Published on 21 December 2021

Our top stories of 2021

The unprecedented times keep on coming, with 2021 serving up another year of constant, pandemic-fuelled change.

Onkaparinga Now hasn’t been immune from shake-ups, with our revamped magazine (now distributed with rates notices) and website combining for a record year of page views and new readers.

We’re grateful to each and every one of you for stopping by the site this year, as we reflect on the 10 most popular stories as clicked by our readers.

1. Happy Valley Reservoir opening to the public on 11 December

The state government’s opening of Happy Valley Reservoir for public recreation was always going to be welcome news—11 December marked the first time the community had been allowed to kayak, fish, picnic, ride and run inside for more than 120 years. What we didn’t know, was just how popular the news would be, with clicks on our 27 September story almost doubling that of our next most-read. Clearly, if there’s one thing Onkaparingans love, it’s a stunning body of water surrounded by trails and dreamy picnic spots. Council has just completed the Happy Valley Drive Trail nearby too, increasing active recreation opportunities in the area even further.

2. Milestone for much-loved jetty

The Port Noarlunga jetty turned 100 this year and our story on its history, featuring black-and-white photos of the iconic structure from decades past, was a hit on Facebook, with thousands of readers clicking through to learn more.

3. The Corpe family of Fan Court

A story on another Port Noarlunga landmark rounds out our top three most popular stories, with this piece on “that huge white house on the Esplanade” attracting a ton of clicks. This one seemed to satisfy the curiosity of lots of readers on social media, who—like us—told us they’d been driving past the house for years, but knew nothing of its history.

4. Onkaparinga Summer is back

Everyone loves a good pop-up event, and when you pair them with some of the state’s finest beaches, it’s a recipe for success. Case in point—council’s Onkaparinga Summer program, which kicked off in October and will be pleasing sun-loving punters with food, drinks, art, cinema, fitness and more until March.

5. JettyFest100

Port Noarlunga jetty’s 100th birthday was celebrated with a three-day festival earlier this month, organised by the Port Noarlunga Business and Tourism Association and supported by the City of Onkaparinga. If this story confirms anything, it’s that our readers love a good party.

6. Christmas in Onkaparinga

The City of Onkaparinga Christmas Pageant didn’t go ahead in 2021 for the second year running due to COVID-19, but council’s Twilight Christmas Fair at Christies Beach (featuring a visit by Santa himself) and a host of smaller events have kept the Christmas spirit alive down south. Revisit the story if you want to find out where to experience the city’s best Christmas light displays, or you’re stuck for last-minute Christmas gift ideas.

7. Hopgood Theatre saved!

Speaking of gifts, the announcement that the Hopgood Theatre’s future has been secured received a huge response from the community last week. The multi-million-dollar deal struck between the City of Onkaparinga and state government will see the Noarlunga theatre refurbished and upgraded to ensure it’ll serve the community for decades to come, with Mayor Erin Thompson calling it a huge win for Onkaparinga and the entire state.

8. SA's largest household recycling facility opens in Onkaparinga

Onkaparinga residents are a green, environmentally friendly bunch, so it’s no surprise the opening of SA’s largest household recyclables facility in Seaford Heights struck a chord. Known as the “SMRF” (Southern Materials Recovery Facility), the high-tech facility is now processing the yellow-bin recycling of more than 360,000 residents across Southern Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, bringing the City of Onkaparinga one step closer to achieving its vision for a recycling circular economy.

9. Responding to rising seas in Onkaparinga

Sea level rise is one of the most complex and pressing issues of our time, but thankfully the City of Onkaparinga is getting on the front foot in understanding its impacts across our coastline. Council released its Coastal Adaptation Study and a range of fact sheets to the public earlier this year, which attracted a lot of interest. The next step will be for council to work with coastal experts to identify adaptation options, before coming back to the community to get your feedback.

10. Skate park now open at Morton Road Reserve

The long-awaited $3.5 million Morton Road Sports and Community Hub at Christie Downs was handed over to the community in October, with the facilities and the Roger Rasheed Sports Foundation’s free coaching and mentoring programs expected to change lives. But it was an earlier project milestone—the completion of the hub’s sprawling family-friendly skate park in March—that garnered even more page views on our website, with crowds of riders descending on the park every day since.

The year in review

Top to bottom: Kayaking is now allowed at the Happy Valley Reservoir; Port Noarlunga jetty turns 100; that white house in Port Noarlunga; Noarlunga's much-loved Hopgood Theatre; the "SMRF" in action; council is taking action to combat rising seas; and Morton Road Sports and Community Hub from above.

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Two kayakers paddle away from the camera in a still body of water.