35°47' S, 137°50' E
Nicholas Baudin in Le Géographe is said to have anchored off
this area in January 1803 while waiting for a sister ship to
arrive. He made repairs, using the tall timbers growing here.
Captain Baudin’s girl, the 16 year old Mary Beckwith, came
ashore with working parties - the first white woman to set
foot on South Australian soil.
In due course this area became farmland, known as deep Creek
farm and owned by Bruce Bates of Penneshaw. In 1966 he sold it
to Dean Clark who immediately sold it to Clem Bessell. Clem
Bessell cleared the land, put up the first house (corner
Leander and Ash streets), gained approval for a subdivision,
put down a primitive boatramp, and named the area American
Beach Estate - for promotional purposes. The name was never
In 1970 the second house was erected, by John and Marian
Battye at 120 Bessell drive. They came from a small shop in
Seaton because John wanted to go fishing. John helped improve
In 1972 Justin Herman and Tom Ryan built two shacks at 303 and
205 Government Road while working in the Middle River dam.
In 1973 Sabel’s A-frame at 41 Collins Crescent was added.
Slowly more homes appeared.
No one knows any detail about "Crabby Jack" who had a small
stone hut on the point behind the big sand hill, and used
three poles for fixing his nets (still standing strongly).
In 2004 the area numbers approximately 65 dwellings, 79
permanent residents and a large contingent of holiday people.
The first meeting of the local Progress Association was held
on 8th January 1995, after preliminary planning by Des Gill
and Dudley James. Thirty-two people were present, with another
20 sending apologies and registering postal votes. The first
committee was John Sabel (Chair), Des Gill (Vice Chair), Lynn
Martain (Secretary), Dudley James and Ian Hayes (Committee).
In the decade since the Progress Association has added three
walkways (assisted by Coastcare grants), a breakwater,
boatramp and a metal walkway, purchased from ballast Head, a
shelter shed, seats and tables, and planted hundreds of trees.
Council provided help with early reconstruction of the
breakwater after a severe storm ($ 12 000.00), and has
gradually increased assistance.
In January 2003 the name Baudin Beach was officially gazetted
and proclaimed, this area was declared a town, and Mary
Beckwith memorial sculpture was dedicated (Deb Sleeman
Bessell Drive is exceptionally wide because originally it
boasted a medium strip of local trees.
In 2004 Bessell Drive was bituminised.