Wanilla Community - A pictorial history
The Church & Hall
Wanilla is a small country town 36km north north west of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. The Tod Highway passes the township and the area is in the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council region.
The Wanilla area was pioneered in the late 1800’s, however attempts to farm the shallow sand and ironstone soil were unsuccessful.
Prior to these pioneers, the Aboriginal people of the Nawu nation traversed this land.
After the Second World War the State Government, with finance from the Federal Government, purchased the land and a War Service Land Settlement scheme was started.
The advances in agricultural science, in the fields of trace elements and the application of superphosphate, had made farming of the land possible.

From those days, in the late 1940’s a community was born.

There were many social and sporting events created by the pioneers of this early era, leaving a legacy of a community spirit and fertile and productive farmland that is a living asset to the nation and future generations.
This web site, attempts to record, some of that history.

This website project
The idea of creating a web site as a pictorial history of the Wanilla region started as a project for both Jack Bourke and Leanne O’Connor when they were participating in the “Strengthening EP” Leadership Program.
Their passion for their community has enabled this project to come to fruition with the help of many people.
In particular, Cathie Smith of WebQuarters, for her ability and genius in building a web site and Lyn McFarlane for her enthusiastic input.
NB The "Strengthening EP Leadership Program" was initiated by the Eyre Regional Development Board and Eyre Peninsula Natural Resource Management Board. A visionary program that goes by the statement “Together with passion, we inspire community”. For more information on the program, please contact us.
Errors or omissions
We welcome any contact from anyone who would like to contribute.

Please contact us.

Some general history about the town
Wanilla Store
When Sam Lang was not allotted a farm block he and his wife Betty decided to open the Wanilla Store.
As the photo indicates the Four Square Store had a humble beginning. Fresh bread came every Tuesday and Friday, the store was stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables and the school pupils were always keen to spend their pocket money on a wide array of "lollies". See a receipt.
Sam's Store was a family concern with daughters Penny and Josey assistanting. With agencies for Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank, fuel, CIC Insurance and Goldsborough Mort the shop became the hub of Wanilla.
A new larger store was built and later sold to Mr & Mrs Peter McAvaney in 1962.
The carriers were Mike and May O'Leary. The first engineers were George & Margaret Schneider.

- from Port Lincoln Times and / or various sources, provided by Lyn McFarlane.

The Post Office in 2009 is part of the Wanilla Hall

A community is built of friendships and support throughout the years.....
Ladies outside a new home
Ladies at the Wanilla oval
circa 1954
Friends catching up

Errors or omissions