is a small town situated on the north-east coast of Kangaroo Island,
South Australia about 39Km as the road runs from the ferry terminal
at Penneshaw and 42Km from the island's capital - Kingscote. It
abuts the waters of Eastern Cove at the north end of Pelican Lagoon
and has a population of 227 (2006 census).
is not American and does not have a river! It is supposedly named
for a group of American sealers who encamped here in the summer
of 1803-4 and built a 30 ton vessel which they named "Independence"
during their stay. The area where the vessel was purportedly constructed
is now named Independence Point and is at the north end of Pelican
Lagoon. Pelican Lagoon is actually an inlet from the sea and at
this point is fairly narrow and does resemble a river especially
when the tide is flowing strongly.
itself was named because of the many pelicans in the area by the
British explorer Matthew Flinders who arrived here on 20 March 1802.
He commanded HMS Investigator which had left England the previous
July with orders to 'make a thorough survey of the Australian coastline'.
He also named Kangaroo Island in gratitude for the large amount
of kangaroo meat which his crew was able to obtain. Click here
for more information on Matthew Flinders and his voyages.
The first permanent
settler is commonly regarded as John Buick who was of Scottish descent
and, together with his wife Frances, built the first house here
in 1854 on land now occupied by the American River Health Centre.
A plaque on its wall commemorates the building of the house. They
produced 16 children and the Buick name is still common on Kangaroo
tourism industry started in American River in 1895 when Nils Ryberg,
a Swedish immigrant who arrived in 1884, built and opened Ryberg
House. Although no longer visible, this property is today incorporated
in the structure of Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge on Scenic Drive.
As well as
the 216 (2011 census) humans who are privileged to live here, American
River is home to many varieties of birdlife including the statistically
endangered but here commonly seen glossy black cockatoo, pelicans,
ibis and black swans to name but a few. Each evening, the local
wallabies take over and can be seen feeding and hopping around many
streets. And if you look around you'll see echidnas, goannas and
For more information
on what the town has to offer to both visitors and potential residents,
please click on the buttons on the left.
the historical information given above is taken from the book "Birth
of American River" by the late Charles Thomas. Copies available
at retail outlets in American River.