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Allendale East

The Allendale area, including the area known as Kingsley, was surveyed in the early 1860s.  Due to the swamps in the District the early road went through what now is known as Kingsley, down to the lighthouse area west of Port MacDonnell.  It was not until the causeway was built through the swamp north of Port MacDonnell, that the town of Allendale East was founded and named after William Allen Crouch, an early landholder in the area.  A store and a post office operated for some years, although on a different site to the current store.  The Lee Family operated the Cheese Factory in the vicinity of the Kingsley School.

The Kingsley School was opened in 1867 and it is believed that several other private schools also operated including a Catholic school existed prior to this.  The Kingsley School closed when the current Allendale East Area School opened in 1953.

The hotel was built in 1862 and was the only hotel in the State to sell "beer by the pound".  (The stock pound was next door to the hotel).  Travellers from Mount Gambier or Port MacDonnell often stopped at the hotels to water not only horses or bullocks, but also the drivers.  The hotel was burnt down in 1920 and was not replaced as motor vehicles had shortened the travelling time.  

The township of Allendale East developed the need for social and spiritual development which led to churches being established and a Community Hall being built.  The Presbyterian Church was built in 1866.  The Methodist Church was built in 1876 with services, formerly held at the School until a major disagreement occurred with the Head School Teacher.  The Catholic Church was built in 1886.  It is believed a small wooden Catholic Chapel had existed previously.  The hall, a much-needed building in a growing community, was opened in 1910, and for all its life has been the centre for cards, dances, weddings, parties and many local social events.

With records lost during a devastating fire in 1959, it is difficult to say when the Soldiers Memorial Park was developed.  Later the Soldiers Memorial Archway was constructed to perpetuate the memory of those who died in battle.  Money for its construction was raised by public donations with many functions having the focus on fundraising.  The Allendale East Memorial Gates, located at the Memorial Park Archway opened in 1924.  The Memorial Park area was, for many years, the site for sport playing which was an important part in the Allendale East area.  The Cricket Club appears to have functioned from very early in 1900, and continues to provide enjoyment for many of the locals, with names like Kerr, Tibbles, Laslett, Thompson, Smith and Ashby still listed in teams. Tennis is still played competitively as well as socially.

Two landmarks of historical significance deserve mention.  The first is "Fig Tree Corner" that is located on Kingsley Road.  Until a few years ago, a large fig tree grew on the corner, although the figs were not edible.  This corner was the site set aside for the Railway Station when the railway line from Mount Gambier to Port MacDonnell was planned.  Although it was never built, the corner is still known to older residents as its history designated it to be.  The second well-known landmark is the Allendale East Sinkhole.  When the road was built from Mount Gambier to Port MacDonnell the surveyors did not avoid the sinkhole, but planned the road to go each side of the sinkhole.  Originally when horses and carts used the road to cart produce to and from Port MacDonnell, stock would use the cave as a watering place.  A wall of stone was built around the cave, a pump and trough was set up to provide water for horses and bullocks.  At least one person has been known to have been killed when they hit the wall while travelling the road through the Allendale East township.  Some years ago, it was decided by the State Roads Department to build the road over the sinkhole.  Many tons of stone was tipped into the sinkhole opening in an effort to have a solid foundation for the road to be built.  The Allendale East Sinkhole simply swallowed all ..... and left the sinkhole a gaping hole.  To this day, the road still divides around the Allendale East Sinkhole.  It is a very popular spot for cave divers nationally and internationally.  It should be noted that permits are essential to access the cave by members of the Cave Divers Association of Australia


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