The Coorong is a long, shallow lagoon that follows the coast of the south east region of South Australia, south of Lake Alexandrina and the mouth of the Murray River. It is separated from the Southern Ocean by the narrow sand dune of the Younghusband Peninsula.
Where is it?: South east. 228 km south east of Adelaide; 211 km north west of Mt. Gambier; 31 metres above sea level.
Willalooka: a prosperous agricultural district located 35km south of Keith on the Riddoch Highway. Take the Interpretative Walk and learn the history of Willalooka by following the interpretative signs. Start at the Willalooka Tavern and read about the history of the store.
It is a pleasant five minute walk to the top of nearby Christmas Rocks, which was part of the archipelago of granite rocks in the shallow sea that covered the Limestone Coast 25 million years ago. The surrounding district may be viewed from this unique formation.
Jip Jip Conservation Park is just off Rowney Road near Willalooka. It is one of the larger parks in the district. Enjoy a picnic or stroll to the top of the granites and enjoy the view.
Mount Monster Conservation Park
Natural features: Mount Monster Conservation Park (12 km south); Mount Rescue Conservation Park (16 km north); Gum Lagoon Conservation Park (30 km south west); Christmas Rock (Willalooka); Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park; Desert Camp Conservation Park (42 km south); Jip Jip Conservation Park (46 km south)
Built features: Penny Farthing Coffee and Crafts; the towns of Padthaway and Willalooka; The Old Manse (1906); Congregational Church (1910); Early Settlers Cottage (1894).
Origin of name: recalls Algernon Keith-Falconer (1852-1930), the 9th Earl of Kintore and eldest son of Sir Lancelot Stirling. He was Governor of South Australia from 1889 to 1895, in between terms in conservative British Governments in which he was a member of the Privy Council. Kintore's home in Aberdeenshire in Scotland was called Keith Hall and he was also known as Lord Keith.
Brief history: The area was originally part of the territory of the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal people which extended from the Ninety Mile desert to the Coorong and the waters of Lake Alexandrina. The townsite is located on the Gold Escort Route along which gold was brought from the Victorian goldfields into South Australia for shipment to Britain.
No town eventuated until 1884 when it was surveyed, then proclaimed five years later. Its first resident didn't build his house until 10 years after the town was proclaimed and the first public building was still a further decade away.
The district's and the town's eventual prosperity resulted from the CSIRO's discovery in the 1940s that, with the addition of vital trace elements, the land around Keith was potentially very productive. The AMP Society financed the project and over the next two decades Keith became the centre for cattle studs, grain crops and Lucerne production. Water was first piped to the town from Tailem Bend in 1969.