Andrew Harriott had arrived in the Moana area by 1841 and had established Dalkeith farm, just south of the Horseshoe, or Old Noarlunga as it became known. By 1867, Harriott’s farming had been so successful that he had purchased Sections 347, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357 and 360. A creek nearby his property was named after him, the name later altered to that of another local pioneer family, Pedler. Thomas Pedler had purchased Sections 109, 356 and 358 Hundred of Willunga by 1850 and built a homestead. After Andrew Harriott’s death his widow, Margaret, held the land under the trusteeship of Thomas Dodd. Dodd lent his name to the beach that is now known as Moana and it became known locally as Dodd’s Beach. In 1855, this Beach was the site of the wreck of the Nashwauk.
The hinterland of Moana was primarily farmed until, in 1927–1928, the Lake Beach Estate Ltd subdivided land there. This company brought prospective purchasers to the site by specially chartered train and boasted that their town had been subdivided under the 'latest town planning principles allowing wide streets [and] spacious reserves for recreation … from every block a glamorous panoramic view of seaside and country is enjoyed’. It was from this development that Moana gained its name. The developers originally chose Boona Boona Beach as the place name, but had it changed to Moana – supposedly a Maori word meaning ‘blue sea’.
Apparently, with the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, the blocks did not sell well. One person who came to the place in 1938 recalls that at that time Moana was little more than a couple of holiday homes, a guest house, a kiosk and a shop. The view was virtually unrestricted from Port Noarlunga to Maslin Beach.
The growth of tourism brought a rush of development during the 1950s and 1960s and endangered the sand dune complex along the foreshore. The actions of the Southern Districts Environment Group, interested individuals and organisations preserved these dunes.