The first recorded European settlement in the area occurred in 1843, when a John White took up land a few kilometres west of the present site of Lucindale. Further settlement proceeded at a slow pace because of the wet and swampy nature of much of the country: travellers in the early days reported huge areas of inundated land and of wading through mile after mile of deep water. Most of the holdings were large in the earliest years of settlement.
The first drains, constructed late in the nineteenth century, opened up much more land, but still development in the region was slow. Notwithstanding, the local residents requested and were granted Local Government with the District of Lucindale being proclaimed on 28 February 1878. The original area consisted of only one Hundred, but it was progressively enlarged over the years to contain seven Hundreds: Coles, Conmurra, Fox, Joyce, Spence, Townsend and Woolmboo - each a Ward of the District.
There was a total Council representation of eight members, one Councillor to each ward, the eighth Ward being that of Lucindale Town with the implementation of the War Service Land Settlement Scheme after the Second World War resulting in the rapid development of the District.
The construction of drains, and modern management techniques, made the land very productive. A comprehensive drainage system operated by the South Eastern Drainage Board drained water to the sea and largely overcame the problem of flooding, although the countryside still became very wet during the winter months when most of the rainfall was received.
The soils in the District were naturally poor due to a lack of minerals and carried little in the way of stock feed, while large areas were covered with thick scrub and timber. Suitable chemical fertilizers containing trace elements rectified the poverty of the soils, while modern machinery easily cleared the natural bush to make way for permanent pastures.
The greater part of the area was now being utilized, and there was little prospect of significant growth in the foreseeable future – apart, perhaps, from changes in land usage.
During the post-war period the township of Lucindale, too, grew in size and importance. Virtually all the amenities and most of the roads were constructed at this time.
Many of the facilities now enjoyed by residents of the District have been provided by the Council, either alone or in joint financial arrangements with the State Government and the community.
The District is subject to bushfires, and so the Council has provided nine firefighting units, three of which are based at Lucindale and the remainder at strategic locations throughout the area. The main Fire Station and control centre is located at Lucindale.
There is a very strong community spirit in Lucindale, and the people have shown a willingness to work together for their town and district.
Features, resources and facilities of the Council area:
THE LAND AND ITS USES:
The District is situated almost exactly in the centre of the South East statistical area. The township of Lucindale itself is 42 kilometres west of Naracoorte and 50 kilometres from the coast. The land is mostly flat, but is interspersed with low, parallel ranges of hills running generally north and south, a topography which resulted in the area’s extreme wetness in its natural state – a condition now largely corrected by drainage.
The average annual rainfall in Lucindale is 600 millimetres, and droughts (by Australian standards) are almost unknown.
The total area of the District of Lucindale is 2363.4 square kilometres. Two areas totalling 33.5 square kilometres have been preserved in their natural state as National Parks, and a small bushwalking area has been set aside near Lucindale.
The only town in the District is Lucindale, which, because of is central location, is ideally situated as the service, social and administrative centre.
The population at the end of the Second World War was approximately 350, and in 1985 was in excess of 1700. Of these, some 400 lived in the township of Lucindale.
Primary industries have flourished in recent decades because of the reliable rainfall and the increased fertility of the land. An abundance of underground water – in both artesian and shallow aquifers – has made irrigation possible during the summer months. Large areas are sown with permanent pastures which carries large numbers of stock.
The main primary industries are sheep farming (for wool and meat), raising beef cattle and growing oilseeds. Many holdings run stud stock, and this practice is reflected in the quality of the wool grown, which consistently gains top prices at auctions. Fodder crops such as lupins are grown quite extensively.
Primary industries and its supporting services occupy the majority of the population.
SECONDARY INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE:
There are no secondary industries in he District, and commerce is restricted to business servicing primary industry and electrical, hardware and mixed businesses.
The leading stock and station agents are strongly represented.
The Lucindale Area School provides a general education from preparatory classes through to Year 12.
The Balharry Memorial Kindergarten caters for pre-school children.
A joint venture agreement with the South Australian Housing Trust has made possible the erection of the Harry Tregoweth Memorial Court retirement homes on Council-owned land in Lucindale. The first three units were occupied in October 1984, on a rental basis.
An ambulance service, staffed by trained volunteers and operating as part of the St John Ambulance Service, is based in Lucindale. The service has a fully-equipped ambulance unit and its own building complex.
The Anglican, Catholic and Uniting churches all had their own church facilities in Lucindale.
Apart from the two National Parks, which are almost inaccessible to the public, there are no outstanding tourist attractions. However, the countryside is extremely attractive, and, especially south of Lucindale, there are magnificent gum trees. Wildlife such as kangaroos, emus, water birds, and smaller birds still abound, and can be readily seen by the interested observer.
Travellers and tourists can be accommodated at the one hotel in Lucindale or at the caravan park located in the Lucindale recreation reserve on the outskirts of the town.
FESTIVALS AND OTHER COMMUNITY EVENTS:
As a result of the efforts of the Lions Club of Lucindale, the South East Field Days is the biggest event of its type in the South East. It's held annually over two days in March at Yakka Park, Lucindale.
The Lucindale Show is usually held on the second Saturday in March.
Facilities are available for playing a number of sports. A turf arena for playing cricket and football, and a combined turf softball diamond/hockey ground, are located in the Lucindale recreation reserve. Both areas are watered by an automatic irrigation system and are controlled by the Council.
The Lucindale War Memorial Bowling Club plays on 14 greens located in parkland adjacent to Lucindale, and a permanently-irrigated 18-hole golf course and 12 lawn tennis courts are operated by the Lucindale Country Club on a site some 3 kilometres from Lucindale.
A mixed tennis tournament is held every Easter, and a number of golf tournaments held through the year.
The Lucindale Area School has its own turf oval and bitumen tennis court, the latter being leased from the Council. A general purpose hall in the school grounds was financed as a joint ventured by the State Government, the Council, and the local community, and outside of school hours, this is used by the community for playing basketball, volleyball and other sports.
Netball courts are provided in the recreation reserve and in the school grounds.
Sport is very popular in the District, and attracts large numbers of regular participants.
No passenger rail or bus services operate in the area. The bulk of the freight is now moved by road transport.