Semaphore is a north-western seaside suburb of Adelaide of the LeFevre Peninsula, 14 km (8.4 mi) from the CBD, in the Australian state of South Australia, and is part of the City of Port Adelaide Enfield. It is adjacent to Semaphore South, Glanville, Exeter and Largs Bay. The postcode for Semaphore is 5019. It is bounded to the north by Union and Hargrave Streets, to the south by Hart Street, to the west by Gulf St Vincent and to the east by Woolnough Road and Swan Terrace. Semaphore is primarily a residential suburb, although its seaside location makes it a popular local tourist destination, with numerous restaurants, takeaway food outlets and other tourism-oriented businesses.
The Semaphore jetty, which was completed in 1860, once stood at 652 m (2,150 ft) in length, but today is 585 m (1,930 ft). It overlooks the Fort Glanville steam train, which operates as a heritage item by the National Railway Museum. A World War I memorial clock was built in 1925 at the landward end of the jetty. In 1928, a merry-go-round, the largest in Australia, was constructed, driven by an electrical lift motor and gearbox, unlike the predominantly steam-driven machines of the era. An octagonal brick tower with two metre thick walls was erected in Blackler Street in 1880 to maintain a water supply when the Jervois bridge had to be raised for passing ships. It was in use until 1972 after which it was converted into a residence. The birthplace of Sir Ross Smith, the aviator who flew from the United Kingdom to Australia is preserved to this day, at 36 Newman Street.
Semaphore's beach is the busiest of those on the LeFevre Peninsula, as it is the most convenient beach to people living in the northern suburbs of metropolitan Adelaide. There are large car parks on the foreshore to accommodate visitors. During weekends of the summer months the beach is patrolled by the Semaphore Surf Life Saving club, with the swimming flags often being placed 50m south of the jetty or outside the club at Point Malcolm (1.5 km south of the jetty).
The beach is wide, with a large amount of wide sand. The surf is low and good for swimming, but surfing is generally not possible. Sandbars extend out a considerable distance, with holes, troughs and channels in the bars creating the major safety hazard on a generally safe beach. Other substantial hazards on the beach are jumping from the jetty (the depth of the water under the jetty varies considerably during the day and between visits) and non-swimmers climbing on the groyne at Semaphore South finding themselves cut off from land by a rising tide. Both activities are illegal, which is pointed out by warding signs; nevertheless, both activities have claimed lives in past years.
Walking along the historic jetty is popular and the jetty is the focus of cultural events, such as the annual Kite Festival and Greek Festival.
The local public primary school is LeFevre Primary School in the neighbouring suburb of Birkenhead. The local high school is LeFevre High School in the neighbouring suburb of Semaphore South. The only school located in Semaphore is Dominican Primary School, a private school run by the Catholic Education Office. Another nearby faith-based private school is Portside Christian College in neighbouring Ethelton, a primary and secondary school.
Semaphore is served by a council library, and a small cinema, the Odeon Star. There is a rather large number of elderly residents in the area, as evident from the four nursing homes in the suburb.
Semaphore Road contains a large number of retail stores. Some are aimed at the large number of summer visitors, with a large range of food vendors, clothing boutiques and gift retailers. Residents appreciate a butcher, bakery, fruit shop, post office, gym, newsagency, supermarkets, chemists and hairdressers. Semaphore also caters to the seaside attraction during the summer months, with Fish and Chips, Ice Cream, Coffee shops, a public playground that was redone in 2014, and the Semaphore Water slide Amusement Park, there is no wonder Semaphore Road was voted the People's Choice Award for best main street in South Australia for 2014.