Sometimes referred to as a "little Scotland in the Barossa Valley", the region is believed to have been named by James Smith, the secretary of George Fife Angas, after the town of Greenock at the mouth of the River Clyde in Scotland. The name Greenock literally means "sunny hill" and is derived from the Gaelic, Grain - meaning Sun, and Cnoc - which means Hill.
In 1846, one year before land for the present township was released, The Greenock Creek Mining Company proceeded to mine an area 5 kilometres south of where Greenock was to be established. However, mining ceased after a period of one year and it was four years before subdividing of the town's locality took place.
The township of Greenock was initially established from a subdivision of a parcel of land that belonged to the Bevan family, the original owners of the township land. The first portion of land was subsequently sold to Mr James Jackman of Gawler in September 1850 and was developed as the Greenock Arms Hotel.
The hotel became a significant relay station for district mail coaches and teamsters hauling primary produce from the Barossa Valley and copper from the Kapunda Mines.
Today, Greenock exudes "olde-worlde" charm, but don't be deceived, this town's community spirit is taking it forward.