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51  Slant
BAUDIN BEACH

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 gazetted.

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 the boatramp.

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 sculptor).

Bessell Drive is exceptionally wide because originally it boasted a medium strip of local trees.

In 2004 Bessell Drive was bituminised.

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