Matthew Flinders on his voyage in the Investigator, anchored in Fowlers Bay on 28 January 1802. He went on to explore the coast and named Denial Bay, Smoky Bay and the islands of Nuyts Archipelago. He was disappointed to find no river and gave the name Denial Bay because they did not find fresh water. French expedition leader Nicolas Baudin discovered Murat Bay after meeting with Flinders and named it after Joachim Murat. He also named the point of Thevenard after the Admiral and Minister of Marine Antoine-Jean-Marie Thevenard, and Decres Bay after Denis Decres, duke of the First French Empire
There was a whaling station on nearby St Peter Island during the 1850s before settlement.
The Commissioner of Crown Lands, faced with widespread agitation to open West Coast lands for agricultural settlement, invited three farmers in July 1887 to inspect the lands between Streaky Bay and Western Australia. They were optimistic about the area and recommended that the necessary surveys be started at once. In 1889 the Government in Adelaide formalised the Far West with survey lines.
In June 1901, the town of Ceduna was proclaimed. For many years, locals called the township Murat Bay and it was not until the railways came and called the siding Ceduna in 1915 that locals adopted the name. The Ceduna Jetty was built in 1902.
The Tod Water pipeline was officially opened by Mr M McIntosh, Commissioner of Public Works, June 1928.
Ceduna was the site of a major satellite telecommunications facility operated by the Overseas Telecommunications Commission. It was a major employer in the town until made redundant by technological change. It was built in 1969 and by 1984 almost half of Australia's International telecommunication traffic passed through Ceduna's Earth Station.
On 4 December 2002, Ceduna received international attention when the path of totality of a solar eclipse passed directly over the town. Though the day had at times been partly cloudy, and although mere kilometres away in Thevenard the view was still clouded over, the southwestern sky where the Sun and Moon were located was clear from Ceduna itself at the time of the total solar eclipse, late in the afternoon.
The word Ceduna is believed to have come from the Aboriginal word Cheedoona which means “a place to rest.” Ceduna is the major centre to a large and diverse business and industry sector on the Far West Coast of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. It is the established focal point of a wide range of services. The Eyre Highway or National Highway One passes directly through Ceduna with approximately 240,000 tourists passing through the town annually (Centre of Economic Studies 2001.)
The District Council of Ceduna is the most western Local Government area of South Australia, being one of the most isolated and remote Councils of the State. The town of Ceduna is located on the Far West Coast of South Australia, on the scenic shores of Murat Bay on the Great Australian Bight, 780 km by road from South Australia’s capital Adelaide and 1900 road kms to Perth.
A high level of economic growth has occurred in recent times through the tourism, aquaculture and mining industries. This has resulted in the demand for increased services, increased interest in land development and the creation of many new job opportunities.
Ceduna has a population of 3,480 people as at 2011 (ABS.) A high proportion of this number of people live in Ceduna/Thevenard with the towns of Koonibba, Smoky Bay and Denial Bay having smaller populations within the Council’s boundary.
Ceduna has been described as having one of the most complex multi-cultural communities in the country (Nicholas Clarke & Associates May 1996) with many nationalities prominent in the town and immediate region.
Ceduna's reputation as the Far West Coast's major business, industry and service centre is expected to be enhanced with the continued redevelopment of major infrastructure in and around Ceduna.