Swan Reach was first settled in the 1850s and was originally the largest of five sheep and cattle stations in the area. The place soon became one of the first riverboat ports in South Australia and was a loading port for grain and wool.
Swan Reach has an area school, hotel and bottle shop, general store and post office, an 'Op Shop' that opens in the Town Hall on Wednesdays and Fridays, and a 'fast food' Take-Away shop near the ferry. There is a Lutheran church, with regular services, and a Lutheran pastor in residence. Anglican and Roman Catholic services are held monthly.
Swan Reach is not for most travelers a destination centre. There is a bit going for the town, but a diversion to visit is not warranted.