Culture & History

With a rich Indigenous history and tales of early settlers, the Eyre Peninsula has some fascinating stories to tell.

Aboriginal people have populated Eyre Peninsula for many thousands of years, from the desert dwellers in the far west of the Peninsula to the coastal inhabitants. There are many dreaming stories about the development of the culture, unique geology and wildlife; this oral history has been passed down through many generations.

There are many language groups in the region, with the four major population centres of Aboriginal people being Port Lincoln, Ceduna, Yalata and Koonibba. Celebrate the land’s rich history by exploring some of our monuments and arts centres, such as the Ceduna Aboriginal Arts & Culture Centre.

The local Aboriginal population continues to make a substantial contribution to the Eyre Peninsula communities; this includes business, land management, arts, sport and cultural activities.

Early sea exploration in the region occurred as early as 1627, some 200 years before Matthew Flinders arrived on the coast in 1802. However it was Edward John Eyre, after whom the region is named, who extensively mapped the region first.

The Eyre Peninsula was home to whaling and sealing industries before the first official settlement in Port Lincoln in 1839 – the area was rejected by Colonel William Light as an option for the state’s capital because of a lack of water!

Following Port Lincoln’s settlement, large parcels of land were taken up for grazing at the region grew.