is the second most populous city in South Australia with a population of 25,199 in the urban area, or 27,756 if associated peri-urban communities are included (2011 Census). The city is located on the slopes of Mount Gambier (volcano)Mt Gambier in the south east of the state, about 450 kilometres (280 mi) south-east of the capital Adelaide and just 17 kilometres (11 mi) from the Victorian border, it is the most important settlement in the Limestone Coast (Limestone Coast) region and the seat of government for both the City of Mount Gambier (Mt Gambier) and the District Council of Grant.
The peak of the inactive volcano was the first place in South Australia named by European explorers. It was sighted in 1800 by Lieutenant James Grant from the survey brig, HMS Lady Nelson, and named for Lord James Gambier, Admiral of the Fleet. The peak is marked by Centenary Tower, built in 1904 to commemorate the first sighting, and at 192 metres (630 ft) above sea level the landmark is the city's highest point.
The city is known for its geographical features, particularly its volcanic and limestone features, most notably its Blue Lake, parks and gardens, caves and sinkholes..
View north across Valley Lake and Marist Park to Mount Gambier CBD and eastern urban area from Centenary Tower
Hastings Cunningham founded "Gambierton" in 1854 by subdividing a block of 77 acres (31 ha). From 1861 to 1878 the Post Office was known by this name before reverting to Mount Gambier. Local government appeared in 1863 when Dr Wehl, who now owned a substantial millhouse on Commercial Road, was elected chairman of the District Council of Mount Gambier. In December 1864 this became the District Council of Mount Gambier West and, at the same time, a separate District Council of Mount Gambier East was formed.
Mt Gambier's urban area is located mainly along the northern slopes and plain of a maar volcano of the same name, Mount Gambier. Comprising several craters, it is part of the Newer Volcanics Province complex of volcanoes. One of these contains a huge lake of high-quality artesian drinking water which changes colour with the seasons. In winter, it is a steel grey and then changes to a spectacular cobalt blue in the summer, giving rise to its name,Blue Lake. This 70 metres (230 ft) deep lake also accommodates a range of unusual aquatic flora and fauna, in particular fields of large stromatolites. There are several other craters in the city including Valley Lake. The region surrounding the city also includes other volcanic features such as Mt Schank, along with many karst features such as water-filled caves and sinkholes.
The urban area extends outside of the City of Mt Gambier into the District Council of Grant where the following suburbs now exist:
The economy of Mount Gambier is driven by all three economic sectors, though it has emerged as a regional service economy with its main industry being the service industry and its key areas of business including tourism, hospitality, retail, professional services, government administration and education. The city's historic primary industry roots including mining, agriculture and forestry continue to play a key role as well as being a major road transport and trucking centre..
As a major service centre for the region, the city has several key retail districts including the CBD centred around Commercial Street. Mount Gambier Marketplace, opened in August 2012, is one of two major shopping centres in the city, the other being Centro Mount Gambier. Major department stores include Target, Big W, Kmart, and Harvey Norman. Additionally each of the major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, IGA are represented. Servicing the financial sector are branches of the big four Australian retail banks (National Australia Bank, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac) along with Bendigo Bank and St.George Bank and a number of smaller independent financial services firms.
The city's Civic Centre, situated around Cave Gardens is the hub of the city's arts, it includes the Riddoch Art Gallery, South Australia's major regional art gallery located in the adaptively reused old town hall complex. The complex was extended in 2011 to include "The Corner", a modern building which includes a theatre. Nearby is the public library and old post office.
There are six Reception to Year 7 (R-7) Primary schools:
There are two Reception to Year 12 (R-12) colleges:
There are two High Schools for Year 8 to 12: