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1950 to 1960s: The growth of Marion

Did you know that Marion was among the fastest growing suburban cities in Australia?

This information is part of Stories of the Sturt River, an interpretive trail where you can listen to the history of the Sturt River at six state-of-the-art signs along a 3km stretch of the Sturt River Linear Park walking and cycling trail from Warriparinga to Oaklands Reserve.

The population of Marion boomed

In the two decades after World War II, the population of Marion grew so rapidly that it became larger than any neighbouring town.

By the late 1940s the population was more than 10,500.

By the mid 1960s it had increased six-fold to over 66,000.

There was a sudden housing shortage

Marion was indeed one of the fastest growing suburban cities in Australia.

This influx of people produced a sudden and severe housing shortage.

Valuable horticultural land was purchased by the South Australian Housing Trust to build housing estates in Marion.

“That’s progress. Gosh you can’t stop that. Even on my father’s death bed he was saying ‘they’ll be sorry in Marion one day, they’ll be sorry … if they ever build any more homes.’ 

He said, ‘All that beautiful soil and those artesian bores. That is where the market gardens are supposed to be. That’s why they founded Marion, because of all that underground water.

They’ll go salty … they’ll be no good …’ he said.  “And we’ve got more coming so we’ve all got to move over and make room for other people.” - LOCAL RESIDENT MARGARET LYSY

Vines were traded for houses

The face of Marion was changing!

As new people kept arriving, the trading of vines for houses was unstoppable.

The sheer volume of construction changed Marion beyond recognition to its long-term inhabitants.

The end of an era

By the 1960s the horticultural activities that made Marion a major supplier of table grapes and almonds to the Adelaide markets was fading quickly.

Only two large vineyards remained.

The 50-year old Marion branch of the South Australian Fruitgrowers’ and Market Gardeners’ Association was disbanded in 1970.

Stories of the Sturt River video

You can listen to all this on a video on YouTube:

History and Cultural Heritage

The City of Marion recognises the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, valuing the past and planning for the future.

Our cultural heritage is precious and irreplaceable. It includes stories, memories, events and traditions as well as landscapes and places, buildings and objects that have significance to our local community.