Mannanarie is a rural locality in the Mid North region of South Australia, situated in the Northern Areas Council. It was established in April 2001, when boundaries were formalised for the "long established local name". It comprises most of the cadastral Hundred of Mannanarie, apart from a northern section which lies in Tarcowie and Yatina. The name stems from an Aboriginal word, "manangari", meaning "good string or cord", stemming from a local native plant useful for string making.
The area was originally the territory of the Ngadjuri people. It was taken up as a pastoral run (the Mannanarie Run) by European settlers in the 1850s, until it was subdivided when opened for selection in 1871. The Hundred of Mannanarie was gazetted on 20 July 1871. In 1872, the township site was described as being "innocent of houses", with one commentator stating "naturally at present the work of settlement is very incomplete and unfinished" although "signs of agricultural activity are multiplying all over the place". The dwellings at that stage were "for the most part only temporary, consisting of a few sheets of iron, a tarpaulin, a deserted hut, or some similar simple shelter". In the 1870s, much of the district focused on wheat production, shifting away from previous attempts at grazing.
A post office opened at Mannanarie in March 1874, and a Primitive Methodist church opened later the same year, with a store and private school also opening by 1875. A township was surveyed as a private subdivision in 1877. The Mannanarie Hotel was granted a license in 1879.