Mount Gambier, South Australia
View north across Valley Lake and Marist Park to Mount Gambier CBD and eastern urban area from Centenary Tower
|Population||24,905(2006 census) (50th)|
|• Density||881.1/km² (2,282.0/sq mi)|
|Postcode(s)||5290, 5291 |
|Area||26.7 km² (10.3 sq mi)|
|Time zone||ACST (UTC+9:30)|
|• Summer (DST)||ACDT (UTC+10:30)|
|State/territory electorate(s)||Mount Gambier|
Mount Gambier is the second most populous city in South Australia with an urban population of 24,905.
Located on the slopes of the mountain of the same name in the south east of the state approximately 450 kilometres south-east of the capital Adelaide and just 17 kilometres from the Victorian border, it is the most important settlement in the Limestone Coast region and the seat of government for both the City of Mount Gambier and District Council of Grant.
The peak of the inactive volcano was the first place named in South Australia, sighted in 1800 by Lieutenant James Grant from the survey brig, HMS Lady Nelson, and named for Lord James Gambier, Admiral of the Fleet. The peak is marked by Centenary Tower, built in 1904 to commemorate the first sighting and at 192 metres above sea level the landmark is the city's highest point.
The city is known for its geographical features, particularly its limestone and volcanic features, most notably its Blue Lake, parks and gardens, caves and sinkholes.
The Henty brothers who owned large holdings in Portland, Western Victoria claim to the land, were forced to retreat when the lands were granted to Evelyn Sturt, the brother of the explorer Charles Sturt. Industries soon began to appear. The Post Office opened on 22 September 1846, John Byng built the Mount Gambier Hotel in 1847, and Dr Edward Wehl arrived in 1849 to begin a flour-milling operation.
Hastings Cunningham founded "Gambierton" in 1854 by subdividing a block of 77 acres (31 ha). From 1861 to 1878 the Post Office was known by this name before reverting to Mount Gambier. Local government appeared in 1863 when Dr Wehl, who now owned a substantial millhouse on Commercial Road, was elected chairman of the District Council of Mount Gambier. In December 1864 this became the District Council of Mount Gambier West and, at the same time, a separate District Council of Mount Gambier East was formed.
Incorporation in 1876 saw a further division, with the creation of the Town Council and Mr. John Watson elected Mayor. Mount Gambier was governed in this fashion until 1932, when the District Council of East and West merged to form a single District Council of Mount Gambier once more.
On 9 December 1954, Mount Gambier was officially declared a city, and is now an important tourism centre in south-east South Australia.
The urban area is located mainly along the northern slopes and plain of a maar volcano of the same name, Mount Gambier. Comprising several craters, it is part of the Newer Volcanics Province complex of volcanoes. One of these contains a huge lake of high-quality artesian drinking water which changes colour with the seasons. In winter, it is a steel grey and then changes to a spectacular cobalt blue in the summer, giving rise to its name, Blue Lake. This 70-metre deep lake also accommodates a range of unusual aquatic flora and fauna, in particular fields of large stromatolites. There are several other craters in the city including Valley Lake and Mount Schank and the region has many water-filled caves and sinkholes.
Mount Gambier has a temperate climate with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. July is the wettest month with an average of 99.4 mm falling on 21 days whilst February normally records the lowest rainfall with an average of 25 mm on an average 8 days. The highest ever temperature recorded in Mount Gambier was 43.6 °C on 16 February 1983 (Ash Wednesday fires) and the lowest ever temperature recorded was −3.9 °C on 20 June 1950 and 2 July 1960.
|Climate data for Mount Gambier|
|Record high °C (°F)||43.6
|Average high °C (°F)||25.2
|Average low °C (°F)||11.1
|Record low °C (°F)||1.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||26.3
The government in the south-east area of the state, consisting of three local councils, was based around a single administration, many residents of Victoria used to look across the border to Mount Gambier as their centre. Consequently, during the 1970s many elderly locals relocated to Victor Harbor and Moonta, both rural areas but with more resources available to cope with an ageing population. A 1976 study found that less than 10 per cent (around 160 people) of residents aged over 65 had lived in the area for less than 5 years, leading to a lack of specific aged-care facilities.
According to the 2006 Census the population of the Mount Gambier census area was 24,905 people, making it the largest urban area in the state outside of Adelaide, and the 50th largest urban area in Australia. Approximately 51.7% of the population were female, 84.9% were Australian born, over 91.5% of residents were Australian citizens and 1.6% were indigenous.
The most popular industries for employment were Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing (8%), School Education (4.8%) and Retail Trade (3.8%), while the unemployment rate is approx. 7%. The median weekly household income is A$814 or more per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide.
According to the 2006 Census, 60.0% of residents identified themselves as being Christian. The largest denominations represented were Catholics at 21.5%, Anglicans at 11.4%, the Uniting Church at 8.6%, and Presbyterians at 6.9%. 26.9% of people claim no religion. A further 12.1% of people chose either not to state their beliefs, or did not adequately define them.
The economy of Mount Gambier is driven by all three economic sectors, though it has emerged as a regional service economy with its main industry being the service industry and its key areas of business including tourism, hospitality, retail, professional services, government administration and education. The city's historic primary industry roots including mining, agriculture and forestry continue to play a key role as well as being a major road transport and trucking centre.
Tourism generates around $100 million for the Mount Gambier economy. The city is a major accommodation gateway for the region. Major tourism attractions include the Blue Lake and Valley Lake wildlife park and caves such as Umpherston Sinkhole, Cave Gardens and Engelbrecht Cave. The region around Mt Gambier also has many water-filled caves and sinkholes which attract cave divers from around the globe. Popular sites include Ewens Ponds and Piccaninnie Ponds
Service industries 
As a major service centre for the region, the city has several key retail districts including the CBD centred around Commercial Street. Mount Gambier Marketplace, opened in August 2012, it is the first major shopping mall in the region, with a large number of specialty stores. Major department stores include Target, Big W, Kmart, Harvey Norman. Additionally each of the major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, IGA are represented. Servicing the financial sector are branches of the big four Australian retail banks (National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac) along with Bendigo Bank and St.George Bank and a number of smaller independent financial services firms.
There are six Reception to Year 7 (R-7) Primary schools:
- Reidy Park Primary School;
- Mount Gambier North Primary School;
- McDonald Park;
- Compton Primary School;
- Melaleuca Park; and
- Mulga Street Primary School.
There are two Reception to Year 12 (R-12) colleges:
There are two High Schools for Year 8 to 12:
- TAFE SA has a campus in Mount Gambier providing an extensive variety of vocational study.
- University of South Australia has a campus in Mount Gambier which offers full-time or part-time undergraduate degrees in Accountancy, Nursing and Social Work.
- Southern Cross University and Flinders University also have campuses offering selected studies.
The local newspaper for Mount Gambier, the Limestone Coast and South East region of South Australia is The Border Watch. It is published and available in the local area every Tuesday through Friday (with the exception of some public holidays such as Christmas Day). Daily newspapers from Melbourne (Herald Sun and The Age) and Adelaide (The Advertiser) as well as national newspapers such as The Australian and The Australian Financial Review are also available in Mount Gambier and the southeast SA region. Some newspapers from nearby towns such as Millicent and Penola, specialty newspapers like the British International Express weekly newspaper, agricultural newspapers such as The Weekly Times newspaper from Victoria and The South Australian Stock Journal (published by Rural Press) and The Independent Weekly from Adelaide are also available from local newsagents.
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) – ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24 (digital channels)
- The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) – SBS One, SBS Two (digital channels)
- WIN Television (7, 9 & 10) as SES-8 – SES-8 relays the programming from Seven Network (Seven SA), Nine Network (WIN SA) & Network Ten (Ten SA).
- Austar – Subscription Television service Austar is also available via satellite.
WIN Television broadcasts Nine Network programming, Channel Seven broadcasts Seven Network programming & Channel Ten broadcasts Network Ten programming. The programming schedules for these channels is the same as Channel Nine, Channel Seven and Channel Ten in Adelaide, with local commercials inserted and some variations for coverage of Australian Football League or National Rugby League matches, state and national news and current affairs programs, some lifestyle and light entertainment shows and infomercials. As of February 2013, there are no local news programs for the Mount Gambier area since the closure of WIN Television's news operation.
On Friday 11 November 2011, WIN Television commenced transmission of the digital TV multi-channels ONE, Eleven, GO!, GEM (an acronym of General Entertainment and Movies), 7Two (an acronym of "72") and 7mate for Mount Gambier and the surrounding South East region of South Australia.
Due to the close proximity to the Victoria/South Australia state border, most people in Mount Gambier and some adjacent areas of southeast South Australia can receive television services from Western Victoria. These channels are broadcast from the Mount Dundas transmitter near the town of Cavendish, Victoria. The transmitter site is located approximately 100 kilometres northeast of Mount Gambier and broadcasts all the television channels from Western Victoria including Prime7 Television (AMV), WIN Television Victoria (VTV), Southern Cross Ten (BCV), the ABC and SBS Victorian services) as well as the digital free-to-air multi-channels that are also now available from the Mount Burr transmitter, north west of Mount Gambier.
- ABC South East SA (1476 AM)
- ABC Triple J (102.5 FM)
- ABC Radio National (103.3 FM)
- ABC Classic FM (104.1 FM)
- ABC NewsRadio (105.7 FM)
- Radio TAB
- 5SE (963 AM)
- Star FM (96.1 FM) hosted by jase & jess
- 5GTR FM (100.1 FM)
- LIME FM (104.9 FM) (Formerly Rhema FM)
Some ABC radio services can also be received from the nearby town of Naracoorte and from Western Victoria.
Arts and Culture 
The city's Civic Centre, situated around Cave Gardens is the hub of the city's arts, it includes the Riddoch Art Gallery, South Australia's major regional art gallery located in the adaptively reused old town hall complex. The complex was extended in 2011 to include "The Corner", a modern building which includes a theatre. Nearby is the public library and old post office.
Every year the town and the surrounding area, hosts nearly 3,000 young people for the Generations in Jazz Festival. Jazz artists like James Morrison, Daryl Somers, Ross Irwin, James Muller and Graeme Lyall travel to perform and adjudicate the stage band competition.
There is only one national sporting side which is the Mount Gambier Pioneers. The Pioneers entered the South Eastern Basketball League in 1988 and currently play in the SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League). The Pioneers play at the Icehouse (Mount Gambier Basketball Stadium) which seats over 1,000 people and is also home to the Mount Gambier Basketball Association. The Pioneers have had one championship which occurred in 2003, the side was rated second in the top 5 sides to have ever played in the league by a group of special selectors. In 2012 the current New President Neal Boase, New Head Coach Richard Hill and Club Captain Dallas Jefree will lead the team into its 25th season in the SEABL, with two new imports Bryant McAllister and Paul Davis. The Mount Gambier Pioneers have commenced pre-season training for their 25th season in the South East Australian Basketball League, with anniversary celebration preparations well under way.
There are four Australian rules football teams competing in the Western Border Football League: North Gambier, East Gambier, South Gambier and West Gambier. They have produced such AFL players as Nick Daffy and Matthew Clarke.
There is also a range of different sporting leagues and clubs in Mount Gambier and surrounding regions, including soccer, netball, basketball, tennis, hockey, cricket, swimming, cycling, triathlon, rifle, gun and pistol shooting and golf.
Motor sport is also popular, with the main facility being McNamara Park.
Mount Gambier is the home of "The Alex Roberts 100 Mile Classic", a cycling event that lays claim to the longest continuing open cycling event in South Australia. The event held annually by the Mount Gambier Cycling and Triathlon Club.
Mount Gambier Gift 
The 120m Mount Gambier Gift held annually on the first Saturday in December at Vansittart Oval is the 2nd richest professional footrace in South Australia. Resurrected in 2001 the athletic carnival includes races from 70m to 1600m and attracts athletes from all over Australia, mostly from South Australia and Victoria. Of the eleven Mount Gambier athletic carnivals held to date, three Victorians have won the 120 m Gift. On 3 December 2011, 21-year-old Wallace Long-Scafidi won the Gift for the second year in a row.
- 2011 Wallace Long-Scafidi (SA)
- 2010 Wallace Long-Scafidi (SA)
- 2009 Shaun Hargreaves (Vic)
- 2008 Aaron Rouge-Serrett (Vic)
- 2007 Dale Woodhams (SA)
- 2006 Keith Sheehy (SA)
- 2005 Keith Sheehy (SA)
- 2004 Andrew Steele (SA)
- 2003 Chris Burckhardt (SA)
- 2002 Matthew Callard (Vic)
- 2001 Shane McKenzie (SA)
Notable persons 
- Kasey Chambers (born there in 1976)
- Dave Graney (born there in 1959 and lived there until 1978)
- Robert Helpmann
- Destin Sparks
Council Chamber in the Civic Centre at 10 Watson Terrace, Mount Gambier is the seat of local government for the City of Mount Gambier. The council was created in 1932 when the District Council of Mount Gambier West and District Council of Mount Gambier East merged to become the District Council of Mount Gambier which was later proclaimed a city in 9 December 1954. The city consists of a mayor and ten councillors, elected equally from the East and West wards once every four years by postal voting. As of November 2007[update], the Mayor of Mount Gambier council is Steve Perryman. The local government area is situated entirely within the District Council of Grant and due to the city's growth there have been ongoing talks of amalgamation, the most recent boundary changes taking place in 2010.
Law and Order is maintained through the Mount Gambier Police Station, the city's only police station, while a County Court operates out of Mount Gambier Magistrates Court, in addition Mount Gambier Prison provides the penal service.
In federal politics, Mount Gambier is located in a single House of Representatives division—the Division of Barker which has been represented by Patrick Secker since 1998. It is a safe Liberal Party of Australia seat.
The city has a major regional hospital, Mount Gambier Hospital out of which operates the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service. Additionally there are a number of private health services including the Mount Gambier Private Hospital.
The city's main catchment is the Blue Lake, the volcano lake is both a tourist attraction and the city's main reservoir. Water supply, sewage collection and disposal are provided by South East Catchment Water Management Board.
Mount Gambier sits on a number of highways which connect the city to other major towns in the region, as well as to Adelaide and Melbourne.
- Princes Highway (Jubilee Highway) travels through the city east to west.
- Riddoch Highway (Penola / Bay Road) travels through the city north to south.
Before conversion of the Melbourne-Adelaide railway to standard gauge in 1995, Mount Gambier was connected to Adelaide on the broad gauge network via Naracoorte, Bordertown and Tailem Bend. Normal commercial passenger services to Adelaide ceased in 1990, while limited freight services operated until the line was disconnected from the national network.
The Limestone Coast Railway, operated tourist services on the abandoned lines from Mount Gambier to Penola and Coonawarra for a number of years with retired suburban railcars. However due to increased insurance costs they were forced to cease services in 2006.
Mount Gambier Airport is located a few kilometres north of the city via the Riddoch Highway. The city is served only by Regional Express, which flies Saab 340 aircraft to Adelaide and Melbourne a number of times a day.
The airport was once the main base of O'Connor Airlines, which also flew to Adelaide and Melbourne. However the company ceased trading in December 2007.
Premier Stateliner operates to Mount Gambier from Adelaide. One Daily service operates via Kingston SE and Millicent, while another Daily service operates via Keith and Naracoorte. Vline operates a daily interstate coach service from Mount Gambier to Warnambool, with an interchange at Warnambool for a rail service to Melbourne.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Mount Gambier (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
- Australia Post – Postcode: Mount Gambier, SA (25 June 2008)
- Australia Post – Postcode: Mount Gambier West, Mount Gambier East, SA (25 June 2008)
- "Other information". Place Names Online. Government of South Australia Land Services Group. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2006-10-22.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 2008-04-11
- smh.com.au – Travel / Mount Gambier(28 June 2008)
- Climate of Mt Gambier. bom.gov.au
- "BOM – Mt. Gambier climate".
- Radford, Anthony J. (1981). "Community Action: A Rural Survey and Its Outcome". In Howe, Anna b. Towards an older Australia: Readings in Social Gerontology. St Lucia, QLD: University of Queensland Press. pp. 196–204. ISBN 0-7022-1534-1.
- 2006 Census Table : Mount Gambier (C) (Statistical Local Area). Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- 2006 Census Table : Mount Gambier (C) (Statistical Local Area). Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- Mount Gambier Tourism. Mount Gambier Tourism. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- Get ready for multichannels in regional SA. wintv.com.au
- "Rhema FM Live" (104.9 FM): http://www.rhemafmlive.com.au/ and http://www.rhemafmlive.com.au/content/what-is-rhema-fm-live.php
- Mount Gambier Cycling and Triathlon Club. Mgcatc.com. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- Mount Gambier Golf Club. Mtgambiergc.com.au. Retrieved on 2012-06-27.
- "Long-Scafidi wins best gift in history". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Authority). 6 December 2010.
- Sams, Christine (18 October 2009). "Kasey tunes up to become queen of the kids". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- McFarlane, Ian (2004) . "Encyclopedia entry for 'Dave Graney 'n' the Coral Snakes'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2010. Note: [On-line] version updated from 1999 book.
- Sexton, Christopher. "Helpmann, Sir Robert Murray (1909–1986)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- Kelly-Bakker, Georgia (March 07, 2013). "Former Mount Gambier man’s impulsive act leads to amazing career". The Border Watch. pp. 9 – 10.
- "Vline – Rail & Coach Timetables – Interstate Journeys". Retrieved 2009-06-20.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Mount Gambier.|