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The indigenous Kaurna people knew this area as piraldi from pira (meaning moon, or shaven or bald) and ldi (meaning beyond).

Parts of the present-day suburb were previously known as Alta Cresta, Alta Mira, Belair Park, Blackwood Park, Crest Alta, Monalta Park, Nunyara, and Sleeps Hill.

Opinions differ as to the origin of the name Belair. One account has it that the name originates from 1849, after Eugene Bellairs, a Government surveyor who lived in the area.

Another account is that the suburb was named by Gustav Ludewigs and his wife Maria, who was born at Bel Air on the French-held island of Martinique (West Indies). The Ludewigs arrived in South Australia in 1849, and leased land in the area from 1855.

 See Belair Chronology Belair%20Chronology (5002 kb) brochure for more information