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Published October 26th 2015
There's so much to do at this beach
Located just 90km from Adelaide and sheltered in a valley amongst farming lands is one of Adelaide's smallest yet most significant beaches. Second Valley, that sleepy hamlet of the south, has a history dating back to 1836, and on our recent trip south we stopped in to learn all about this beach.
So the story goes, Colonel William Light was sent from England to locate a place which was to be the capital city of the new state of South Australia. After bypassing the beautiful Port Lincoln, Light made his way across to the Fleurieu. Rapid Bay was his first stop, a place he named after his ship, and Second Valley was his second stop, a place he named quite simply because it was the second valley he had seen on the Peninsula.
Keen to build on this inauspicious start, Second Valley had a second attempt at fame when it claimed the birth of the first white girl in South Australia, a child by the name of Fanny Finniss. Fanny's father was Boyle Travers Finnis, a man whose legacy is left all over the Fleurieu Peninsula and Marion Village, and whom also became the first Premier of South Australia.
In its early days, Second Valley was a town of two halves, one half living up the hill and near the creek, with the other half being snuggled out of the wind and alongside the coast. In the early days Finniss Vale was considered as a suitable name for the town, before this debate briefly changed to Randalsea following William Randall's large land purchases and buildings, but neither name gained much traction.
Second Valley it was to be, and by the 1850's a jetty was needed. Many years later, a huddle of boatsheds followed across the rocky point where fishermen would store their equipment away from the wild weathers which often struck the Peninsula. A combination of progress and risk management has seen the sheds long since demolished with a rusting old winch being the last reminder of these glorious fishing days.
Over time, and following a storm the original jetty was replaced, but the large seawall and causeway that was constructed from 1855 to act as a breakwater and also a path to access the jetty remained. Today the seawall is on the State Heritage Register with its 1855 stonework and 1910 jetty representing a link to South Australia's early maritime, agricultural, industrial and mining heritage.
It is now many years on and the fishermen and boats of the past have given way to a new series of holiday makers and daytrippers all enjoying this great beach. A 360 degree panoramic view is enhanced with scenes of cattle on the hillside, weekenders with views up the cliff-line, campers in the Caravan Park, geological rock formations, a bunch of kids on the beach having fun and if you are lucky some glimpses of Kangaroo Island in the distance.
And after a particular energetic conversation at the local Leonard's Mill Restaurant, the re-naming of the town to Finniss Vale or Randalsea gets another run as locals attempt to distance themselves from being that 'second' valley. But regular visitors to this little bay and jetty realise that coming second is not all that bad - in fact it manages to keep this gem of a beach a bit more secretive for just that little bit longer.
Steve as Mr.Magoo would have said :Oh!you've done it again.As always lots of historical information backed up by excellent photography.This is perhaps my favourite spot along this part of the coast...some say a bit like a Cornish Cove.It also boasts a very shady caravan park and a kiosk and toilets by the jetty.Popular for fishing,but leather jackets seem to be the main catch here.Not much space for picnicking though!