APART FRON SEEING THE WINERIES it is also good to see some of the small towns that are located close to the wineries, and there are also bike trials that you can follow under different names like ‘The Riesling Trail’, ‘The Rattler Trail’ and other names –
Visitor Centres are full of information, maps, brochures and advice from the locals who manage the centres –
These are just some of the small towns that you might visit, but there are also many others -
- Hahndorf – has a number of stone buildings in and around the main street, dating back to 1839 with small boutiques, cafes and restaurants making it one of South Australia’s favourite villages. The Village is named in honour of Danish Captain Dirk Hahn, who captained the ship ‘Zebra’ bringing many of the German Lutheran settlers to settle in South Australia in 1838. Also look for Beerenberg Farm (1839) where you can pick strawberries from October to May.
- Angaston – is named after George Fife Angas (see Adelaide history) and is a pretty small village with a number of interesting historical buildings including the Union Chapel (1844), the Zion Lutheran Church, built in 1854-55 in Bluestone with Soapstone quoins, Rose Villa opposite the church, Franklin House, the beautiful Town Hall built in 1911 and Marble Lodge, which used pink, grey and white marble quarried nearby. The Stone Arch Bridge is also at the entrance to the village, and just outside Angaston is ‘Collingrove Homestead’ the original home of George Fife Angas built in 1856 on Eden Valley Road (Tel: (08) 8564 2061)
- Kapunda – was centred close to the Copper Mine that started in 1842. At the town’s entrance there is a large statue of Map Kernow “the son of Cornwall” as a tribute to the Cornish miners who worked here. This small town was also the home of Sir Sidney Kidman “The Cattle King” who lived in ‘Eringa’ (1879) now a guest house on West Terrace. Kapunda today is a rural town, just north of the main wineries in the Barossa. Take a look at anlaby.com.au to see one of the historic station homes.
- Nuriootpa – in the heart of the Barossa Valley is located on the North Para River, and has a population of around 5500. The name Nuriootpa is said to be an aboriginal name meaning ‘Meeting Place’ – and today this also holds true, as a place to meet and then head out to see wineries that are all nearby.
- Tanunda – is very close to Nuriootpa and has a very European feel, largely due to the German migrants who arrived here in the 1800’s. The village even has four Lutheran churches, and a number of stone barns and cottages that date back to the early settlement.
While the main reason for people visiting the wine regions is to visit the Cellar Doors of the wineries, sample some wine and maybe buy some to take home, it is also interesting to sense the history and heritage of the different regions.
Farming, be that growing wheat, raising cattle, wool growing or having a vineyard all depend on soil type and quality, terrain, the seasons and climate – and most importantly sunshine and water.
South Australians recognize the importance of rainfall and water possibly more than other Australians – with the dry desert regions covering a large part of the state. In 1865 the Goyder Line was drawn on maps to indicate that any land north of the line was considered “Marginal Land” – therefore subject to very marginal farming. What this meant in effect was that the land north was more likely to be affected by droughts and lack of water, and if sheep or cattle were to be raised there would be fewer cattle or sheep per acre than the areas to the south. It also meant that farms the further you went north became bigger in acreage – with the bigger ones measured not in acres and hectares, but in square kilometres.
Looking back to the 1800’s and early half of the 1900’s – you see a lot of old buildings in the small towns and villages in the wine regions which relate to the early settlers – everything from grand mansions, to stables, civic buildings, churches, and small cottages – and these paint a picture of the times.
The grand mansions are few and far between – but they relate to a time when wool made fortunes for the big wool growers; the churches to the time when religion played such a strong role in bringing the communities together – including the Lutheran and other denominations; the civic buildings – such as Town Halls, Gaols, and Banks were a sign of prosperity but also lawlessness while small outbuildings such as stables, sheds and the smaller cottages were homes of the farmers, workers and immigrants who lived their lives here.