In the Clare Valley and nearby

Take some time to visit some of these small towns

  • Auburn- in the Clare Valley was on the Bullock and Mule ‘Gulf Road’ that led from the copper mines in Burra to Port Wakefield on the coast, and in the 1850’s up to 100 Bullock drays a day would stop over in Auburn. When the railways came to Gawler, Auburn became an agricultural town and in the 1870’s and 1880’s it had a flour mill, shoe factory, gasworks and two breweries. Auburn was also the birthplace of C.J Dennis, the son of a local publican, and today in Auburn you can see a number of bluestone buildings along North Main Street and St Vincent Street.
  • Clare – when you delve into the history of the small towns in and around the winery regions, you get a sense of the impact that different 1800’s migrant nationalities contributed to building South Australia. There are English and Scottish settlers, Welsh Cornish miners, Jesuit priests, German and Polish Lutherans, Irishmen, muleteers from Chile and Argentina, and further north the Afghans and the camel trains. Clare is named after ‘County Clare’ in Ireland by the Irishman, Edmund Burton Gleeson, who arrived here in 1840, and Clare became a centre for wool and cattle, with the first grapes planted at Sevenhill by Jesuit Priests in 1852. Both English and Irish settled here, and today the oldest building in South Australia “Horrock’s Cottage” can be seen here. There are lots of small villages around Clare to see too – including Leasingham, Watervale, Tahlee and others. For a great view of the area head to Skilly Hills, and if you want to experience the grandeur of the ‘wool boom’ – take a look at these houses northbundaleer.com.au and www.wolgawolga.com.au
  • Burra- Burra is about 160km from Adelaide, and 44 kilometres from Clare – and was home to the “Monster Mine” – one of the biggest copper mines in the world when it operated between 1845 and 1877, producing over 50,000 tonnes of copper ore. The ore was then carted by Bullock teams and later by mule teams (1853-57) handled by Chilean Muleteers from the Burra mine to Port Wakefield for shipment to smelters in Cornwall in Wales. In 1848 a smelter was bought and then shipped to the Burra Mine (to Llychwr), and a number of Cornish miners and smelter workers came too. Today you can see the historic town – see the open cut old mine area and buildings, the dugouts where many of the miners lived, and the old buildings that remain from the time when Burra had nine pubs and its own Unicorn Brewery.
  • Mintaro – is 34 kilometres south of Burra and from the 1860’s it was South Australia’s main source for slate, and slate is still quarried here. Mintaro was also a stopping place for the Bullock Teams heading to and from Port Wakefield and Burra with the copper ores from the mines. Today if you wander around Mintaro, you will see a number of buildings that have used slate in their construction, including in pathways and other ways. Outside Mintaro are a lot of sheep station properties, and it is worth looking for Martindale Hall, built in 1879-80 (martindalehall.com Tel: (08) 8843 9088 on Maroons Rd, Martindale) built through the wealth created through the sale of wool.

Certainly what has given South Australia and Adelaide its character are the wineries and the people who have developed the wines for us to enjoy.

We hope you have a great time in the wine areas of South Australia.
Happy Travelling!
Geoff Stuart

Happy Traveller

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