East Torrens Historical Society Inc.

Governors Residence at Marble Hill

The East Torrens Historical Society is based at Norton Summit, in the Adelaide Hills, part of the Mt. Lofty Ranges, east of the city of Adelaide, in South Australia.

The Objectives of the Society are:-


To arouse interest in and to promote the study and discussion of Australian   and South Australian history and, in particular, the history of the former District Council of East Torrens.


To promote the collection, recording, preservation and classification of works, source material and artefacts  of all kinds relating to the former East Torrens district council area.


To assist in the protection and preservation of buildings, works and sites of historical significance in the former District Council East Torrens. To co-operate with similar Societies and other bodies throughout Australia.

History of the District Council of East Torrens

The District Council of East Torrens was a local government council of South Australia from 1853 to 1997.

Present local government in the original East Torrens council area includes the City of Norwood Payneham and St Peters, the City of Burnside, the City of Campbelltown and the Adelaide Hills Council.

It was gazetted on 2 June 1853, on the same day as Onkaparinga and Hindmarsh. Local government had only been introduced in South Australia in 1852, and only the City of Adelaide (1852) and District Council of Mitcham (12 May 1853) had been created earlier.

At the time of establishment the East Torrens council covered 12 square miles (31 km2) including almost half of the Hundred of Adelaide and a large western portion of the Hundred of Onkaparinga. Excepting the six sections of the Hundred of Adelaide that would constitute the Town of Norwood and Kensington days later, the East Torrens council was bounded by the River Torrens to the north, the Adelaide Parklands to the west, the Great Eastern Road (now the South Eastern Freeway) to the south, and included most of the modern Adelaide Hills localities of Mount George, Carey Gully, Forest Range, Montacute and Castambul on the eastern boundary.

In 1855 the population of the council area was 3,705, higher by a thousand than the adjacent Town of Kensington and Norwood.

The huge area of East Torrens was not to prove as stable as Kensington and Norwood. Ratepayers were frustrated as to where their money was going; councillors did not have the administration or funds to operate effectively and the interests of the area were hugely varied. On 14 August 1856, the district councils of Payneham and Burnside were separated, respectively, from the north-west and south-west, city-side parts of East Torrens. East Torrens council was further divided in 1858 with the secession of the District Council of Crafers. The original East Torrens council had broken up into eight separate councils or partial councils (including the remainder East Torrens itself) by 1930. Apart from St Peters, Payneham, Campbelltown, Burnside and Crafers, parts of the rural district councils of Onkaparinga and Talunga had annexed parts of East Torrens. The main population centre at the heart of the remaining area was Norton Summit which was host to council meetings from 1897 and had become the official seat of the council by 1903.

The District Council of East Torrens, though drastically reduced in size by the 1930s, existed until 1997, when it amalgamated with the District Council of Gumeracha, the District Council of Onkaparinga and the District Council of Stirling to form the Adelaide Hills Council.

(Courtesy Wikipedia)