Penwortham was founded on 5th November in1839 by John Ainsworth Horrocks. Horrocks arrived in Adelaide on his 21st birthday of that year and ventured north on the advice of Edward John Eyre. He settled in a fertile well watered area which he named Penwortham after his hometown in Lancashire, England. At the time this small village was the first significant European settlement north of Gawler.
Horrocks was a dedicated explorer and he was injured on an expedition North of Port Augusta when his camel lurched and caused his gun to discharge. He died three days after returning to Penwortham and was buried at the secluded St Marks Church. Today you can visit his cottage and gravesite in Penwortham.